In 2014, the number of people who follow a gluten free diet, due to gluten sensitivity or a general desire for healthier eating is on the rise. Gluten sensitivity can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, joint pain, rashes, and intestinal issues which can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients.
Many people who strictly follow a gluten free diet may find that they are also sensitive to gluten topically, however Dr. Michael F. Picco believes that the issues are due to ingestion of gluten-containing products rather than topical allergies. “Some people develop a form of celiac disease called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), which causes an itchy, blistering rash. This skin disorder is also linked to gluten intolerance. But although it involves the skin, DH is caused by ingesting gluten, not by skin contact with gluten. So, eliminating gluten from your diet will help clear up DH as well.” A person with DH will require gluten free cosmetics for use on any area of the skin that is broken, where gluten can enter the body without being absorbed by the skin.
“Gluten-containing skin care products and cosmetics aren't a problem unless you accidentally swallow them. For this reason, avoid using such products on your lips or around your mouth. Also, avoid using gluten-containing dental products, such as certain mouthwashes and toothpastes.” This should also include products used around the eyes for a person who is very sensitive. Those with Celiac disease generally feel that they do react to cosmetic products containing gluten, though and prefer to strictly use products that are gluten free.
It’s difficult to know whether the gluten or some other ingredient in a product is the cause of a skin reaction. There are ingredients in skin care products that can be confusing to classify as gluten free or not. Interestingly, it seems that the companies producing these products are generally also free of parabens, pthalates, chemical fragrances, dyes, mineral oil, and animal products. Many are plant based, using essential oils for holistic benefits. They’re a healthier choice regardless, as it is estimated that 60% of the cosmetics used are absorbed through the skin.
Here are a few companies that offer gluten free cosmetics and personal care products that I have personally tried and liked:
Better Botanicals. The company has a wonderful philosophy about utilizing herbs for efficacy and takes a very holistic approach to skincare. I’ve tried and reviewed their products in the past, and have a favorite that has now become a must-have in my skincare routine. All of their products are gluten free except for the Neem Care Shampoo, the Amla Shine Daily Shampoo and Conditioner and the Ayurvedic Hydrating Body Oil.
Kiss My Face. With a mission to provide products that are natural, effective and cruelty free, Kiss My Face offers a wide variety of skin and body care. I’ve tried and reviewed some of their products in the past, and have recently had the opportunity to try a couple more. They have a wonderful search feature on their website which filters the products that are gluten free. They sent me the Tea Tree Moisturizing Hand Soap recently, which I really liked because it was non-drying and smelled very strongly of tea tree oil. They also sent their Cold & Flu Shower and Bath Gel, which I loved! They definitely do not skimp on the essential oils in their products. This shower gel is a great choice for anyone who is feeling under the weather. Eucalyptus is also particularly good for relieving tension, stress and headaches as well.
Crazy Rumors. I’ve tried and reviewed their lip balms in the past and really loved them. They don’t just smell good; they taste good too. With natural ingredients like Pure Essential Oils, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Shea Butter – the flavors are mild but noticeable and not like taking a bite out of artificially fragrance perfumed sticks. And they don't leave my lips feeling sticky.
Method. With an array of home care cleaning products and hand washes available, Method boasts a 100% gluten free product line. I’ve tried and reviewed several of their products, most recently their Soap for Hope in the Botanical scent. It sits on my sink with an adorable mustache printed bottle, smells wonderful and doesn't dry out my skin. I love this company for their environmental commitment as well as their non-toxic cleaning products that work just as well as they smell. The purchase of this soap helps to raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer and prostate cancer.