You follow a gluten free diet, do you need to use gluten free beauty products and cosmetics? There are so many different opinions on the net we thought it was time to give you some unbiased and well researched information!
We all like to look beautiful, right?! That means you too, gents. Unfortunately the changes you have to make to your lifestyle to be gluten free extend beyond the kitchen and your diet. There are a number of everyday products that might be having an effect on your gluten free diet, they lurk in your bathroom. Right there...in the vanity cabinet. It is usually the last thing people think about when going gluten free, because sorting out the food source is the top priority but taking the time to audit your personal hygiene, beauty and cosmetic products is also important. If you didn't know it, some beauty products can contain gluten. But don't panic, it isn't as bad as it seems, if nothing else you just need to be cautious of anything that might go near your mouth.
In all seriousness though, who doesn't love a good moisturiser, shaving cream or a splash of lippy? This is an issue we need to sort out, so you can be happy, healthy and beautified! For this reason we have decided to examine and answer the more frequently asked questions in regards to using beauty and personal hygiene products and whether they need to be gluten free.
Can gluten be absorbed through the skin?
Gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin. Gluten will only cause a reaction in the gluten intolerant when ingested. In other words if you don’t eat it it won’t cause you any harm.
I follow a gluten free diet, do I need to use gluten free cosmetics and beauty products?
The above said, if you are gluten intolerant, you should ensure any products that could be ingested are gluten free. These would include lipsticks, lip balms or lip glosses. Facial cleansers and moisturisers, body and hand lotions and shaving creams (for the men, or hairy ladies!) are also worth considering as they may inadvertently get into your mouth.
Dental care products, such a toothpastes, must be gluten free and most of them usually are but it doesn’t hurt to double check. This must also be the case when you go to the dentist. We all dislike the dentist and want it over and done with but we don’t want a tummy ache either, the fluoride treatment is the one to ask about.
Shampoos, conditioners and shaving creams might be something you want to consider. We feel they no pose a threat as you don't ingest them, only if you are in the habit of performing opera while shampooing. Although if you have gluten free children, a gluten free shampoo and conditioner might be advisable (we hope they don't need shaving cream)!
I have dermatitis herpetiformis should I use gluten free cosmetics and beauty products?
As confusing as it sounds - because dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is a skin condition - there is no clinical need to use gluten free beauty products, as the reaction is caused by ingesting gluten. That said the same rules apply as for those who have coeliac disease, anything that is going near your mouth should be gluten free.
How do I read labels to work out if my beauty products are gluten free?
Reading the labels of beauty products, especially the ones you need to be gluten free is just as important as reading food labels. Always check the label before buying, even if it is a product you use regularly because they can change ingredients. Look for the obvious references to gluten - wheat, barley, rye or oats. Also check for the below terms, which are the more common ingredients that are derived from gluten containing grains in cosmetics and beauty products;
- Avena sativa (oats found commonly in lotions)
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Triticum aestivum (another name for wheat)
- Triticum vulgare
- Wheat germ
Reading cosmetic and beauty product labels is not difficult but some products have long ingredients lists, so you may need to be patient and if you need them, take your glasses because they are usually in tiny font! If you are ever in doubt, contact the manufacturer.
I use ......... products, are they gluten free?
Many of us have our favourite products. You might be half way through an expensive bottle of moisturiser or have just opened that new Chanel lipstick. The box is gone, so is it or isn't it gluten free? Well there are two courses of action we recommend, you can go back to the shop and ask to examine the box or email the company and ask the question. If you use a lot of one particular brand we recommend emailing and enquiring about all the products you use. It will give you peace of mind, or perhaps sadly place the wheels of change motion. Either way, the companies are usually very responsive and adept at answering. We will warn you though, the answers are often along the lines of... 'Our products are gluten free by ingredient but we manufacture on a line that is used by other cosmetics companies and we aren't sure of their processes and ingredients. We recommend you consult with your physician if you are need further advice'. At least from this point you are able to make up your own mind. Keep your eyes out for the next article in this series, we are examining a few of the more popular cosmetic and beauty product companies and their response to our gluten free enquiries.
100% certified gluten free cosmetics
If you are looking for gluten free lip products, cleansers and lotions or would like to take a 100% gluten free approach to your beauty regime, there are options out there. We would recommend taking a look at Nourished Life as a starting point. They have a few gluten free brands to choose from as well as marking products in other ranges as gluten free.