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Can Gluten Be Absorbed Through The Skin?


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#1 Aunt Jayne

 
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Posted 12 February 2011 - 01:15 PM

I was still having DH and gastric issues after going gluten free and finally was told that it could be because of the shampoo, laundry detergent, soap etc. that I was using.
I threw out all of my old stuff (actually gave it to my daughter) and started with only gluten free products. My issues went away and I have not had any problems since unless I accidentally use the wrong soap at my daughter's house etc.
I have been told by a couple of GP's that it is no different from a nicotine patch or whatever, things are absorbed through the skin and into your body.
I was recently told that the Mayo clinic disagrees with these doctors. They say it isn't possible.
What do you think?
Have you had a similar experience?
Do you know of any clinical studies that show gluten can, in fact be absorbed through the skin?
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#2 jerseyangel

 
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Posted 12 February 2011 - 02:20 PM

I was still having DH and gastric issues after going gluten free and finally was told that it could be because of the shampoo, laundry detergent, soap etc. that I was using.
I threw out all of my old stuff (actually gave it to my daughter) and started with only gluten free products. My issues went away and I have not had any problems since unless I accidentally use the wrong soap at my daughter's house etc.
I have been told by a couple of GP's that it is no different from a nicotine patch or whatever, things are absorbed through the skin and into your body.
I was recently told that the Mayo clinic disagrees with these doctors. They say it isn't possible.
What do you think?
Have you had a similar experience?
Do you know of any clinical studies that show gluten can, in fact be absorbed through the skin?

Hi and welcome to the board!

The official word (and I tend to agree) is that the gluten molecule is too large to be absorbed by the skin. The medicines that are designed to be absorbed are made in such a way to be able to penetrate the skin and get into the bloodstream.

My experience, though, has been the same as yours--when I stopped using topical products that contained gluten, my lingering symptoms resolved. I'm very sensitive to traces of gluten, and can not tolerate getting even a bit of it in my mouth (which is where it has to get to cause a reaction). Think about it--shampoo/conditioner can run down your face while showering, hand lotion can easily get transferred to your food or mouth, same with soap and hair products that you apply with your hands, etc.

What is evident is that people's levels of sensitivity vary--there are those who can use gluten in their personal care products and be just fine and then there are those of us who have to scan those labels as carefully as we do with with foods.
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#3 IrishHeart

 
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Posted 12 February 2011 - 02:56 PM

Hi Aunt Jayne! (I have one of those. She's my favorite aunt) ;)

I have decided that anything is possible when dealing with the demon GLUTEN. :D Furthermore, there do not seem to be any cast-in-stone, absolute guidelines for dealing with gluten, topical or ingested. I have researched this thing to death for a year and asked a hundred questions on here and everyone has been incredibly generous with sharing their experiences. There is no better resource than the people who deal with it every day! I have learned more HERE--from real people who have to figure out this bugger--than any advice offered by medical people. (which was this:" don't eat gluten) :blink:

I agree with Patti--everyone's system is different and many people are more sensitive than others. I reacted to inhaling a bit of hair spray that had hydrolyzed wheat protein in it, so I believe anything.

As for the Mayo Clinic? Their website asserts that the only definitive way to diagnose celiac disease/gluten intolerance is by positive blood work and/or positive biopsy and there are hundreds of people on here--whose test results were not conclusive or falsely negative--ready to tell you that statement just isn't true. (me too) ;)

So how do you decide what's "true" about gluten and how it affects you...topically or by ingestion?

You feel better. That's what's true. If you feel better without gluten on your skin or scalp....stick with it!

Here's what I do know: since I STOPPED using any topical products with gluten (and I am now living in a 100% gluten-free house and following a 100% gluten-free diet), I am feeling a LOT better than a few weeks ago when I was still using products with hidden gluten in them. My scalp stopped peeling and breaking out in sores (almost gone), my throat stopped closing up and my brain sure seems a lot clearer! I still have a long road to healing, but I think avoiding topicals with gluten is necessary for me.

Maybe I am just that sensitive. I think only you can decide what works best for you! And it seems as if you have. Glad you are feeling better!!

In any case, you have come to the right place for help. I would still be floundering in the dark, feeling very alone, had I not found this website.
Take care!!
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#4 ravenwoodglass

 
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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:18 PM

Anything that gets onto your hands or contacts a mucous membrane can cause the antibodies to form and a reaction to occur. Some are more sensitive to small amounts than others. Some use gluten containing topicals and don't have a reaction. I am not one of them.
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celiac 49 years - Misdiagnosed for 45
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Misdiagnoses for 15 years were IBS-D, ataxia, migraines, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, parathesias, arthritis, livedo reticularis, hairloss, premature menopause, osteoporosis, kidney damage, diverticulosis, prediabetes and ulcers, dermatitis herpeformis
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#5 Gemini

 
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Posted 12 February 2011 - 06:49 PM

I was still having DH and gastric issues after going gluten free and finally was told that it could be because of the shampoo, laundry detergent, soap etc. that I was using.
I threw out all of my old stuff (actually gave it to my daughter) and started with only gluten free products. My issues went away and I have not had any problems since unless I accidentally use the wrong soap at my daughter's house etc.
I have been told by a couple of GP's that it is no different from a nicotine patch or whatever, things are absorbed through the skin and into your body.
I was recently told that the Mayo clinic disagrees with these doctors. They say it isn't possible.
What do you think?
Have you had a similar experience?
Do you know of any clinical studies that show gluten can, in fact be absorbed through the skin?


No, gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin. As a previous poster stated, the molecule is too large to pass through your skin. Using gluten-free topical products is a choice issue and if you feel you cannot use them without ingesting any (as in swallowing or through your nose and eyes, I would recommend going entirely gluten-free on these products.

I am super sensitive and react to very small amounts of gluten but have not gone gluten-free on topical products. I have developed a system and after 6 years doing this, have not ingested any. I would never have recovered like I have if I was. I also have negative bloodwork so know I am not ingesting any. It becomes second nature after awhile and I am comfortable with it. Only you can decide if this is the route you want to go. The only thing I would recommend being gluten-free is lip related products, of course, and hand cream. Hands can get into the mouth so you want to be careful with that.

Believe it or not, even those with DH can supposedly come into contact with non-gluten-free topicals and not have a reaction as it's caused by ingestion of products and the internal reaction causes the outbreak. Maybe you also have a topical wheat allergy to boot and that's causing the problem. If you still are having symptoms, you may want to go the entire route gluten-free.
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#6 lovegrov

 
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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:39 AM

Most products that are absorbed through your skin are engineered with a carrier so that you can absorb them. You cannot just rub a medication on your skin and, voila, it's absorbed. In fact, you'll notice that there are numerous medications that you CANNOT take topically. That's because there's no practical way to get them through your skin barrier.

I think it's a good idea to avoid topical gluten in general because there are so many ways it can get into your mouth, but I don't believe it's absorbed through the skin.

richard
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#7 Cypressmyst

 
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Posted 14 February 2011 - 12:26 PM

I have been glutened enough times by soaps and hand sanitizers that I know it is possible. The reaction starts within a minute and my hands go no where near my mouth. They also start tingling and feeling funny so I usually know something is up within the first ten seconds or so.

From what I understand Gliadin is the only peptide that has been studied and apparently deemed unable to pass the skin barrier. That is great but understand that there are 70 other proteins that may cause an issue and be able to get through the skin, especially if you have leaky skin barriers (not too different from leaky gut).

My Doctor also sees non DH skin reactions in his patients from time to time. So it happens for sure, we just don't understand the why of it.
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#8 aderifield

 
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Posted 23 February 2011 - 08:00 AM

I get glutened by even the smallest exposure. Smelling gluten in the air sends me into horrible fits of fibromyalgia. If you are still having problems, I would say get it as far away from you as possible - certainly NOT on your body.
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#9 SilverSlipper

 
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Posted 24 February 2011 - 07:39 PM

If my daughter comes into contact with what I call "wet gluten" (shampoos mostly), she breaks out in a rash where the exposure happened. She's been tested for allergies and it's clean. No allergies. I understand that it's not medically possible, but if her shampoo has gluten in it, her scalp and back of her neck (part of her back also) breaks out in a blistery rash. We use gluten-free personal care products because of that. If she needs to handle gluten at all, she wears disposable gloves.
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#10 lovegrov

 
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Posted 25 February 2011 - 05:36 AM

If my daughter comes into contact with what I call "wet gluten" (shampoos mostly), she breaks out in a rash where the exposure happened. She's been tested for allergies and it's clean. No allergies. I understand that it's not medically possible, but if her shampoo has gluten in it, her scalp and back of her neck (part of her back also) breaks out in a blistery rash. We use gluten-free personal care products because of that. If she needs to handle gluten at all, she wears disposable gloves.


All I can tell you is that the VAST majority of people with celiac have no reaction whatsoever handling gluten. I'm not doubting what you'e saying, but reacting to merely touching (or breathing) gluten is most definitely not common.

richard
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#11 dilettantesteph

 
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Posted 25 February 2011 - 05:51 AM

I thought this section is for super sensitive celiacs. Among this sub group of celiacs, my observation is that reaction to handling gluten is very common. I don't know if it goes through the skin or is accidentally ingested somehow, but it has happened to me and to my son. We are both super sensitive celiacs.
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#12 SilverSlipper

 
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Posted 25 February 2011 - 06:43 AM

Richard,

I understand your viewpoint. I agree that medically it's not supposed to happen. But, it does. Could it be something else? Absolutely. But we only see it with products containing gluten that are also wet. I have other kids with medical conditions so tracking this down to definitively say it's gluten is not high on my priority list (nor would I know what else to do to check). We avoid it and she can make her own decision about whether to continue when she's older. It's not been a huge issue - shampoo, conditioner, lotion. Her school doesn't do a lot of art stuff where I would worry about art supplies. On the very rare occasion it happens, she wears gloves or the teacher helps her.

I have heard others here say that they react from just touching gluten, but they seem to indicate that it's an internal reaction. My daughter reacts to ingested gluten (with the typical diarrhea, stomach cramps, etc) but no rash. She doesn't have DH. We thought originally that she had an allergy to wheat and consulted an allergist. But she has no allergies. This seems to be a skin reaction. I have no food allergies and love seafood, but if I touch it raw, I break out in a blistery rash. I realize that is a horrible comparison because raw shellfish is known to cause reactions like that, but it's the best comparison I can think of.

All the best...
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#13 padma

 
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Posted 25 February 2011 - 04:42 PM

Richard,

I understand your viewpoint. I agree that medically it's not supposed to happen. But, it does. Could it be something else? Absolutely. But we only see it with products containing gluten that are also wet. I have other kids with medical conditions so tracking this down to definitively say it's gluten is not high on my priority list (nor would I know what else to do to check). We avoid it and she can make her own decision about whether to continue when she's older. It's not been a huge issue - shampoo, conditioner, lotion. Her school doesn't do a lot of art stuff where I would worry about art supplies. On the very rare occasion it happens, she wears gloves or the teacher helps her.

I have heard others here say that they react from just touching gluten, but they seem to indicate that it's an internal reaction. My daughter reacts to ingested gluten (with the typical diarrhea, stomach cramps, etc) but no rash. She doesn't have DH. We thought originally that she had an allergy to wheat and consulted an allergist. But she has no allergies. This seems to be a skin reaction. I have no food allergies and love seafood, but if I touch it raw, I break out in a blistery rash. I realize that is a horrible comparison because raw shellfish is known to cause reactions like that, but it's the best comparison I can think of.

All the best...



This is a very interesting post. I am super sensitive to gluten and never thought about anything topical being a problem. I wouldn't rule anything out. To say something is impossible is not being very open minded. If everyone stays open and curious, we just might figure out what is causing the problems we are having. We don't need to debate, just share what we have experienced.

I don't know the rules for this forum, but if it is ok, it would be a much more academic conversation to know exactly what products each person is talking about. There are data bases online to see exactly what the ingredients are in each product, perhaps find the common ones, and see if that is the culprit; or, if it is the gluten, or both.

I am very interested because I keep getting rashes on my legs. It seems to be triggered by wool socks or wool boots and exposure to chemicals in the air. But, it could be gluten, too, so I want to look into it. Is there a list of gluten free products? If anything has ANY fragrance in it my skin breaks out. Many of the chemicals make me break out. Also, I end up sneezing or coughing or not being able to breathe with some chemicals, especially the ones that have fumes.

I have found a line of products that I tolerate really well that are toxin free and made from herbs. I don't do well with most of the organic lines even though they are suppose to be healthy. Once I got some Dr. Hauschka sp? face lotion and stupidly put it all over my face without testing a small spot. I got little red bumps that looked like measles. I have had it happen too many times. I am curious if somehow gluten is involved. (I returned it and got a refund.)

I suspect anything with gluten in it also has wheat.. is that correct? Or do they extract it for an additive? If there is wheat in it, then there most likely are pesticide and herbicide residues which I know make me break out. I have had to stop using Cascade because of the same chemical problem. I hope to figure this out.
Thanks to all of you for sharing.
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