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Five Common Skin Conditions Associated With Celiac Disease

Gluten intolerance often presents itself in ways unexpected, including several common skin conditions.  Ranging in severity from dermatitis herpetiformis to dry skin, avoiding gluten may have more to do with your plaguing skin concerns than you imagined.

Here are some common dermatological concerns associated with celiac disease:

  • Dermatitits Herpetiformis—This painful, blistery condition can be very stressful, especially when misdiagnosed.  An inflamed, itchy rash, dermatitis herpetiformis begins as tiny white filled blisters or red spots around hair follicles.  Trying to hide or disguise DH, as well as trying to treat it when misdiagnosed can be incredibly stressful for a person.
  • Eczema—Eating a gluten-free diet is becoming an increasingly popular mode of treatment
    for eczema.  Those who are gluten intolerant also tend to have more advanced psoriasis.Psoriasis—Like eczema, psoriasis has in many cases shown improvement when the person is put on a gluten free diet.  In Scott Adams’ 2004 article, he also mentioned that psoriasis in those with celiac tends to be more severe.
  • Acne—Links between celiac and malabsorption, as well as hormonal upset can contribute to a greater production of acne.  Many birth control pills boast promises of clearer skin, their method is through hormone manipulation.  Because many who suffer from gluten intolerance also experience a disruption of normal hormone function, this disharmony can lead to problems with acne. 
  • Dry Skin—Also correlated to malabsorption, dry skin is a very common complaint amongst those with celiac.  But this condition is one that many people see even after the prescribed treatment of a gluten free diet.  Why?  Vitamin E rich grains are vital to maintaining skin harmony, but since many who are gluten intolerant begin avoiding grains completely—even those grains that are gluten-free, getting that important Vitamin E in their diets can become a challenge. welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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said this on
17 Feb 2010 11:24:09 AM PST
All of this is fine and good and true. Problem is that what I fail to see in most articles about eczema in general is that even though one wisely chooses to use natural methods of combating it, most are still short term solutions.

While in the midst of an inflamed eczema attack, immediate relief is an issue, yet the underlying cause is rarely addressed.

Though doctors and researchers have not yet put there finger on the "ONE" cause of eczema, they all pretty much agree that it is brought on by an underlying allergy usually brought on by heredity.

As you pointed out, gluten is a large contributor to this ailment, (i.e. an allergic reaction to foods). Therefore a person could (not very often, but could) suffer from eczema their whole life unless they cure the allergy.

There is no one product that is going to do it all. Therefore no particular product recommendation, but while treating the symptoms, one should address the root problem... the immune system.

Heal the immune system, and the body can do a pretty good job of healing itself - including eczema.

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said this on
02 Mar 2010 6:54:50 AM PST
I've been on a gluten free diet for five years and using the best whole food supplements for 15 years. I STILL have eczema..I have to say it's a bit better, but I just can't figure out the ONE thing to make it go away. I did notice that removing potatoes, tomatoes and green peppers (I think these are the nightshade foods??) from my diet immediately turned around the inflamed eczema I had on my eyelid. 3-4 days after taking them entirely out to my diet....the eczema on my eye was completely gone. But what's on my elbows and scalp didn't go away. It is however not inflamed. I would sure love to heal my immune system...if that's what it takes, but not sure what else to do.

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said this on
03 Mar 2010 8:43:41 AM PST
Amy, try incorporating some apple cider vinegar with the "Mother". I have about 2 tbs in my smoothie daily and have noticed a difference in skin and works for inflammation.

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said this on
25 Jun 2010 5:17:41 AM PST
Have you tried a candida free diet? It's hard -- you have to eliminate a lot more than even gluten from your diet -- and it could even take several months, but then once it is cleared, you may be able to gradually add it back into your diet.

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said this on
16 Aug 2012 10:24:29 PM PST
Hi Amy,
My daughter suffers from eczema. At age 4, her scalp looked like she had cradle cap again. Chunks of her hair were coming out with the dry skin patches. The doc had it tested and just said it was atopic dermatitis and recommended dandruff shampoo. I decided to try Vanicream on her. They make soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner. It cleared up her eczema on her head within a week and it has not come back. It has been 2 and 1/2 years now and only time it has come back it when I ran out of it. She still gets it on her skin in the winter months, but the lotion helps. They sell Vanicream's full line of products at Target, through the pharmacy.

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said this on
18 Nov 2013 6:51:00 AM PST
Thank you Deborah for this information.

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said this on
22 Nov 2015 8:53:18 PM PST
Thank you on the info for scaly dry skin.

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said this on
23 May 2014 6:27:05 PM PST
My eczema clears completely if I eliminate all gluten AND all milk products! Maybe this will help you! I hope so.

Dee Slocum
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said this on
19 Feb 2010 9:56:51 AM PST
I'm going to have to show this article to my husband. I've been trying to get him to try going gluten-free for forever. Maybe the possibility that it could help with his eczema will be enough to make him finally give it a try.

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said this on
01 Mar 2010 8:37:05 AM PST
Very interesting! I thought I had noticed that my eczema was milder since going gluten-free. Since my primary symptoms are anemia and not gastric intestinal discomfort, this news might make it easier to tell when I've been accidentally exposed to some hidden gluten in my diet.

Fran Greenfield
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said this on
03 Mar 2010 7:35:21 AM PST
What I have is very dry scaly skin, and I will presume that this is also part of being gluten intolerant. I sort of hoped that in having been diagnosed as gluten intolerant and on a gluten free diet, that I would see some improvement in my skin. I had no idea that I had been gluten intolerant all my life since it didn't show up until the last year - and I'm now 76. I was milk allergic as a baby, but it appeared to have gone away - guess it was just hiding because I really ate whatever I liked until the last year when bread became the factor and everything just sort of slid downhill after that.

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said this on
22 Jun 2010 8:40:16 AM PST
It's a good start but as Brandon notes, it's a short term solution. I've been doing gluten-free for my psoriasis for a few years now, but have gradually started to include dairy, nightshades, caffeine (in all forms) in my no-eat list. It sucks in terms of fun eating, but the psoriasis is down but not gone like it was when I did this diet five years ago. I've read having hidden infections in your mouth as well as stress can also trigger skin outbreaks. I'm seeing the dentist Friday to check on that. Good luck everyone!

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said this on
24 Oct 2011 12:24:02 AM PST
My Aunt, diagnosed with celiac disease 11 years ago, used to suffer from Psoriasis until converting to a gluten free diet - and I, diagnosed with celiac 2 years ago, used to suffer from eczema. I believe there is a huge link between celiac and skin conditions, AND Endometriosis!

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said this on
09 Nov 2011 6:27:15 AM PST
I have eliminated wheat to try and treat my endometriosis, and may end up eliminating all gluten eventually. There is a great book by Dian Shepperson Mills if you are interested.

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said this on
31 Oct 2011 5:42:53 AM PST
I believe the FDA is allowing companies to feed us more garbage. These filler/cheaters such as wheat gluten are making some of us sick. I fear a growing number will become ill as things become contaminated, polluted and made as cheaply as possible in an effort to increase profits. Food prices are increasing and following a gluten free diet is even more expensive, but I'm sick and I don't know where else to turn. The federal government needs to do their jobs and protect us instead of lining their pockets with special/personal interests.

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said this on
26 Jun 2013 11:44:14 PM PST
Perhaps it's just a coincidence but it seems like the injection of GMOs into mainstream diets seems to coincide with increased allergies, celiac, and other skin disorders and cancers. Obviously there's no proof... yet, but I think there's a strong link. On a side note, has anyone developed intolerances to eating straight rice? I seem to feel my best when I just eat meat, fruit, and veggies.

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said this on
27 Oct 2013 5:50:30 PM PST
My five year old daughter has wheat, and soy allergies. We recently put her on Fish oil with omega 3, 6, & 9, as well as cod liver oil, When my daughter consumes GMO foods her eczema becomes inflamed in a very bad way. We do a lot of organic fruit and veggie smoothies with flax and chi seed as well. Our daughter isn't much of a meat eater. I can tell you that sticking to whole quality organic raw foods, some cooked along with meat that isn't chemically treated help a lot. Nothing seems to make it go away though.

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said this on
09 Feb 2012 9:48:25 PM PST
My daughter had terrible, terrible eczema for a long time. It seemed we tried EVERYTHING, including extreme elimination diets. None of it worked. And then, after coming across some literature, we tried probiotics and Borage Oil. She took one does of the probiotics and one capsule of Borage Oil (that I cut open and put into applesauce). There wasn't any change at first. At the 4 week mark, the eczema stopped getting worse. At 6 weeks, it was undeniably beginning to clear. By 8 weeks, it was GONE. All of it. And it hasn't come back (it's been a year now), and she has not had to do a repeat of the probiotics or the Borage Oil once that 8 weeks was up. I really hope this information can help someone else!

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said this on
09 Nov 2013 2:28:35 PM PST
I have had celiac for 14 years, I take 100 m of dapsone for my skin disorder. It is for lepers. Dapsone is hard on your blood cells and makes you anemic which also makes you very tired. I am 73 yrs. old. My two sisters also have celiac, the youngest all her life, 66 years.


said this on
03 Sep 2014 1:53:18 AM PST
I found big rashes!!! My doctor said allergy to migraine shots.. "anyone else allergic to many antibiotics?"
Many years ago i was told i may have a gluten allergy over ten years ago! I was vegan for about a year on a super strict diet.. of gluten free, dairy and caffeine, only organic products, and sugar contents of up to 10.. since finding out over ten grams gave me a migraine. So any who.. looking up about gluten free and celiac disease on looking back into the whole diet.. I saw this rash and cause of problems I was never ever told about caused by having the gluten allergy/ celiac disease.
It's so shocking since family history could possibly teach us more on how or why we have this horrible and painful disease. Please let me know if you have info on problems caused by this or know anyone who can talk to me or anything like that ... Thanks so much god bless

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