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What Goes On, Goes In (Gluten in Skin Care Products)

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Kristen Campbell

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Finding effective and 100% natural products that perform up to my standards was already a challenge, so naturally, finding those products that are also gluten-free was no easy task. In the midst of all my searching, I wondered if I was simply being silly.  Since going gluten-free in my diet, my skin had vastly improved, my rosacea was hardly noticeable, and the annoying acne that had begun to plague my back and chest a few years prior was gone.

I did notice that gluten-containing shampoos and conditioners tended to cause breakouts around my hairline, but still I thought that for gluten to adversely affect me, it probably had to be eaten and pass through my digestive tract.  In the many gluten-free books I read, I found mention of gluten in the diet causing acne, rosacea, rashes, eczema, dermatitis herpetiformis.

Chronic dermatitis characterized by eruption of itching papules, vesicles, and lesions resembling hives typically in clusters, which is caused by gluten sensitivity, dermatitis herpetiformis, psoriasis, but nothing spoke of the effect of topical products containing gluten.

So I consulted the renowned Dr. Fine, creator of EnteroLab.com, whose site has helped scores of patients in accurately diagnosing food sensitivities such as gluten, cow’s milk, eggs and dietary yeast intolerances.  Here is what he had to say:
Gluten sensitivity is a systemic immune reaction to gluten anywhere in the body, not just that entering the body via the gut. Therefore, topically applied lotions, creams, shampoos, etc. containing gluten would indeed provide a source of gluten to the body, and we therefore recommend all such products be discontinued for optimal health.

Psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis herpetiformis are the most classically associated, but many non-specific skin symptoms appear as well.
Considering that up to 60% of a product applied to the skin can be absorbed into the bloodstream, applying a product that I know contains gluten is a risk I am simply not willing to take. 
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Lipsticks are especially important. I was getting gluten from my long-wearing lipstick. I've yet to find a good replacement, but will be visiting your website for ideas.

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