Hidden Gluten in Health and Beauty Products

February 21, 2013

It’s no surprise that gluten is a common ingredient in food products. But did you also know that it’s used in many cosmetic products such as lip balm and hand lotion? Cosmetics may seem like they should be inherently gluten-free, but taking a closer look at the ingredient statement might reveal hidden sources of gluten.

You will only suffer symptoms of celiac disease or gluten intolerance by ingesting gluten; however, consumers beware! There is the possibility of ingesting gluten through seemingly harmless consumer products like your cosmetics, lipsticks, and lotions that contain gluten as an ingredient. For example, if you apply hand lotion that contains gluten and then prepare food you are exposing yourself to accidental ingestion and your food to cross contamination. Always read labels carefully, and be aware of what ingredients contain gluten. For a list of gluten-containing ingredients commonly used in cosmetics, please see this list at naturallydahling.com.

Beyond accidental consumption, however, other risks from using cosmetics containing gluten exist. Could you be absorbing gluten through your skin? Research proving the full extent of how much your skin absorbs is still unavailable, but to those who believe “what goes on, goes in,” the cosmetic industry is full of unknowns. The size of gluten molecules suggests that they may not be able to penetrate skin yet, but chemicals and technology designed to enhance skin absorption are already present, if not prevalent, in the cosmetic industry. These chemicals are potentially dangerous and often go untested for their negative side effects, yet are widespread in lotions, antiperspirants, and other products.

Since the cosmetic industry is self-regulated, it is more important than ever to carefully read labels, and use natural or organic products whenever possible. If you find yourself reacting to a cosmetic, it is possible that you may have an increased sensitivity to gluten, an allergy, or even Dermatitis Herpetiformis. Be sure to contact your doctor and a dermatologist if you have any concerns.



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