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This article looks at the importance of gluten free cosmetics. Is there a real need?

The cosmetics industry has finally come under scrutiny in connection to the gluten it uses. As very few cosmetics are labelled as gluten free, is it because there is a lack of demand or lack of understanding in the reasons cosmetics should be gluten free. This article looks at what types of gluten free cosmetics are most critical for celiacs and people in general.

If you are worried about gluten in your diet, what about the amount that is in your cosmetics? Common sense might suggest that the less contact with Gluten for a celiac, the better. So why then would a celiac cover their body in a gluten or wheat derived cosmetic or makeup? 

One website makes the argument that in reference to cosmetics: "gluten has more ways of getting into the body than by the obvious route - it can also get in through the skin." They go on to saying "I have heard since of another story of someone who had to stop working in a bakery due to gluten absorption through the hands." (Ref 2).

For the possibility of these concerns being real, the Gluten Free Pages have created a beauty directory on the gluten free pages site which lists companies that state that they carry some gluten free makeup.

But similar to the gluten free alcohol industry, it appears that there is conflicting views regarding the need to reduce the amount of gluten in the beauty industry. Another site suggests that " If (cosmetics) comes in contact with your nose or mouth you may want that product to be gluten free. (ref 1).

And even more to the point, a forum member raised the point that "gluten molecules can't penetrate the skin ... so why consider using gluten free cosmetics except for lipstick or chap-stick?" Like other sites this suggests that gluten should only be a concern in cosmetics if it is likely to be placed near an orifice.

So if you are concerned about using cosmetics that may contain gluten you should look at using companies where "each gluten-free product is labeled in its description with a gluten-free symbol. If you do not see the symbol, that particular product is not gluten-free." (ref 3)

While the gluten free molecules ability to pass the skin barrier is unknown, it appears that for adults a celiac should avoid products not labeled gluten free, especially those that are placed near the mouth, nose or eyes. Children's skin care products such as 'concealers' (for birthmark cover-ups) and sunscreen etc should also be gluten free as they may be more likely to touch their skin and inadvertently ingest gluten from their hands.

Complicated as it is, it is recommended that a person who wants to avoid glutenFree Reprint Articles, avoid skincare products not labeled as gluten free.


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I have a strong interest in healthy foods, particularly those that are gluten free. However my strongest desire is to be working in the sustainability industry which causes large reductions in greenhouse gases. Save the planet, save the animals, save the people … for the full article including graphs and statistics tables please visit the articles page at

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