While you’re extremely careful in ensuring the food you put in your body is gluten-free (major kudos to your designated butter, utensils, and toaster). Are you as diligent in what you’re putting on your body?
Many people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity react to gluten in cosmetics (including my daughter and I). Sadly, it’s uncommon to find “gluten” listed front and center as one of the ingredients in makeup, hair care, and body products.
Read on for your personal guide to identifying hidden gluten, how our bodies react, and where to find companies with certified gluten-free cosmetic brands. This may sound overwhelming (especially since we’re all just trying not to get glutened by food). Take a deep breath and know that with research, you can take the very best care of your body inside and out!
While the FDA requires food labels to be clearly marked with the top eight allergens, cosmetics that contain gluten are not regulated in the same way. The FDA states, “Cosmetics products are not the same as drug products, and they are regulated differently by FDA.”
This makes gluten not always easy to identify. Hidden gluten can be lurking behind confusing ingredients (who knew Triticum Boeoticum was wheat?).
Check out the cheat sheet below for other names of gluten in cosmetics.
Laurdimonium HydroxypropylStearyl Dimonium HydroxypropylTocopherol (Vitamin E derived from wheat germ oil)Triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye)Triticum AestivumTriticum CarthlicumTriticum BoeoticumTriticum LipidsTriticum MonococcumTriticum Vulgare
OATSAvena Sativa Sodium Lauroyl BARLEY
Beta Glucan (often derived from both oats & barley)Malt ExtractHordeum DistichonHordeum VulgarePhytosphingosine ExtractRYESecale CerealeTriticale (hybrid of wheat and rye)
Gluten is the “glue” that keeps ingredients bound together. Obviously, cosmetics aren’t food, so if there happens to be gluten in cosmetics, is there a reason for concern? Applying makeup that contains gluten to our skin can cause reactions ranging from rashes and hives to burning and itching. The last thing we want to do is spend $40 on an eye shadow pallet that makes our eyelids red and inflamed. Totally not what’s expected from the shimmery shade of “Mango Tango”.
Luckily, there are companies that recognize the need for gluten-free toiletries and cosmetics and the selection (along with quality) continues to grow.
As you may have read in my Gluten-Free Lipstick article, “The average woman uses (and consumes) approximately 7 pounds of lipstick over a decade. That also rings true for chapstick and lip balms!
Wondering if you’re putting gluten on your lips? Read on for details about the ChapStick® brand, other brands we generalize as “chapstick”, and lip balms. Educating yourself is the key to complete health and well-being!
Our skin is the biggest organ of our body and actively soaks up what we put on our bodies just like a sponge. Perfect examples of how skin absorbs is body patches that transfer medication through the skin (the nicotine patch as well as patches for ADHD and depression).
For the “general population” wheat or oats in lotions can soothe skin (they are often used in eczema lotions). But for those of us who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, gluten in bath and body products cause skin reactions.
Now that you have your cheat sheet for hidden gluten, the next step is to closely read all of your hair care product labels and be prepared to have to part with some. Gluten in shampoos, conditioners, gels and other products are more common than you may realize. Did you know that wheat (and other forms of gluten) are frequently used in conditioners to add softness and strength?
Gluten-free hair care is an important part of living fully gluten-free. Before your next shower where you belt out Beyonce while lathering up, check to see what’s going on your hair and body.
As a parent, you want to give your little one the best. You worry about the “normal” things such as baby proofing your home, learning how to decipher a hungry cry from a tired cry, and how to swaddle your kid like a Chipotle burrito. However, when your baby or toddler is intolerant to gluten, the world of parental worrying has been kicked up several notches.
There’s nothing like the softness of a newborn baby’s skin. It goes without saying that you want to protect their skin from harsh chemicals and other irritants. For little ones with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it’s vital that you check for gluten in baby products including shampoo, body wash, conditioner and lotion.
A popular concern is if there’s gluten in dental products such as toothpaste, retainers, and even the paste used to clean your teeth during your dental exam. What about cross-contamination? When in doubt, always ask or contact the manufacturer directly.
Have you or your child experienced the effects of undiagnosed celiac disease on your teeth? In addition to gluten attacking our gut, it can wreak havoc on our teeth.