If you follow a gluten-free diet, you probably already know how to choose the right foods for you. But what about your skincare? It might not be as obvious when gluten is lurking inside the products you put on your face, hair and body.
Or maybe you’re wondering if it even matters whether you put gluten on your skin? Well, if you look for answers on the internet, you will notice a lot of information, but not all of it agrees. So we hope to answer your questions about gluten-free skincare in this blog post, so you can make the best choice for your skin and health.
What is gluten?
Gluten has been a diet concern for a long time. Gluten is a naturally occurring protein found in wheat and some other grains. The primary sources of gluten are wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye).
Wheat comes in various forms, like farro, spelt, farina, Khorasan wheat, durum and semolina. While you can be certain products with any of these grains have gluten, you’ll also find this sticky protein is often added to processed foods to give them shape or texture.
Gluten is a cringe-worthy word to some people because it can cause severe reactions in many people after eating it. Celiac disease is an autoimmune response to gluten, and those with this disease should never eat gluten.
But it can also cause gastrointestinal distress and other symptoms for people who don’t have celiac disease. For example, gluten-sensitivity reactions can include bloating, diarrhea, rashes and headaches.
Some people choose to stay away from gluten even though they may not necessarily have a reaction to it, just to be safe. Either way, it’s clear that gluten-free isn’t just a trend that is going away anytime soon, and it’s essential to know the facts.
What is gluten-free skincare?
In a nutshell, gluten-free skincare doesn’t contain gluten or any gluten-derived byproducts.
We know what foods are gluten-free because it’s typically printed on the label. But skincare and cosmetics products don’t always put a gluten-free label on their packaging. This makes it harder to know if the product can cause you problems.
Gluten is used in some skincare and cosmetics as a thickener, volumizer, emollient, moisturizer or exfoliator. So you may need to read the list of ingredients on the label to find out if a product has gluten.
How do you know if a skincare product contains gluten?
If you are sensitive to it, it’s crucial to know whether the products you’re using have gluten. But the issue of gluten in skincare is a bit more complex than just avoiding certain ingredients. That’s because products made with gluten ingredients don’t always end up containing gluten in the finished product. How the product is processed has a lot to do with it. You may need to check with the product maker to find out if gluten is present.
For example, some of our gluten-free products have "Wheat Germ Essential Oil" in the ingredients, but we process them with high heat and no gluten is left in the end.
In addition to wheat-based ingredients, be on the lookout for oat-based ingredients like Avena Sativa and sodium lauroyl oat amino acid. While oats don't naturally contain gluten, they may be cross-contaminated with gluten, so it's best to avoid using these if you are highly sensitive to it.
So, what ingredients in your skincare and cosmetics could cause concern? Some are easy to spot, and some may not be so easy.
To help, here’s a list of skincare ingredients that could contain gluten:
Should you avoid skincare products that contain gluten?
The big question is whether or not gluten in your skincare and cosmetics is worth worrying about since you’re not eating it (well, hopefully not!). Considering your skin covers your entire body and has been shown to absorb up to 60% of what we put on it, it’s perfectly reasonable to be concerned.
There’s good news and bad news, though. The good news is that experts say gluten isn’t a small enough molecule to be absorbed by your skin. But, on the other hand, there’s still a chance that gluten from skincare could get into your body.
That’s because the product could come into contact with your mouth, nose or eyes. And depending on the amount that seeps in and your sensitivity level, you could have a reaction.
Any product you put on your lips that contains gluten will most likely get into your mouth and end up being digested, so choosing gluten-free lip balms and lipsticks is a must if you're intolerant.
To be safe, if you have celiac disease, you should eliminate any chance of gluten getting into your body, including from products you use on your skin. If you only have a minor sensitivity, you might not notice any issues.
Whether you’re highly sensitive or not, going gluten-free with your self-care products will ease your mind and eliminate the worry about whether gluten will cause your skin to react.
Another thing to consider is that if your skin reacts poorly to a product, it might not be the gluten and could be due to another ingredient. The best way to minimize reactions is to use all-natural, organic products that don’t contain toxic synthetic chemicals or harsh ingredients and are gluten-free. This is why at Nurture My Body we feel so strongly about making the highest quality products made with the gentlest alternatives.
When it comes to your health, making informed decisions is key. It’s not always clear what products could harm you if you don’t know what to look for. Knowing how to prevent a gluten reaction from using skincare, cosmetics and other self-care products will make your life much easier and a lot less stressful.
Check out our collection of gluten-free skincare for products you can trust are safe and pure!