Gluten in Cosmetics – frequently asked questions
Why are so many people asking about gluten in cosmetics these days?
Wait, let’s back up… What is gluten anyways? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Those who suffer from a condition called Celiac Disease are sensitive or intolerant to gluten (mostly from food containing gluten). When gluten is ingested, the Celiac patient’s immune system attacks the structures in the intestine which are responsible for absorbing nutrients. This leads to symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, bloating, weight loss, fatigue, and joint pain.
So, what does this have to do with cosmetics? Gluten can’t actually be absorbed into the skin because the size of the protein is just too big, but it can still make it’s way into your body. Studies show that gluten-induced symptoms were actually caused by people accidentally ingesting tiny quantities of cosmetics (lotion, lipstick etc.) if they had used the products on their hands or on (or close) to their mouths.
Why is gluten found in cosmetics? Gluten proteins benefit the skin, hair, and nails. We all know that Vitamin E is great for the skin, but what most of us don’t know is that a gluten like wheat germ oil contains a very high concentration of Vitamin E and can be used to treat certain skin conditions. Another great one is oat extract (avena sativa or oat kernel meal) which is known for its ability to sooth the skin. If you have a wheat sensitivity or are have Celiac Disease it can be hard to determine which products contain gluten since there are many different names for them on ingredient lists. There are, however, many great resources available to help you decode ingredient names (try www.cosmeticsinfo.org).
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