What is Gluten
Gluten is a storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is a mixture of hundreds of distinct proteins within the same family, although it is primarily made up of two different classes of proteins: gliadin, which gives bread the ability to rise during baking, and glutenin, which is responsible for dough's elasticity. Gluten is found in the endosperm (a type of tissue produced in seeds that are ground to make flour) and nourishes plant embryos during germination.
Not all grains contain gluten. Some examples of gluten-free grains are sorghum, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, wild rice, amaranth, quinoa, corn (polenta) and teff. Oats are also gluten-free, but can be contaminated during processing.
Why should you be concerned about beauty products that contain gluten?
Many people who suffer from celiac disease, or are gluten intolerant, choose to avoid gluten in all products.
If you suffer from celiac disease it means ingesting gluten can damage the lining of the small intestine which causes problems with the digestive system. Those who are gluten intolerant also experience digestive system symptoms. The only way to manage these conditions is to follow a gluten-free diet.
Some people develop a form of celiac disease called dermatitis herpetiformis which causes an itchy, blistering rash. Although the reaction involves the skin, it is actually triggered by gluten ingestion, not from using products that contain gluten on the skin.
There is relatively little risk to using personal care products containing gluten unless the product gets into the mouth or an open sore. Concerns may arise from the use of toothpastes, mouthwashes, lipsticks and lip balms that come in contact with the mouth. Creams, lotions, make-up, sunscreens, and hairspray can get into the mouth when applying or can be transferred by hands and fingers to mouth or food. If you’re not celiac or seriously allergic to wheat, barley, rye, or oats, then topical product would be safe as there’s no reason to worry about getting gluten through the skin unless you have a skin lesion. The gluten molecule is just too large to cross the skin barrier
Avoid ingredients with wheat, gluten or triticum (Latin for wheat) in the name including:
- AMP-isostearoyl hydrolzyed wheat protein
- hydrolyzed wheat protein (HWP)
- hydrolyzed wheat gluten
- triticum lipids
- triticum vulgare
- wheat bran extract
- wheat germ extract
- wheat germ glyceride
Avoid ingredients with barley, malt or hordeum vulgare (Latin for barley) in the name such as:
- barley extract
- hordeum vulgare extract
- malt extract
Avoid ingredients with rye or secale cereal (Latin for rye) in the name.
- sodium lauroyl oat amino acid
- avena sativa extract
REMINDER: Cosmetic manufacturers can change formulas and ingredient suppliers without notice. It is important to read the label before using any personal care product.