Updated: Nov 11, 2022
Gluten in products applied on the skin should not be a problem to most people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). However, many community members were sharing that they have skin reactions after using gluten-containing personal care products. Therefore, we decided to start collecting findings from recent studies to see why some people may react to gluten-containing ingredients in shampoo, soap, cosmetics, and lotions, among others.
First, we explain why manufacturers use gluten in these products.
The chemical characteristics of gluten are important to the industry of personal care products. The word gluten comes from the latin word "glutin" which means "glue" and explain its main use in these products.
Most of celiac organizations and medical researchers indicate that gluten cannot be absorbed through skin or hair. Hence, using personal care products does not represent a significant risk for most people with gluten-related conditions. However, it may be a problem for people with allergies to wheat, barley, and rye. Remember that having an allergy to a gluten-containing grain and having a gluten sensitivity (celiac or non-celiac) are not two mutually exclusive conditions. A person with celiac disease could have barley allergy, as well as a person with NCGS could have wheat allergy.
We contact some of the community members with celiac disease and NCGS to confirm if they had lesions, applied the personal care products too close to their mouth, or if they were tested for allergies to wheat, barley, and rye. They did not have lesions and they did not applied it close to their lips. Some of them were tested for these allergies before and they all came up negative. Then, we wondered why they are having reactions.
We continued gathering information to know what is happening to our community members and we found some recent research about hydrolized wheat protein (HWP).
It is possible that the presence of HWP in personal care products could be affecting people with celiac disease or NCGS who are not allergic to wheat.
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