Gluten-Free Beauty Basics

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If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you probably go to great lengths to avoid gluten in your diet. Should you also avoid personal care products that contain this ingredient? Maybe so, when you consider that up to 60% of what you apply to your skin can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

If you don’t eat gluten, why let it seep into your body topically? The cosmetic industry assumes the position that gluten molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin, therefore people with celiac disease can safely use their gluten-containing products. However, many doctors disagree.

Kenneth Fine, M.D. of EnteroLab.com states that: “Gluten sensitivity is a systemic immune reaction to gluten anywhere in the body, not just that entering the body via the gut. Therefore, topically applied lotions, creams, shampoos, etc. containing gluten would indeed provide a source of gluten to the body, and we therefore recommend all such products be discontinued for optimal health.”

Personal care products pose a challenge, however, as most labels don’t include the term gluten in the ingredient list, though many ingredients are derived from wheat, including:

• Tocopherols and mixed tocopherols
• Fermented grain extract
• Amp-isostearoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein
• Hydrolyzed wheat gluten
• PG-Propyl Silanetriol
• Amino Acids Hydroxypropyltrimonium
• Steardimonium Hydroxypropyl Protein/PVP Crosspolymer
• Triticum Vulgare
• Bran Extract
• PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Triticum Lipids
• Germamidopropyldimonium Hydroxypropyl
• Cyclodextrin
• Dextrin Palmitate
• Stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl

The following brands─available in high-end natural food stores and/or on-line─offer many gluten-free soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and cosmetics. They’re also free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, parabens, phthalates, and other unhealthy chemical additives:

Joelle Cosmetics─These luscious products are gluten-free and very affordable
Ecco-Bella Cosmetics─These cosmetics, hair and body care products are beautifully effective, well priced, vegan, and gluten-free
Afterglow Cosmetics─All items are gluten free and high-quality, if a tad pricey
Tropical Traditions─Soaps, lotions, and lip balms are all gluten-free, with many fragrance-free as well
Aubrey Organics─You’ll find a long list of safe, effective, natural products here

How about sunscreens that contain neither gluten nor unhealthy chemicals? Your best bets─also available in high-end natural food stores or on-line─include these brands:

Nature’s Gate
Badger
California Baby
Lavera
Desert Essence

These tips should help you navigate through your beauty routine happily gluten-free!

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