Do you need to avoid Gluten in beauty products?
Whether it's cut out due to Coeliac Disease, Gluten sensitivity, health benefits or just a lifestyle choice, avoiding Gluten is generally dietary-focused, with the Gluten contained in food and medication usually avoided altogether. Gluten sensitivities can cause inflammation throughout the body, with a wide range of reactions including gastro-intestinal problems, eczema, headaches and exhaustion.1
But some people prefer to eliminate contact with Gluten completely by extending this to beauty products. Many researchers agree that it is actually unlikely for Gluten in beauty products to be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream as the Gluten protein molecule is too large.2 Instead, the risk of consuming Gluten comes more from the potential to ingest it, such as applying hand cream and then touching your food. But the risk is very small, with only a few extremely Gluten sensitive people likely to react to such a minimal amount. However, it is generally agreed that if there is one cosmetic that Coeliac sufferers should ensure is Gluten Free, it's lipstick.3 Lipstick can be ingested but actually poses minimal risk, although sufferers may prefer to avoid it altogether just in case.
How to avoid Gluten in beauty products
Gluten derived ingredients such as oils from wheat, rye, malt, oats and barley are often found in natural skin care and cosmetics as binders and emollients to help mix ingredients together. One of the most common Gluten-derived ingredients found in beauty products is actually Vitamin E, which can be derived from gluten sources like Wheat Germ Oil as well as non-Gluten sources.4 Some products may not outline the source of the Vitamin E in their ingredients list, making it important to double check with the supplier or manufacturer, or look for Certification. Other ingredients to look out for include Tocopherol (another term for Vitamin E), Wheat Germ Oil (Triticum Vulgare), Hydrolyzed wheat protein, Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, Avena sativa (another term for Oats), and Triticum aestivum (another term for Wheat).
Which natural brands are Gluten free?
With natural Gluten Free skin care, hair care and makeup products being increasingly sought after, many brands now include Gluten Free products within their ranges, but of course it's always best to check with the manufacturer and your healthcare professional for peace of mind and to avoid the potential of cross contamination. It's also important to be extra careful because there is a difference between Gluten Free and Wheat Free! Gluten is a protein found in grains such as Wheat, Barley and Rye, so some beauty products might be labelled as 'Wheat Free' but may still contain Gluten derived from other sources such as Rye or Barley.5
With a largely Gluten Free range of products, 100% Pure source their Vitamin E from Cold Pressed Rice Bran instead of Wheat.6 Many of the 100% Pure foundations and lipsticks are Gluten Free and based from fruit and vegetable pigments, making this brand ideal for anyone looking to avoid Gluten in makeup. The 100% Pure mascaras should be avoided however due to oat and wheat proteins in the ingredients.
The majority of the Benecos range of natural cosmetics is also Gluten Free!10 This high quality, affordable range has been formulated to be high performing yet also suit even sensitive skins, making this brand an ideal option for Coeliacs and Gluten sensitivity sufferers.
The Weleda range is another great option for Gluten Free skin care, with several Weleda products and ranges formulated for sensitive skin and without Gluten. Minimal or trace amounts of Gluten or Wheat may be found in some Weleda products, especially due to Vitamin E's use as a nourishing ingredient for maintaining healthy tissue, although it is unlikely to affect anyone unless they have a severe Gluten allergy.8
The German-made Dr Hauschka range also includes many Gluten Free skin care and makeup products, however some are not entirely wheat free so it is best to check the individual labels.9 Many of the Dr Hauschka blushes, concealers and mascaras are Gluten Free by European Regulation standards, making this range another suitable option for those wishing to avoid Gluten in everyday makeup.
(Sources: 1Coeliac Australia, 2Gluten Free Living, 3Gluten Free Living, 4National Institutes of Health, 5Gluten Intolerance Group, 6100% Pure, 7Lavera, 8Weleda, 9Dr Hauschka, 10True Natural)