The boom in organic cosmetics, which has undoubtedly managed to make a name for itself in the sector, obtaining bio, organic, and Ecocert certifications and seals, which we already talked about in the entry "sustainable cosmetics". To these stamps are added many times vegans, cruelty-free or untested in animals, vegetarians, and gluten-free.
Why gluten-free cosmetics?
The gluten-free seal is or could be focused solely and exclusively on celiacs or, failing that, people who may have an allergy to it. The rest of humanity, even those with sensitive or highly sensitive skin, have no reason to avoid gluten.
Can celiacs use gluten-based cosmetics?
Food intolerance does not automatically translate into a contact allergy. In principle, as long as they are not eaten, there is no evidence of concern that a cosmetic with gluten, applied topically, can cause an allergic reaction. In fact, gliadins (the majority of proteins in gluten) are too large to be absorbed by the skin.
Gluten is a protein found in cereals, mainly wheat, and which causes intolerances and allergies. The most common thing is to avoid taking it in food, but many times we forget that this ingredient is also found in many cosmetic products.
If we are intolerant to gluten, we can avoid its use in our care products, since we may be exposing ourselves to irritations on our skin. We must remember that the skin is the largest organ of our body and that it absorbs 60% of the product that we apply to it. Therefore, we must be especially careful. Although the gluten found in the minimum products, its continuous use can cause us problems, so it is better to avoid it.
Experts warn that if a person with celiac disease is not careful to avoid products with gluten, they will damage their body on a daily basis. This, experts say, can trigger more serious conditions like osteoporosis, infertility, immune disorders, thyroid disease, or cancer.
How to recognize a product with gluten?
This is a difficult question to answer. The labeling generally does not specify that the product contains gluten. We recommend those products whose labeling is gluten-free. Another option is to carefully read the ingredients to find out whether or not they actually have gluten.
Here are some of the ingredients to avoid if we do not want gluten:
Avena sativa (oats)
Hydrolyzed malt extract
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Wheat flour hydrolyzate
Hydrolyzed wheat gluten
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Cross polymer PVP
Wheat starch hydrolyzate
Dry cereal (rye)
Triticum Vulgare (wheat)
Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) germ oil
Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) starch
Wheat amino acids
Glyceride wheat germ
Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) gluten
Wheat germidopropalkonium chloride
What alternatives are there to gluten products?
The market is very wide and is increasingly aware of the problem of gluten since it has increased exponentially in recent years. There are already companies that ensure gluten-free product lines.
Some researchers do not seem to find danger when applying gluten-based cosmetics topically since this protein works when it is inside the body. The mechanism that causes the celiac disease is mediated by an autoimmune reaction at the intestinal level and not by allergy or skin contact mechanisms.
In other words, gluten must reach the intestinal lining to cause damage. This information seems to diminish the danger of using gluten-based cosmetics or toothpaste.
Other experts claim that the components of lipsticks, makeup bases, or hand creams, for example, penetrate the body with a simple contact with the mouth or that a shadow or eyeliner can be absorbed through the eyelid.
Since minimal doses of gluten can trigger intolerance, it is prudent for people with celiac disease to avoid gluten-based cosmetics and toothpaste.
In addition, it should be borne in mind that there are effective and safe product alternatives that do not use cereals with this protein in their composition, so this restriction neither limits nor hinders skincare.
How to know if a cosmetic has Gluten?
In many cosmetics, especially natural ones, you can find the seal "Gluten-free" or "Gluten-free". In the event that it does not appear, considering that it is not yet mandatory, it is useful to study the composition.
For greater safety, you can avoid cosmetics and toothpaste that contain Triticum (wheat), Avena sativa (oats), hydrolyzed malt extract, and Secale cereale (rye).
If the cosmetic includes vitamin E, the manufacturer should be asked if it comes from wheat germ oil, the most common source of this active ingredient.
Some brands already have cosmetics with wheat germ in which gluten has been eliminated by natural procedures.
Celiac people are sensitive to gluten present in food. Therefore, if they have any allergic reaction on the skin or mucosa, they should pay special attention to the composition of the cosmetics they use on a daily basis.
The incorporation of cereals in cosmetic formulas is more and more common. They are common due to their high content of vitamins, such as some of group B that nourish the hair fiber, vitamin E, a powerful skin antioxidant that helps neutralize the action of free radicals, or due to the presence of minerals and trace elements (iron, zinc).
The most widely used is wheat germ oil, a nourishing and anti-caking moisturizer incorporated in creams or conditioners that prevents hair from becoming very straight.
Wheat starch is a binder that gives consistency to lipsticks and toothpaste, and rice powder (gluten-free) acts as an astringent on oily-prone skin and improves skin flexibility for its moisturizing and softening properties.
Celiac people are very sensitive to gluten, so it is a matter of study and discussion if they can be affected by the simple contact of gluten through the mucous membranes or the skin.
If in doubt about whether a cosmetic is gluten-free, we recommend that you put a small test of the cosmetic on your skin. If no reactions are observed, the cosmetic can be used without problems.
Sonia Corredor/Shimarz Blog Writer