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Are Gluten-Free Cosmetics Really a Thing?

Q. Why would gluten be in my cosmetics anyway?

A. Gluten cosmetic ingredients are commonly used in cosmetics as binders to help the ingredients stick together. They are also used as emollients to help condition the skin.

Q. Why is it important for someone with Celiac Disease to avoid gluten-laced makeup?

A. Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance are primarily an issue related to the auto-immune system of the intestines. There are a lot of skeptics that don’t believe gluten in cosmetics has any negative impact on a person suffering from Celiac Disease specifically because cosmetics are topical and the disease is an internal, gastrointestinal disease.

For a person suffering from Celiac Disease and the inability to digest gluten, even micro amounts of gluten in cosmetics could possibly contribute to discomfort. This may be especially true with lip products that we tend to inadvertently consume along with whatever we are eating or drinking.  This may be even truer when one takes into consideration that many on the market contain gluten as a staple cosmetic ingredient.

This is a sobering thought for a woman suffering from gluten intolerance when it is said that the average woman eats pounds of lipstick over a lifetime. So, why not make it edible and gluten-free at the same time?

Q. If I don’t see the word ‘gluten’ on my cosmetics’ labels, does that mean that they are gluten-free?

A. Gluten-derived cosmetic ingredients are common in many cosmetics. Gluten is found primarily in wheat, but also in rye, malt, oats, and barley. They very rarely show up on the ingredient list as “gluten” specifically. The two most common gluten-derived cosmetic ingredients are wheat germ oil and tocopherol (Vitamin E).