When you’re getting ready for the day and fluffing powder brushes, gluten is probably the last thing on your mind. Generally beautiful blush and mega-defining mascaras are not thought of as daily items that could be making us sick. However, if you’re sensitive to gluten, eliminating these and other potentially gluten-laden makeup products may prove beneficial.
What it Is: Gluten is the protein found in wheat and certain other grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Many ingredients in cosmetics contain wheat or are made from it, such as Vitamin E oil. These wheat-derived products add moisture and body to products and are often used as binders. Sensitivity to gluten has been skyrocketing over the past decade, with one in 133 Americans being diagnosed with Celiac disease (a severe form of gluten insensitivity) along with 18 million Americans who have gluten intolerance.
Why It Matters: While gluten is typically associated with digestive discomfort and internal damage, it can also cause intense skin conditions. One type of gluten sensitivity comes in the form of dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes an extremely painful skin rash. Even if your form of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is digestive, your skin is the largest organ in your body, absorbing up to 60% of what is put on it. While the amount in any given product may be minuscule, the combined daily effect of gluten-containing products could still be enough to trigger symptoms. Alice Bast, the founder and president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, says: “Lipstick, lip-gloss, mouthwash, toothpaste—they can all trigger a reaction in people with celiac disease. Even if you don’t experience any symptoms, you could be doing damage on the inside.” According to leading institutions such as the Celiac Center and Mayo Clinic, when celiac disease is left untreated or the body is consistently attacked with gluten, further damage such as osteoporosis, infertility, immune disorders, thyroid disease, or cancer may be the result.
Alternatives: There are gluten-free alternatives for nearly every product on the market, but they may not be readily available in your pharmacy’s makeup aisle. Some drugstore companies like Maybelline do offer gluten-free products and will be labeled to indicate it. Other companies specialize such as Afterglow, Gabriel Cosmetics, Red Apple Lipsticks (plus other products), and Emani. They all have full makeup lines free of gluten and offer great color choices and options.
Switching to gluten-free makeup can be an opportunity to experiment with new colors, styles, and products. Embrace the challenge and expand your daily routine, all the while limiting your exposure to gluten. Go forth gorgeous and gluten-free!
Here is a list of the many beauty product ingredients gluten can be hiding in: Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Cyclodextrin, Dextrin, Dextrin Palmitate, Hydrolyzed Malt Extract, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour, Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Flour, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Gluten, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Starch, Wheat Amino Acids, Wheat Germ Glycerides, Wheat Germamidopropalkonium Chloride, Wheat Protein, Wheatgermamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Yeast Extract.
Image via Passion Photography