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The Celiac Disease Foundation states that Celiac Disease (CD), which affects approximately 1 in 133, is “is a lifelong digestive disorder affecting children and adults. When people with CD eat foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed.”

Meeting the needs of customers with Celiac Disease, many major food brands such as Green Giant, Betty Crocker, Bob’s Red Mill, Bisquick, and Progresso offer gluten-free products. But, what about personal care? Is it necessary for Celiacs to avoid shampoo or lotion that contains gluten? This question often surfaces because there are varying opinions on the subject. Some may even find it odd that gluten is utilized in personal care, but it’s commonly found in plant-based ingredients.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gluten-containing skin care products and cosmetics aren't a problem unless you accidentally swallow them. For this reason, avoid using such products on your lips or around your mouth.” However, despite the Mayo Clinic’s position, the debate still lingers for all varieties of personal care.

Some Celiacs feel that they have had reactions to personal care products containing gluten, but it hasn’t been determined whether or not these reactions were caused by CD or an allergy to another ingredient. Cross-contamination is also a concern. A product that touches the skin could end up on food, and consequently, in the mouth. Then, there are lip balms and lipsticks, which can be accidentally swallowed or transferred by kissing. Therefore, in order to avoid any risk, many Celiacs strictly opt for “gluten-free” labeled personal care, and it’s beginning to show in the marketplace.

According to the latest figures from Mintel, a leading market research company, 516 gluten-free personal care products have been launched since 2005. The term “gluten-free” is becoming just as prominent as “vegan” and “organic”, and as the demand for gluten-free personal care continues to increase, you will encounter more brands touting it.

If you suffer from Celiac Disease and are extra cautious, you should tell your esthetician before you get a facial. This prompts the esthetician to choose a line that is gluten-free. And, while you shop for skin care, you may want to consult the following abbreviated list of frequently found ingredients that have (or could have) gluten in them:

  • Lecithin Antioxidant, emulsifier, and emollient. The most common sources are eggs and soybeans, but it can be derived from wheat germ.
  • Wheat germ oil Emollient and solvent.
  • Glucose Humectant. Could be made from wheat.
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein Hair conditioning.
  • Wheat bran extract Emollient.
  • Avena sativa (Oat) kernel protein Emollient.
  • Avena sativa (Oat) extract Emollient.
  • Hordeum vulgare (barley) extract Emollient.
  • Vitamin E Antioxidant derived from vegetable oils, including wheat germ oil.
  • Glutamic acid Humectant and antioxidant. By-product of wheat.
  • Glutaric acid pH adjuster obtained from wheat gluten.


Looking for a gluten-free skin care line? All Farmaesthetics products are gluten-free.