Gluten-Free Skincare: Do You Need It?
The gluten-free phenomenon has officially made its way from grocery aisles to cosmetic shelves. More and more creams, cleansers, and even foundations are being stamped with the seal of approval.
So what does that mean for your skin? Should you toss your favorite gluten-containing lotions and potions down the drain? The answer is no.
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, products containing gluten are not a threat to those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. An allergic reaction to gluten—a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and more—is triggered by consumption. And what’s more, “gluten molecules are not small enough to be absorbed through the skin,” explains Adam Friedman, MD, director of dermatologic research at Montefiore-Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
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However, products that may be unintentionally ingested—think toothpaste, lip balm, and hand cream (we’re talking to you, nail biters)—are potentially dangerous. If you're uncertain about whether a product contains gluten, check the ingredient list for things like hydrolyzed wheat protein, triticum vulgare (wheat germ), and sodium lauroyl oat amino acids, advises Francesca Fusco, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
What you choose to put on your skin is, of course, a personal decision. But for those of you who don’t want to part ways with your current regimen (hey, it works), don’t stress the label—topical application is A-Okay.
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