Myth: A Study Has Proven That There Is Gluten in Beauty Products and Those With Celiac Disease Must Use Gluten-Free Products

What we know for certain about gluten and celiac disease is that gluten has to be consumed to cause harm. The gluten protein molecule is too large to be absorbed by the skin according to medical experts and scientists. That means products applied to the skin cannot trigger celiac disease reactions. Products like lipstick, which go on the lips and can be swallowed in very minute amounts, are unlikely to contain anywhere near enough gluten to trigger a celiac disease response, but a little more caution is advised in the case of lipstick.

The study that’s often pointed to as proof that there is gluten in cosmetics did not come anywhere near doing so. It simply looked at whether gluten in cosmetics is clearly labeled and concluded it’s not. That’s something we’ve known for a long time. The study involved one case in which a patient was found to recover from skin rash symptoms after discontinuing use of a beauty product. The researchers don’t know what the product was, whether it actually contained gluten, what ingredient might have been the source of any gluten and how much realistically might have been present. The study was limited to an investigation of how often beauty products are labeled gluten free.

Still, some consumers react to skin products. Use of gluten-free products is a personal choice. If a product you are using causes skin problems, it makes sense to stop using it. If gluten-free beauty products from specialty companies give you better results there’s no reason not to use them. But we currently have no proof that gluten in beauty products is harmful to those who have celiac disease.

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