Beauty Can Kill: Gluten in Cosmetics

Looking good is important, but did you know that there is a lot of gluten in cosmetics? You’ll find that a lot of the items you’re applying to your face, skin, eyes, and body will actually contain gluten – which can be harmful if you have celiac disease.(Remember, celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which your body treats gluten like a virus or bacteria, and it attacks the particles of gluten in your food. It in turn damages your intestines, and causes other health problems.)

If you have celiac disease, you will be wise to avoid gluten for your body’s sake. No doubt you’ve already cut gluten out of your diet, meaning all of the wheat, most of the grain, and all baked goods have been taken off your menu. You’re doing good, but you find that your body is still suffering from a negative reaction to the gluten in something. But what?

Hidden Gluten in Cosmetics

Unfortunately for you, looking good is causing you health problems. There are a surprising number of cosmetics that contain gluten, meaning that your body is still absorbing the protein via your skin. Every time you apply the cosmetics to your face, skin, eyes, or body, your body comes in contact with gluten. Avoiding gluten in cosmetics is important in order to prevent gluten problems!Here are the ingredients that contain the most gluten:


Any and all wheat-derived products are going to contain gluten. This includes wheat germ, wheat bran, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and Triticum Vulgare extract. These are all names of ingredients that you’ll find on your cosmetics, so keep an eye out for them when buying creams and makeup.Note: Wheat germ oil may not contain gluten, as there is none of the proteins in the oil. While it is derived from wheat, there is a chance that it is gluten-free. In this case, if you notice side effects of using the product, stop immediately. If not, it’s safe for your use.


Oats don’t actually contain gluten, but many times the manufacturing plants where oats are processed are the same plants where wheat products are processed. The same machines may be used to process both grains, so there is a serious risk of cross-contamination – meaning particles of wheat end up in your oats. This means any oat flour, oat bran extract, or oat protein – basically anything with avena sativa on it – is risky for the gluten intolerant.


Rye, millet, and barley are all dangerous for the gluten-intolerant. While millet may not actually contain gluten, it may be dangerous for those that are very gluten intolerant.  Some people have reacted negatively to the proteins in millet, despite the fact that it is gluten-free. Both rye and barley are loaded with gluten, so it’s important to avoid these ingredients.The most important thing is to read the label on each beauty product you buy, as that’s the only way to be sure that you’re not coming in contact with the gluten in cosmetics. The gluten proteins help to thicken the cosmetics, which is why they’re added. Without the protein, the beauty products have to be thickened another way.

The secret to avoid gluten in cosmetics: gluten-free organic beauty products. They tend to be a bit more expensive than regular cosmetics, but that’s just a part of life! You’ll find that these organic products are usually much more natural, not to mention safer. There’s no risk of cross-contamination when you use organic gluten-free beauty products, so they’re worth the investment in order to avoid gluten in cosmetics!

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