Gluten-free Beauty Products: do you need them and how to find them.
Do people with celiac need to use gluten-free beauty products? How do you even identify gluten in beauty products? We will be discussing this and more in this post.
Do Celiacs Need to use Gluten-Free Beauty Products?
Do celiacs need to use gluten-free beauty products? Short answer? It depends on the beauty product and the person.
Are you ready for the long answer?
First, for the purpose of this post, beauty products refer to anything related to body hygiene. So when I say beauty products or cosmetics, I’m referring to anything that is applied to the body.
This means when I say beauty products, I mean soaps, lotions, sanitizers, eye cream, lipstick, eye shadow, floss, toothpaste, the whole nine yards.
Now when it comes to using gluten-free beauty products for celiac, it gets complex because some beauty products need to be gluten-free and others it’s really a choice.
Ultimately, it depends on where you you’re using the product and the person.
when to use Gluten-Free Beauty Products
Most importantly, if you have celiac, anything going in or around your mouth should be gluten-free. This means lipstick, chapstick, oral medications, mouthwash, toothpaste, floss, etc. should all be gluten-free.
The good news is that these things are usually gluten-free anyways.
For example, celiacs need to use gluten-free lip products. Luckily, most lip products are gluten-free. Preliminary research on the gluten content of lip products with obvious gluten-derived ingredients for example, has shown that all products tested has <10ppm of gluten. Which is far below the <20ppm celiac-safe limit.
Celiacs need to use gluten-free dental products too. Fortunately, these are often gluten-free too. In fact, in a 2019 study on the celiac-safety of oral hygiene products they found that only 6% of oral hygiene products had gluten >20ppm.
Other cases that may cause a celiac to use gluten-free beauty products might be:
- if they have an open wound
- they have celiac dermatitis herpetiformis
- they have sensitive skin and find they react to gluten
- it just makes them feel safer
- they have a kid who likes to put everything in their mouth (including bath water).
In summary, there are many cases as to why someone with celiac might need gluten-free beauty products and it’s important to respect these instances.
If you’re someone who needs gluten-free cosmetics and products it’s essential you are checking labels to make sure things are safe.
How to Identify Gluten in Beauty Products
Looking for gluten in beauty products by reading the ingredients label can be tricky. It’s not the same as checking food labels for gluten.
When trying to identify gluten in beauty products look for BROW, which stands for barley, rye, wheat, oats (if not certified gluten-free), and wheat. These are the foods to avoid if you have celiac and thus, what to avoid in beauty products if you have made the choice to do so.
However, these ingredients show up differently in the ingredients of beauty products.
Wheat in Cosmetics
The first ingredient to look for when identifying gluten in cosmetics is wheat.
Wheat can show up in the ingredients of cosmetics as a lot of things. Here’s a list of wheat ingredients often found in beauty products:
- Wheat Starch
- Wheat gluten
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Wheat protein
- Steardimonium hydroxypropyl
- Laurdimonium hydroxypropyl
- Wheat germ oil
- Dextrin palmitate (may be gluten-based)
Barley in Beauty Products
Another ingredient to look for when identifying if a beauty product is gluten-free is barley.
Barley’s scientific name is Hordeum Vulgare so look for both on a beauty product label.
Barley can also show up as:
- Malt extract
- Barley extract
- Hordeum vulgare extract
Identifying Rye in Beauty Products
The next ingredient to look for when determining if a beauty product is gluten-free is rye.
Rye can show up in the ingredients of cosmetics as a lot of things but usually it shows up as “rye” or “secale cereale”.
Thankfully, the list of ingredients to look our for in cosmetics is short for rye.
Looking for Oats in Cosmetics
Lastly, if you need gluten-free beauty products, looking for oats in your products is a good idea.
It’s important to note with oats that they are naturally gluten-free. The big risk is that oats aren’t always celiac-safe because of high risk for cross-contact.
The jury is still out on this and how much cross-contact would be translated to a beauty product with oats and if it would be greater than 20ppm.
If you want to be safe look for:
- Beta-glucan (can be from barley/oats)
- Avena sativa
- Avena sativa extract
- Sodium lauroyl oat amino acid
My favorite gluten-free brands/products:
This section features affiliate links.
I have an amazon list featuring all of my specific favorite products, if you want to check it out, click here. But my all-time favorite brands are:
- Tom’s of Maine (I like them for their deodorant sticks and sometimes toothpaste)
- Sun Bum (I like them for their sunscreen and chapstick)
- EO products (I like them for their spray deodorant, essential oils, and hand sanitizer)
- Zuzu Luxe (I like them for their eyeliner – but it does come off easily)
My beauty routine is pretty minimal so I don’t use a lot of beauty products. Unfortunately, that means my list of products not as long as some other people but that’s just me.
Special oral health note, Crest and Colgate toothpaste should be gluten-free.
In most cases, the use of gluten-free beauty products are personal choice.
There is a lot of judgement and shame in the gluten-free community around using or not using gluten-free beauty products. I think we are getting caught up too much in the details.
While it’s usually not necessary, I choose to respect everyone’s choice on the subject. I want to emphasize that in most cases, using gluten-free beauty products is a choice for celiacs.
A choice that I don’t believe should be taken from them and a choice that should be respected.