Celiac Disease and Beauty Products

I know it’s been a while since I posted last.  I’ve been doing research into gluten in beauty products.  What I have found is conclusively inconclusive, but I will share with you what I’ve found so far.

When you are first diagnosed with celiac disease, you think that gluten is only found in the food that you were eating.  Not so.  Gluten is found in many things other than food, like toothpaste, although the major brands lke Crest and Colgate do not contain it.  Body wash, body lotion, hair care products, make up, almost everything you come in contact with.

Lipstick, and possibly chapstick.  Since they are used on the lips should be a concern.  Since I’ve used chapstick for a very long time, never really thinking about it, I called the chapstick contact number to see if chapstick has gluten in it.  I mean why would it?  Right?  The answer I received in my opinion was a complete run around.

I asked this exact question, “I have celiac disease, which is an intolerance to gluten, so I cannot eat any products with wheat, rye, or barley in it.  Does chapstick contain any of those grains.”  What I was told, “We do not put gluten in the end product.”  HUH?  Okay but is it in any of the ingredients that make up the end product.  Again I got we do not put gluten in the end product.  I guess I’ll be finding a new product to use instead of chapstick.

Now onto  what if it is body lotion or makeup that is not going anywhere where you might ingest it?  This is where it gets inconclusive. 

In her book The G Free Diet, Elisabeth Hasselbeck says that she can’t have any hair care products, body washes, lotions, or anything that she comes in contact with have any type of gluten in it.

However, Dr. Michael Picco at the Mayo Clinic says, “Gluten containing products and cosmetics aren’t a problem unless you accidentally swallow them.”

“If you use a cosmetic or skin care product that contains gluten and you develop a skin reaction, see your doctor or dermatologist to identify the cause.  It is possible to have an allergy to wheat or another grain that could cause a skin reaction.”

To read Dr. Picco’s full article click here.

That is pretty much what I am finding all over.  Celiac Disease is an intolerance to ingested gluten, but there are some people that can’t use skin  products that have gluten in them.

So it seems the best advice to follow is Dr. Picco’s.  If you use a product and have a reaction see your doctor to find out why.


  1. Patti says:

    Yes, Mary, I believe we can find things that are toxic to us in all sorts of places. Sometimes we forget that our skin is porous – we are not hermetically sealed. 😀 Beauty products don’t just sit on our skin, it’s absorbed. Thanks for the reminder and thanks for another great topic.

  2. Loretta says:

    I never thought about this when we were talking about your gluten intolerance. I guess you would treat it like I treat my allergies, complete avoidance in everything whether I’m eating it or putting it on my skin! Heck some things I don’t even want to be in the same room as -lol-

    What a strange answer to say that they don’t put it in the end product, very odd wording, sounds like someone wanting to cover their rear end!

  3. Karon says:

    This has nothing to do with beauty products, Mary, but I was wondering what you know about eczema with relation to gluten. (Did see another way to contact you so I posted here.)

    It seems I *may* have a gluten allergy. Will have to do an elimination diet to confirm.

  4. Sandy says:

    I have celiac and one year after I stopped eating anything with gluten I still continued to have acne.. I discovered that the deep conditioner that I used on my hair monthly for the past few years..was causing blister type acne on my face. Upon reading the ingredients I discovered it had Wheat Starch.. After I discontinued the use of all products with wheat listed in the ingredients My problems went away. I have to agree with Elisabeth Hasselbeck on this one … Maybe advise from someone who has dealt with this personally is better than doctors who never experienced it themselves HAHA

  5. Jen says:

    Hey there, just found your website. I cannot use products with gluten in them. I had called the pharmacist several years ago to see if I could, and he said it was fine as long as I didn’t ingest them. NOT SO!! I have learned this the hard way, and can always tell when I missed something.
    Thanks for your informative blog. Love, love, love thin mint cookies. Will have to try your recipe soon.

  6. Mary Blackburn says:

    Sandy and Jen,

    With Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance, in my opinion, there are no hard and fast rules. We are all just kind of muddling through this. I found that there were certain eyeliners I couldn’t use because they made my eyes itch.

    I just started using an eye cream by Garnier that after just a few applications, my eyes have started itching.

    Celiac Disease “technically” affects the small intestines and the villi found there. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have an intolerance to products with gluten in them that we use other places on our bodies.


    Eczema can certainly be connected to celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

    I will be posting about that here soon.

    I don’t think the “experts” know either.

  7. Deborah Feingle says:

    I like your writing style and appreciate your opinion on anything beauty-related, but I really love the honest and intimate, maybe even vulnerable tone You can hit in these posts. I think you touch on subjects we all can relate to and you make them entertaining too!

  8. Edward Dughi says:

    Known as an autoimmune disorder, the celiac disease can occur mostly in people with a genetic predisposition to it. The test for celiac disease it takes not much time and if you want to either you have or not you have to take it. You should get tested for celiac disease right now if you’re worried you might have it.

  9. Genny says:

    Thank you for the info about gluten in beauty products. I have just discovered I am gluten intolerant. Through the years, I have had problems with some face creams making my eyes water and tear all day. Some mascaras also do this. I suspect Dr. Picco doesn’t use either! I never suspected ingredients like gluten grains would be in mascara, but I will really research this now.

    My daughters and I make our own beauty products including all natural face creams (Sensitive & Pregnancy Safe, Normal & Estrogenic for over 50 skin), and chapsticks made with organic coconut oil, beeswax and essential oils, that’s all, and they really last! (AromaForHealth.com).

    Chapsticks are easy to make at home. I use equal amounts of natural cosmetic grade beeswax beads and coconut oil. Melt them together in a glass measuring cup inside a pan with 2-3 inches of water on a low heat. A few drops of Rosemary and Lavender essential oils are always healing and gentle. Make sure they are pure essential oils! Pour the heated mixture into chapstick tubes or small glass jars recycled from jam samples, etc. Glass packaging is always best with essential oils, they penetrate plastic and you get toxins in your products. That’s why I really dilute the essential oils when I use plastic chapstick tubes. Have fun with the recipe, and use them summer and winter. My 7 year old granddaughter loves helping make them. They make great green gifts to share with family and friends.

    I just bought some coconut flour at our local farmers market, and our zuchinni are ready to pick. I am looking forward to making a zuchinni bread this weekend with my first gluten free flour mix! I found your recipe on HillbillyHousewifes.com. Thanks for your website.

  10. Fernando Debar says:

    Wow, I was initially browsing for content about Elisabeth Hasselbeck maxi dress and found your web page. Fortunetely I am lucky I did. Funny just how we find unique places on the net.

  11. Linnea Wiedeman says:

    I have been allergic to gluten since I was 9 almost 20 years and I have a gluten free diet I am strict about. Recently my hair has been falling out really bad, do you think that the chapstick and lotion I have been using which do have trace amounts of gluten in them could be causing this.

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