Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Cosmetic Debate: Do You Need to be Gluten-Free?

Lately, my alopecia has been acting up.  I had it under control for a long period of time and almost all of my hair grew back.  But over the last few months, I have developed a few, noticeable spots and my scalp has been really itchy.  I  looked over my diet for any possible sources of gluten and I went to the dermatologist for the dreaded cortisone injections. But I was still itchy and pulling out hair.  Then, I came across the blog, Gluten-Free Makeup Gal and had an epiphany.  I vaguely knew about certain cosmetics containing gluten, but I had never put a whole lot of thought in to it as I do not wear a lot of makeup and, any I do, is "natural."  But when I read this blog, I realized the one major thing I had changed was my shampoo and conditioner.  I was recently at the salon and my stylist, without knowing  that I had a gluten allergy, recommended the Aveda Damage Control shampoo and conditioner for my color-treated hair.  When I actually read the ingredient list, I realized that they both contained barley, which an celiac will tell you contains gluten. I discontinued using the product and I now wonder if the gluten in my shampoo and conditioner caused my Alopecia Areata to flare up.

There is still debate over whether or not gluten in cosmetics is safe for people with celiac disease.  Many doctors will tell you that cosmetics, shampoo, conditioner, and lotions containing gluten are safe unless you put them around your mouth and are at risk for swallowing them. However, some argue that your skin is the largest organ, it stands to reason that there is the potential for a gluten reaction when coat our skin in gluten-containing products.  Also, if you use a cosmetic product that contains gluten, it's going to get on your hands and if you grab something to eat with a gluten-containing product on your hands, it stands to reason that you are at risk for getting gluten in your system.

Now, I am not a doctor nor do I want to give anyone medical advice.  But I am a person that would rather be safe than sorry and, with so many companies making gluten-free cosmetics, it seems like it is easy enough to avoid.  After some extensive research, here is what I found:

  • Jill Molchan of the Going Gluten-Free Gracefully offers great tips on what to look for when you are buying gluten-free cosmetics.  She offered a list of ingredients that are found in many cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and lotions:
    • Anything that contains the words Wheat, Barley, or Oats
    • Tricticum Vulgare Extract and Lipid
    • Avena Stavia Oils or Extracts
    • Hordeum Vulgare Extract
    • Vitamin-E Extracted from Wheat
    • Semino Peptide Complex
    • Dextrin
    • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
    • Fermented Grain Alcohol
  • After reading Jill's blog, I realized that many products, while mostly gluten-free, do have some products that contain gluten.  One brand that surprised me was Burt's Bees.  I don't know why I assumed they were all gluten-free but, while most of their products are gluten-free, there are some that contain gluten.  I called a representative from their company and they were very nice about providing a list of products that contain gluten:
    • Baby Bee Apricot Oil
    • Baby Bee Fragrance-Free Shampoo and Soap (The regular Baby Bee Shampoo and Soap do not contain gluten)
    • Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap
    • Mama Bee Belly Balm
    • Mama Bee Leg and Foot Cream
    • Lemon and Vitamin Bath and Body Oils
    • Carrot Nutritive Day Cream
    • Orange Essence Face Oil
    • Ageless Face Serum
    • Avocado Butter Hair Treatment
    • Rosemary Mint Shampoo
    • Coconut Foot Cream
    • Repair Serum
    • Miracle Salve
    • Poison Ivy Soap
    • Rescue Lip Balm and Ointment
    • Any of the lip balms in metal tins
  • After my experience with Aveda, I looked in to their other products for possibility of containing gluten.  I only had access to the Damage Control Conditioner and the Color Conserve Shampoo, both of which contain gluten.  I tried to get a hold of a representative for Aveda to ask for a list but I was unsuccessful.  I will post more when I get a hold of someone.
  • Some of Nature's Gate products also contain gluten.  The ones I was able to confirm were their Color Conserve Shampoos and Conditioner and their Tea Tree Calming Shampoo and Conditioner.  I could not get a hold of representative for  Nature's Gate, either.
  • If you are looking for gluten-free cosmetics Arbonne has lines of make-up, body wash, face wash, and lotions.  Their website contains a list of all of their gluten-free products.
  • After speaking with a representative, I found most of Smashbox cosmetics are gluten-free with the exception of their Bionic Mascara, Layer Lash Liner, Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder, Double Take Lip Color, and their Lip Treatment SPF 15.
  • From all the reading and research I have done, all of Dove products are gluten-free.  I could not get a hold of a representative but I do know that Dove lists all of the ingredients and allergens in their products so you just need to read the labels.
  • All Neutrogena Naturals products have also been confirmed gluten-free.
  • Joelle Cosmetics, Afterglow, and Red Apple Lipstick are companies that do all gluten-free make-up.
It takes a lot of research and phone calls to determine if cosmetics contain gluten as there are few companies that make entirely gluten-free products.  I will post more information as I get ahold of more companies.  Talk to your doctor to see if you need to use gluten-free cosmetics.  And if you have a reaction to any type of product, it is a good idea to quit using it immediately.

Does anyone else know of any gluten-free cosmetics?  Feel free to post them in the comments section!

No comments:

Post a Comment