Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gluten Free Mineral Makeup! Is It Necessary?

Gluten Free...What's The Skinny?

This is an interesting and pointed question about gluten free mineral makeup or any makeup product whether it be lipsticks, glosses, powders or liquid foundation.

I haven't actually had too many customers inquire about this particular issue, however, the concern about gluten free makeup is a real one for those who have Celiac Disease and is the main reason I am finally conveying my research on this subject. I also updated my mineral makeup foundation portion of my site to reflect our products do not have gluten in them.

A new customer recently contacted me about her condition and wanted to make sure my mineral makeup was gluten free as it related to our use of Rice Powder. Fortunately, rice powder contains no gluten and is on the list for substituting it for other dietary flours. Furthermore, our rice powder is cosmetic grade, is modified and refined (no coarse texture) and is no way similar to rice flour you would find in a specialty store.

What Makes Some Sensitive to Gluten?

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten may be found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms.

For instance, Vitamin E can be sourced from Wheat Germ so this is a concern for those who require their diet to be gluten free. Reading ingredient labels becomes a way of life and this information is very important in order for people afflicted with this disease to keep it under control since there is no cure, only preventative treatment at the present time.

The All Important Question....Can Gluten Be Absorbed Through The Skin?

The answer is "no"!.....this common misconception comes from those who have been misinformed or they are unsure due to the endless confusion about this subject being propagated all over the internet. Many doctors are also unsure, however, one source that I consistently check with is the Mayo Clinic Resource Center.

Bottom line, ingesting whole grains which are primarily found in processed flour, pasta, breads and cereals or using a mouthwash or toothpaste that may contain gluten from other sources like vitamin E, artificial flavor or certain types of food starches is what triggers Celiac symptoms. This is another reason to read labels very carefully.

The reason why some may feel they need to avoid mineral makeup or any skincare product containing gluten is based on another form of the disease known as dermatitis herpetiformis. This results in an itchy, blistering rash. Although it is linked to gluten intolerance, it is controlled through avoiding ingestion of gluten, not by avoiding putting anything containing gluten on the skin. Unless you are swallowing your cosmetics, the concern for gluten free makeup should be quite low.

Areas around the mouth can be affected causing further confusion since a reaction to something else in the cosmetic may be causing a problem and gluten becomes the suspect. Mineral makeup and liquid makeup can be the culprit only in the case of a person having a habit of licking the areas around the mouth or their lips after makeup application. Again ingesting product! It is the subtle things we do we may not even be aware of causing us the most grief. However, since celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, it makes our bodies less tolerant of many things that an otherwise perfectly healthy person would not react to. So only your dermatologist can help you identify the culprit through allergy testing if skin reactions continue. It is probably also a good idea to work in unison with a doctor specializing in Internal Medicine.

But for dealing with the subtleties of makeup application, wiping the areas of your mouth with a wet washcloth after putting on your makeup can prevent you from ingesting even a minute amount. Also, not a good idea to eat right after putting on your makeup since again, you will ingest the powder or liquid with the first bite of food if you did not clean off the areas of the mouth first.

What To Watch Out For!

After all of should be noted that some cosmetics do need to be avoided overall for those reactive to gluten. Lip products, whether it be lipstick or plain lip balms can have ingredients which can cause a reaction. Again, not because it is absorbed through the skin, but because of the location.

It is a known fact that anything we wear on our lips gets ingested, maybe it is in very small increments, but ingested all the same. And if these products have gluten in them, the wearer can have an intense response to the product being used.

When in doubt read labels and for best case scenario ask the makeup manufacturer for sources of Vitamin E. This ingredient can also be sourced from soy, various nuts and oils, olives and avocado. Jojoba oil is rich in vitamin E. Also check with your doctor to make sure products containing Hydrolyzed Wheat Proteins are acceptable for use on the lips. Avena Sativa (oat starch) however, has been classified also as gluten free and is part of a gluten free diet......remember though that this ingredient in cosmetics or skincare has been purified and refined similar to rice powder.

To all those who suffer from this disease my heart goes out to you. I can only imagine the trouble it causes to the body. Please be well!

Take Care! Hugs!
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  1. I am thrilled that you decided to address the issue of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease as it pertains to makeup. Though I do not have celiac disease I do have gluten intolerance and I am happy when any company acknowledges this not-very-well-known condition. Plus, you did your research, which helps all people suffering from gluten sensitivity and celiac become informed and comfortable with using your product. Thank you!

  2. Thank you Beth! Many of my ideas for articles come from my customers personal contact with me. I always try to honor a concern or a request as soon as I can. I love all contributions from everyone who reads my skin care guide and I am ready to take suggestions on issues that are important to them.

    That is why some of my future articles sit for a long time on the "to do" list as a customer concern takes precedent over that possible next article.

    Take Care and be well!