Does Gluten Cause Skin Problems?

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Just about everyone seems to be avoiding gluten. It's being blamed as the culprit for just about everything from feeling tired to infertility. But here at Alder New York we say forget infertility- the real question is: Does gluten cause skin problems? And should we be avoiding it in our personal care products?

What's Gluten?

Let's start at the beginning- what is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. The protein enables things to have a sticky, stretchy texture and can be found in foods like bread, soup, beer, pasta, and other baked goods. It additionally can be found in many skincare and haircare products like shampoo, lotions, and creams.

Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity 

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that causes a person's body to attack their small intestines with antibodies when gluten is ingested, is a serious condition that can lead to the development of other autoimmune diseases, infertility, IG cancer, and several other severe conditions. 

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity, on the other hand, is unlike celiac in that it's not an autoimmune disease and doesn't effect the gut. Typical symptoms are mind fogginess, headaches, numbness in the extremities, and joint pain.

But Does Gluten Cause Skin Problems? 

People with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease commonly don't suffer from skin problems unless they're additionally diagnosed with a disease know as dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes blisters that often look like pimples on the skin. Although it relates to the skin, it isn't acne. It's caused by ingesting gluten, much like celiac.

DH is often misdiagnosed as eczema, and can occur in people with celiac, gluten sensitivity, or neither. It's only treatment, like other gluten related ailments, is to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet.

Gluten in Skincare Products

It's important to note that all of the above conditions are effected by ingesting gluten only, and that topical exposure doesn't set off symptoms. But, you may be thinking, don't some people complain of experiencing a rash and irritated skin when they use products that contain gluten? 

The likely culprit isn't gluten but a common allergic reaction to wheat. Like any other allergic reaction, you may experience hives and a rash, as well as, sneezing, asthma, digestive issues, and headaches. 

There's no evidence that topical gluten causes skin problems even if you're diagnosed with DH, celiacs, or a gluten sensitivity.  

Luckily there's one less thing to worry about, because for most people gluten just doesn't cause skin problem. So grab a slice of bread and take a bite.

Alder New York and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on Alder New York is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.


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