Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why Have Gluten-Free Products Become So Popular?

I have to admit, I used to think that the whole gluten-free craze was some sort of fad diet. Working in a restaurant for many years, I grew accustomed to hearing people order their meals in the funkiest ways. Every few months, there was some sort of new trendy diet that everyone wanted to follow because they read about it online, saw it on Oprah or heard that it was mentioned in a magazine. When I would hear people request gluten-free dishes or ask whether or not a dish had gluten in it, I immediately chalked it up to another Atkins-type of diet or just assumed that the person was being high maintenance.

It wasn't until I started working in the beauty industry that I realized why gluten-free beauty products were so popular among certain clients. The more requests I got from clients, the more I started to wonder why a client would care whether or not a product they used on their skin would contain gluten. It was through my own research and talking with clients on a daily basis that I eventually learned about Celiac Disease.

Celiac, pronounced “See-Lee-Ack” Disease is a condition caused by ingesting gluten (wheat, barley, rye, oats or any of their derivatives) which damages the lining of the small intestine and affects its ability to absorb nutrients from the food properly into the body. This disease causes a person to be malnourished, no matter how much they eat. The exact cause of the disease is unknown. Only one percent of the world's population suffers from Celiac Disease. This autoimmune disorder can develop at any point in life, from infancy to late adulthood. Symptoms can include chronic diarrhea, fatigue, depression, constipation, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, bruising, hair loss or itchy skin, aka dermatitis herpeitformis. Not exactly fun stuff.

Clients suffering from Celiac Disease should be extremely cautious of the products they use on their mouth, lips or inside of the mouth. These products may include lip conditioner, lip gloss, lipstick, toothpaste and mouthwash. According to the Celiac Society, it's purely myth that any skin care product containing gluten will penetrate through the skin barrier and trigger symptoms of Celiac Disease. "Gluten molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin. If you're having a reaction to a personal care product (such as a moisturizer or sunscreen) that contains gluten, you may be allergic to one or more of the other ingredients."

Those who have Celiac Disease should steer clear of any products used in and around the mouth area that contain any one of the following ingredients:

avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, cyclodextrin, dextrin, dextrin palmitate, hydrolyzed malt extract, hydrolyzed oat flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed wheat flour, hydrolyzed wheat gluten, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein/PVP Crosspolymer, hydrolyzed wheat starch, maltodextrin, secale cereale (rye) seed flour, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract, triticum vulgare germ oil, triticum vulgare gluten, triticum vulgare starch, wheat amino acids, wheat germ glycerides, wheat germamidopropalkonium chloride, wheat protein, wheatgermamidopropyl ethyldimonium ethosulfate, and yeast extract.

Clients who suffer or think they may be suffering from Celiac Disease should always consult with their physician first before using any product. Clients with gluten sensitivities should always consult with their physician first when trying to determine which ingredients and/or products are safe for them to use.

Some of my all-time favorite skin care and beauty products are considered to be gluten-free:

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel
Dermalogica Precleanse
Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist
Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15
Hourglass Film Noir Mascara
Jane Iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation - SPF 20

During my gluten-free products research, I stumbled upon a great blog called Naturally Dah'ling. Kristen was diagnosed as severely gluten intolerant. After many months of researching ingredients, contacting manufacturers, and buying and trying product after product, she developed her own list of favorite--can't live without--natural and gluten-free products and turned it into a blog. Naturally Dah'ling is an excellent resource for discovering natural and gluten-free cosmetics, skin care, hair care and nail care products.

1 comment:

  1. I know that if I touch anything made with wheat or gluten my skin hurts. I work in a store that sells groceries and have had my hands break out in a rash after handing flour. I used to use a shampoo that had wheat in it and my hair started falling out and my scalp itched. I started using a wheat free shampoo and no longer have those symptoms. I used a lip balm that had Vit E from wheat in it and had an allergic reaction.