Does it really matter if your makeup is gluten-free or not?
For those who suffer from celiac disease or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten-free makeup isn’t just a matter of trend, it’s a matter of health.
Every time you apply makeup, you could be setting off a chain of events that result in a negative physical reaction.
Signs that you could be allergic to your makeup range from mildly uncomfortable (watery eyes and skin redness) to downright miserable (cramps and diarrhea). Reactions to gluten in makeup vary, based on individual sensitivities and how much of the gluten is ingested.
To learn why it’s important to use gluten-free makeup, let’s take a closer look at celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a common and serious autoimmune disorder that affects over three million people in the United States alone. Across the world, approximately one in every 100 people suffer from this often debilitating disease. What’s scary is that up to 97% of those with celiac disease aren’t actually aware that they’re suffering from a gluten allergy.
Celiac disease is an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in barley, wheat, and rye. This disease causes your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestines, which can lead to damage.
The most common symptom of celiac disease is diarrhea. Other symptoms include abdominal discomfort, cramping, muscle pain, bloating, headaches, depression, brain fog, anxiety, tiredness, weight loss, and anemia. It can lead to poor nutrient absorption.
The disease has no known cure, although you can treat it with a careful avoidance of gluten.
What is Gluten Sensitivity?
It is possible to have an allergic response or intolerance to gluten without having celiac disease. This is known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Those with gluten sensitivity are subject to inflammation inside and outside of the digestive tract.
Far more people have a gluten sensitivity than celiac disease. Approximately 18 million people are gluten sensitive compared to the three million with celiac disease.
The symptoms of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are the same.
To determine whether you have celiac disease or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you’ll need to be tested.
Are You Allergic to Your Makeup?
If you know that you’re sensitive to gluten, you’re likely to avoid foods that contain gluten. However, gluten isn’t just present in foods. It’s also present in makeup and other beauty products, too.
This fact surprises a lot of people, but it makes complete sense once you think about it. For example, have you ever felt bad after wearing mascara?
You may think that experiencing dry, itchy, or watery eyes is a normal reaction to spending all day wearing mascara, but makeup should never hurt. Makeup should never hurt. Click To Tweet If you’ve experienced any negative physical side effects to your cosmetics (no matter how small), don’t be too quick to discount them as the cost of being pretty. You may be suffering from a gluten allergy.
You may also have reactions that you don’t immediately trace back to your makeup. Your cramps can be connected to swallowing gluten-laden lipstick or gloss. If you don’t realize that it’s possible, you may be missing the signs. However, lipstick is often ingested and can create harmful reactions in your gut and elsewhere.
But I Thought Gluten Couldn’t Be Absorbed Through the Skin
Think that gluten can’t be absorbed by the skin? Think again.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation and half-truths out there concerning gluten. While many believe that the gluten molecule is too big to be absorbed through the skin, we here at Red Apple Lipstick believe that gluten can absolutely be absorbed. That’s because the skin is porous. Plus, it’s the largest organ of your body and it happens to be only one that constantly comes into contact with makeup.
If you have a severe gluten sensitivity, you may experience rashes, hives, or redness simply from wearing a gluten-containing product on your skin.
Any product that you put on your skin has the potential to be ingested accidentally. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, cosmetics will be ingested. Think of all the times that you touch your face during the course of a day. Now, think of a time that you’ve eaten something with your hands, let’s say popcorn. In this scenario, you’ve just transferred makeup to the popcorn and now to your mouth. It’s just that easy to consume contaminated cosmetics, and you do it every day without even thinking about.
In addition to skin absorption and digestion, you can also inhale the gluten. Powdered makeup and foundation can be inhaled, too.
Why Does Some Makeup Contain Gluten Anyway?
It sounds weird that makeup would have gluten in the first place. After all, why does makeup need wheat?
Many cosmetics brands use gluten for its binding properties. Gluten can help the ingredients in a product bind together.
Opt for a Gluten-Free Brand
Even if your cosmetic product doesn’t list a gluten-based ingredient, it’s not automatically safe. If your product was created by a non-gluten-free brand, you’re still at risk. Other products containing gluten may cross containment your otherwise gluten-free product. If you want to ensure that absolutely no trace levels of gluten will make it to your product, support a cosmetics brand that creates their products in a gluten-free facility and especially with designated gluten-free equipment.
Also, don’t wait for a notification from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although the FDA regulates gluten labeling in food products, it does not require cosmetics or drugs to be labeled with gluten. You’ll have to fend for yourself.
Watch for Those Tricky Ingredients
Cosmetics companies often hide gluten ingredients in science-y, Latin terminology. Look out specifically for:
- Avena sativa (oatmeal)
- Hordeum vulgare (barley)
- Triticum vulgare (wheat)
Other ingredients to steer clear of include:
- Barley anything
- Cetearyl wheat bran glycosides
- Hydrogenated wheat germ oil
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Hydrolyzed malt extract
- Oat Fiber or Flour
- Secale Cereale
- Yeast extract
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Check out this extensive list of toxic ingredients compiled by the Gluten-Free Makeup Gal here.
Be Careful With Vitamin E
Unless the cosmetics brand specifically indicates where it derives its vitamin E from, tread carefully. Most cosmetics brands use vitamin E that comes from wheat germ, which must be avoided at all costs.
Would you like to learn more about gluten and other toxic ingredients, check out these must-read articles:
The Bottom Line
You must be vigilant with your health. Looking your best should never make you sick. Be sure that you buy makeup from a trusted gluten-free source. We guarantee that all of our makeup is 100% gluten-free. We aim for zero parts per million of gluten and test regularly and rigorously to ensure that our makeup is safe, non-toxic, and high quality. Get shopping now, know that you’ll never have a gluten allergic reaction to our products.