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Gluten-Free Makeup Research

Does It Really Matter if Your Makeup Is Gluten-Free?

We're happy to present this story from our friends at Allure:

Whether or not you have celiac disease, if you've already cut gluten out of your diet, you may be wondering if you ought to clear your cosmetics bag of the stuff, too.

Since people with gluten sensitivities usually react badly to ingesting the protein (symptoms include cramps, constipation, diarrhea, anemia, bone pain, and migraines), whether it does anything nasty to the skin if applied topically isn't so clear-cut.

Dermatologists are currently trying to get a better idea of contact dermatitis caused by food allergens — essentially, what happens when you slather something all over your face that you're allergic to when you eat it. I chatted up Emma Guttman, director of the Laboratory of Inflammatory Skin Diseases in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai in NYC, who happens to be the principal investigator of a new study on the topic, to find out more. Her research looks at all different types of food allergies (soy, peanuts, milk), including gluten. Get more details from Guttman's research when you continue reading.


"We just started the study, but we've had several patients who had skin rashes when they applied a product with gluten in it," says Guttman. "When we took a biopsy of the skin, we saw the same type of inflammation that you see in the gut, which causes redness." While it's still too early to make any definite conclusions, she imagines that variations likely exist depending on how bad your allergy is — if you have full-blown celiac disease, you're probably more likely to show an allergic reaction on the skin than if you have a mild intolerance.

So, until we know more, don't go overboard and dump out all your gluten-y beauty products. But if you are sensitive to gluten, keep an eye on your skin when using such products and take note of any redness or irritation.

Want to get more involved? If you have a food allergy or a known allergy to an ingredient that causes a rash, Guttman and her teams at Mount Sinai and Rockefeller University are looking for participants for a clinical study. For more information, click here.

More from Allure:

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