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Could your beauty products trigger a gluten allergy?

28/03/2018 by Hannah

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gluten free skin care and cosmetics

Are you coeliac or gluten intolerant? According to Coeliac UK, coeliac disease may affect 1 in 100 people in the UK and it is thought that as many as 500,000 people are living with the condition undiagnosed[i].

If gluten irritates you, you may have already taken steps to remove it from your diet but, what about your moisturiser and shampoo? Here we explore the health risks associated with gluten-based beauty and how you can prevent gluten from getting under your skin.

WHY IS GLUTEN ADDED TO BEAUTY PRODUCTS?

Cosmetic companies commonly add gluten to their formulas in the form of Hydrolysed Wheat Protein (HWP). This is because HWP has smaller particles than untreated gluten and is easier to incorporate into water-based formulations.

CAN ADDING GLUTEN TO BEAUTY PRODUCTS BE A HEALTH RISK?

HWP is still too large a molecule to be absorbed through the skin and, as we don’t tend to ingest beauty products, the risk of products containing HWP posing a health risk to coeliacs is thought to be minimal. This being said, there have been incidences of people experiencing allergic reactions to the ingredient with even those without a known gluten allergy developing severe reactions to the ingredient, such as urticaria and anaphylaxia[ii] .

With concerns about the safety of the ingredient growing, Green People does not add gluten or HWP to any of its organic beauty products and instead, uses gluten-free superfood Quinoa protein.

HOW CAN I TELL IF THERE IS GLUTEN IN MY PERSONAL CARE PRODUCT?

Unsure If your skin care contains gluten? Take care to read the label thoroughly as many commonly used skin care ingredients can be a source of gluten. To be sure your product is gluten-free, check the label for the following sources of gluten.

  • Amp-Isostearoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Avena Sativa
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Flour
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Protein
  • Barley-derived Ingredients
  • Disodium Wheatgermamido PEG-2 Sulfosuccinate
  • Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch
  • Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Oat (Avena Sativa) Extract
  • Oat Beta-Glucan
  • Oat Flour
  • Phytosphingosine Extract
  • Rye and rye-based ingredients
  • Rye Flour
  • Samino Peptide Complex
  • Secale Cereale (Rye) Extract
  • Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Extract
  • Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Flour
  • Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids
  • Stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Lipids
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract
  • Wheat Amino Acids
  • Wheat Bran Extract
  • Wheat Germ Extract
  • Wheat Germ Glycerides
  • Wheat Germamidopropyldimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Wheat Protein
  • Wheat (Triticum Vulgare) Bran Extract

SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT CROSS-CONTAMINATION?

If you’ve opted to use an oat-based product you might think that you’ve swerved a source of gluten. Whilst it is true that oats are not a source of gluten, they can become cross-contaminated if they are processed in a facility that also handles gluten-containing grains such as wheat or rye. For this reason, if you are sensitive to gluten, you should take care when using oat based products and always conduct a patch test before applying products to the skin.

CAN I USE GLUTEN-FREE BEAUTY?

Worried about the health risk associated with gluten? So that you can be sure you’re not applying gluten or HWP to your skin Green People does not use HWP or any other gluten-containing ingredient. Only 100% natural Quinoa protein makes it into our formulas and, because your safety is paramount to us, we only use complete Quinoa protein which has been grown and harvested specifically for cosmetic purposes.

Read about the benefits of Quinoa protein for hair and skin here


Do you only use gluten-free beauty products? Let us know at @GreenPeopleUK or in the comments section below.


[i] https://www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/myths-about-coeliac-disease/

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16689814

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