Why does it matter?? Gluten or other allergens in hair and beauty products.

Why is it important to me or my family if our bath, hair, skincare or baby products contain gluten or other allergens??

Gluten-free, allergen-specific products are not necessarily for everyone, but they are vitally important to some people if they wish to lead a healthy and comfortable life.  Too often the people who truly need to avoid topical exposure to their allergens or to sources of gluten do not know what a difference this small change in daily routine can make in coping with dry, itching or troubled skin, Celiac disease, allergies or other illness.

Topical Gluten:  Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye – ingredients derived from these grains are commonly used skincare, bath, baby and hair care products; avoiding gluten in foods is challenging, however it is also very important to avoid using gluten containing products on the lips, skin or hair when any of the following conditions exist:

  • If the gluten containing product can reach the mouth directly or by a transfer from another source such as the hands, hair, kissing or bath water.
  • When the skin barrier is broken - larger particles than those that will normally move through skin, this includes gluten proteins, can be absorbed through damaged skin such as cracked, scraped, rashes, or shaven areas anywhere on the body.  
  • When using gluten containing products on the skin causes you uncomfortable symptoms.

For children the unintentional transfer of gluten to their mouth is a daily problem, as they put their hands in their mouth, lick their skin or chew on a strand of hair. Bath and hair products that run down the face and lips, or are rinsed off into tub water also pose a problem for children as they will suck on wash clothes, drink bath water or put tub toys in their mouths.


Adults may find it easier to control unintentional exposure from skin and hair care products that contain gluten, however there are many considerations and it is not always necessary to ingest gluten for the symptoms to occur.  A certain percentage of people with Celiac Disease or other forms of gluten intolerance cannot use any products containing gluten on their skin; this is true despite the conventional wisdom stating that gluten is only a problem when consumed.   

Topical Allergens:  If you have dry or problem skin it may be related to allergies; if you can’t eat a certain plant or ingredient, your skin may not tolerate those allergens either. 

When using lip or facial products, some will get in your mouth and is ingested unintentionally.  It is estimated that the average woman will swallow 9 pounds of lip products throughout her life.

Children often lick and suck on their fingers, hands, arms, hair, even their toes; this is a common source  of unintended exposure to allergens for babies, children and occasionally even adults.  Bath and hair products that run down the face and lips or are rinsed off into tub water also pose a problem for children - most parents have caught their child sucking on a wash cloth or drinking bath water.

People sensitive to topical gluten or an allergen may even be unaware that ingredients in products that they are using on their bodies are the cause of their itching, dryness, rash or other skin problems.  Over the years we’ve been surprised by the sheer volume of customer who tell us that they have resolved their skin or scalp issues by changing to gluten-free products or avoiding products that contain specific allergens. 

Our advice is to evaluate your skin and health; if you are doing well then this is most likely a non-issue for you.  If you experience symptoms despite a gluten free or allergy free diet, or if you have persistent skin or scalp problems, then a change to gluten free, allergen specific skincare products may make a big difference to you.