gluten ingredients

Emollients , Plant Extracts

Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in many types of grains, including wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten ingredients include several grains or grain-derived ingredients that are potentially problematic for those diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder known as Celiac disease. These people should not consume any source of gluten as their digestive system is unable to tolerate it, which leads to chronic damage.

When gluten-containing ingredients are used in cosmetic products meant for application to the lips, some amount of them will be ingested. Oral intake of gluten ingredients is not a problem for the majority of people, only those diagnosed with Celiac disease or suspected of having a gluten intolerance, medically known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). The difference between Celiac disease and NCGS is that the former has an autoimmune component that damages the lining of the small intestine, while the latter does not.

If you have Celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten, should you avoid cosmetics (skin care, makeup, hair care) that contain gluten ingredients? The general advice is no, as gluten ingredients applied topically cannot penetrate skin and affect the small intestine. However, applying gluten products to lips means some amount of ingestion occurs, so you should seek to avoid lip-care or lip color products with gluten ingredients. Parents of children with celiac disease may want to avoid applying leave-on skin-care products (such as body lotion) with gluten as there's a risk the child will get the product on their fingers, and kids have a tendency to put their fingers in their mouths, which would be the entry point for the gluten ingredient getting into the child's digestive system.

Some people with Celiac disease are also allergic to wheat ingredients, including when they're applied to skin (via skin care) vs. consumed as part of their diet. In such instances, avoidance of cosmetics with wheat or other gluten ingredients is advised.

According to a September, 2012 analysis published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, "individuals with celiac disease should not be concerned about products applied to the hair or skin, especially if the individual washes his or her hands after use. Individuals who are concerned about gluten in cosmetics that are applied to the lip or may be ingested should avoid products that contain “wheat,” “barley,” “malt,” “rye,” “oat,” “triticum vulgare,” “hordeum vulgare,” “secale cereale,” and “avena sativa”.

The following ingredients are a source of gluten. Those in bold text are more common in cosmetic products. *Technically oats are not a source of gluten, but can become cross-contaminated when processed in a facility that also handles wheat, rye, or other gluten-containing grains.

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

Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil

Wheat Amino Acids

Wheat Bran Extract

Wheat Germ Extract

Wheat Germ Glycerides

Wheat Germ Oil

Wheat Germamidopropyldimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein

Wheat Protein

Wheat (Triticum Vulgare) Bran Extract

Additional sources: and

See hydrolyzed wheat protein , wheat protein , barley extract , wheat amino acids , wheat germ glycerides , wheat germ oil

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you sort through the myths and half-truths of the cosmetic industry. With their expert advice, you’ll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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