What are the Advantages of a Gluten-Free Face Wash?

If you’ve been tuning in to the recent debates about gluten-free products, you might be wondering if swapping out your old face wash for a gluten-free alternative might be beneficial for your skin. While experts generally agree that gluten molecules are too large to be absorbed by the skin, dermatologists do know that for those with wheat allergies, gluten-free skincare products can be helpful alternatives. And even if you’re not allergic to wheat, there may be some hidden benefits to choosing a gluten-free face wash as well. So without further ado, here’s what you need to know about the advantages of a gluten-free face wash and other products. (Mayo Clinic)

Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Intolerance vs. Wheat Allergy

Adopting a gluten-free diet seems to be all the rage right now, but what’s really behind this rapidly growing dietary trend, and could it affect your skincare products as well? To really get to the bottom of this, it’s key to first understand all the terms and their differences. The main players in our gluten equation are: 1. Celiac Disease: A growing number of cases of celiac disease is what initially sparked the gluten-free diet craze. Although only about 1 percent of the U.S. population actually has celiac disease, it can cause some severe health problems for those with the disease. This, however, only affects what celiacs eat, as gluten isn’t absorbed through the skin. It is recommended, though, that celiacs stay away from any gluten skin products that may come in contact with their lips, because an accidental ingestion could cause negative side effects. That’s why gluten-free lip products like the P.R.E.P. lip gloss can be better choices for celiacs. (UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases) 2. Gluten Intolerance: The key difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance is that the symptoms of gluten intolerance will go away as soon as the person stops eating gluten. For celiacs, however, irreversible damage can be done to their digestive system if they eat gluten. The difference here is that celiac disease is actually an autoimmune disorder, whereas gluten intolerance is not (UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases). So although the body isn’t affected quite as severely by gluten intolerance as it is by celiac disease, people with either condition should consider switching to gluten-free cosmetics to avoid the risk of accidental ingestion. 3. Wheat Allergy: In the case of a wheat allergy, this is where things like a gluten-free face wash can be most beneficial. Even though the gluten isn’t being absorbed into the skin, some people can experience an allergic reaction just from topically applying wheat products. And even trickier still, wheat allergies are even more common than celiac disease or gluten intolerance, so the advantages of gluten-free skincare products really are far-reaching. If you have a wheat allergy, you’ll want to check the labels on your skincare products for things like wheat, barley, and rye. (The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology)  

Healthy By Association?

So what about those who don’t have celiac disease, aren’t gluten intolerant, and don’t have a wheat allergy? What are the advantages of a gluten-free face wash in that case? As it turns out, the answer might lie in the other ingredients that may be more typically found in gluten-free skincare products than in their non-gluten-free counterparts. Of course, it’s still important to check the ingredients when you’re shopping for the perfect face wash, but more often than not, products that are gluten-free also tend to rely on gentler ingredients rather than harsh chemicals. One of the most common chemicals found in many face washes is sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a known skin irritant. So when shopping for a gentle face wash, many products that are committed to being gluten-free are also committed to nixing other potentially harmful ingredients. If you take a look at the P.R.E.P. purifying daily cleanser, you’ll see that not only is it gluten-free, but it also doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate, alcohol, or parabens--all ingredients than can cause irritation. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The Bottom Line

Whether you have a known wheat allergy or other gluten sensitivity, or if you simply want to use only the gentlest ingredients on your skin, there can be many advantages of choosing a gluten-free face wash. Because your face wash is something you use daily and maybe even twice a day, it’s extra important that it doesn’t contain harsh chemical ingredients. If you’ve been noticing a rash or other skin irritation after you use your face wash, double-checking its ingredients for gluten products or other possible allergens can be a good first step. To avoid allergic reactions altogether, looking for a gluten-free, hypoallergenic face wash may be your best bet.   Stay healthy,