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Do Celiacs Need Gluten-Free Lipstick, Cosmetics and Other Personal Products?


Updated March 11, 2009

Question: Do Celiacs Need Gluten-Free Lipstick, Cosmetics and Other Personal Products?
Answer: Celiac disease is triggered by eating gluten, not by having it touch your skin, so gluten-free cosmetics and skin-care products aren't necessary unless the product is going to enter your digestive tract. Gluten in lipstick is an obvious problem, of course.

You should avoid the following types of products if they contain gluten, because some might accidentally get into your mouth and be swallowed:

  • Dental products such as mouthwash and toothpaste

  • Lipsticks and lip balms

  • Shampoos and soaps to be used by small children (if your child puts her hair in her mouth, or likes to play in the bath, you should use gluten-free soaps and shampoos)
  • In all cases, if you don’t know whether a product contains gluten, check the ingredient list, visit the website, or call the manufacturer.

    The same is true for people with dermatitis herpetiformis. This painful skin disorder, which causes an itchy, blistering rash, results from eating gluten, not from skin contact with gluten.

    If you develop a skin reaction to a cosmetic or skin-care product that contains gluten, you may be having an allergic reaction to one or more of the ingredients. Your doctor or a dermatologist can help you identify the offending ingredient(s).


    Children’s Hospital Boston

    Mayo Clinic

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