Because What I Really Need Is One More Thing to Worry About…
Guess what’s the last thing in the world I want to think about? Correct: Whether or not my beauty products, which I am already very picky about, are gluten-free.
But I’ve been performing a somewhat irresponsible (and unscientific) study on myself in the shower, and the results are in: Shampoo and conditioner that contains gluten totally gives me a rash. Well, sometimes.
This should not surprise me. I am allergic—not intolerant—to gluten,* and have been strictly avoiding that pesky protein for about 6 years now.** This is not a big deal! I avoid wheat-substitute foods for the most part, but I love what I get to eat, I cook a lot, I make it work. You would think that, knowing what I know about transdermal absorption, it might have occurred to me at some point that I should eliminate it from my beauty products too. But it did not.
Problem: It’s everywhere. Another problem: Whether or not I react to it is unpredictable, and probably has to do with particle size, concentration, and how aware I am of my own symptoms. Sometimes I’m totally in tune with these things; sometimes I treat my body like a garbage can and notice nothing. (Rare! But true story, I do it.) Now, some gluten-containing beauty products cause a reaction—specifically, an itchy-rashy back of neck, which drives me bonkers and makes me very self-conscious—and some do not. Complicating things is the fact that other ingredients also cause a neck rash to flare up: Stress, hair dye, SLS and SLES, you name it.
It’s one of those things where I’m inclined to say I don’t really know what to do about it—except I do. I need to eliminate all beauty products that contain the stuff and then pray to the rash gods that the itch stays at bay.
And so, dear readers, I turn to you: What gluten-free shampoo and conditioner do you love? And have you ever noticed a similar reaction to gluten—or some other ingredient in your naturals?
* Gluten, as most of you almost certainly know, is the protein in many grains, including wheat. Wheat is very commonly used in hair products, often in the form of hydrolyzed wheat protein.
** When I eat it by accident—an extremely rare event—terrible, terrible things happen. Not gross, but like, indescribable pain. And then a black cloud of death comes over me, mood-wise, as well.