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.
Speaking of high fructose corn syrup—oh, excuse me, I mean “corn sugar”—we have our suspicions about what it might do to skin. Is there proof? No. But dermatologists love to say that food has nothing to do with your complexion as they hand you a prescription for industrial-strength benzoyl peroxide.
Don’t get us wrong—we love our french fries as much as the beauties in this pic, and we don’t think they’re to blame for our breakouts. But with all the weird chemicals pumped in food (and you know, all the nutrients stripped out), we know people are having reactions left, right and smack in the center of their faces. Some friends we know break out from wheat, others from dairy or nuts, some from sugar…
So have you noticed any correlation between what you eat and how your skin looks?
Image of hot and hungry gals via