If you follow a gluten-free diet, chances are you’re well aware of which foods contain gluten. But you may not have realized that many personal care products and cosmetics also contain gluten.
Does it really matter if your shampoo and conditioner have gluten in them? What are the benefits of going totally gluten-free? Read on to find out the scoop on gluten in your hygiene products.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein typically found in wheat products, bread, cereals (including less common cereals like barley and rye), and pasta. Some other foods like processed meats and cheeses can also contain gluten. It can also be found in some personal care products.
Gluten is a structural protein that holds particles together in grains and other food products. This is why some doughs and breads have fluffy, airy textures. The trouble comes when gluten causes health problems and discomfort.
Reasons to Go Gluten-Free
There are many reasons people choose to go gluten-free. Some people’s digestive systems can’t tolerate any form of gluten, while other people want to avoid inflammation and skin problems.
Some reasons people avoid gluten include:
- Celiac disease
- Wheat allergies
- Sensitive digestive systems
- Skin conditions
- Autoimmune disorders
- General health
It’s clear that eliminating gluten from the diet is a popular choice. But what about cosmetics and body care products? There may be benefits to ditching gluten in these products as well.
Gluten and Your Health
Celiac disease is one of the most well-known health conditions related to gluten. People with Celiac disease cannot properly digest gluten, and when they consume wheat products and ingredients, they suffer from an autoimmune response.
Celiac disease causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, poor nutrient absorption, and can cause nervous system issues and a variety of other symptoms that are unique to each individual. These symptoms aren’t only unpleasant — they can cause long-term health problems without proper management. Most people with Celiac disease have to avoid all foods containing gluten, without exception.
But what about people who don’t have Celiac disease? There are mixed opinions on how gluten affects everyone else. Some anecdotal evidence points to gluten causing mental and physical distress even if you don’t have Celiac disease. Still, gluten is the subject of some controversy.
Gluten-Free: Is It for Everyone?
There is no sufficient evidence to claim that gluten products are bad for everyone’s health. Some people have reported a reduction in inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, and digestive problems after eliminating gluten from their diets. Because of these reports, many health-conscious people have adopted a gluten-free diet.
Some autoimmune diseases respond well to a gluten-free diet. Conditions that cause a lot of inflammation and digestive symptoms seem to calm down without gluten consumption. This stands to reason, especially for Celiac disease, which is an autoimmune condition.
In general, going gluten-free is not a magical cure for all health problems. However, avoiding wheat products can be healthy for other reasons.
The Health Benefits of Giving Up Wheat
Many wheat products have low nutritional value.
For example, processed grains in pasta, cereal, and bread are mostly made up of carbohydrates. Unless they are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, they don’t have much nutritional value. Your body processes these sugars quickly, which can leave you unsatisfied or even hungrier after a meal.
Carbohydrates hold on to the water in your body, which explains why the number on the scale goes up by a few pounds after a day of eating junk food. Your body retains water and eventually flushes it out when you return to a healthy diet. When you cut out wheat, you reduce your carbohydrate intake and lose water weight.
If you struggle with inflammation, eliminating wheat and gluten from your diet could help. Processed sugars like those in some wheat products lead to inflammation and discomfort. Your health will improve overall without this inflammation in your body.
Some people notice better cognitive function after they give up wheat and gluten. The brain-gut connection may play a big role in this. When your stomach bacteria are thrown off balance, it can affect your mental health. Avoiding refined carbohydrates and wheat-packed food products could boost your mood and performance throughout the day.
Gluten in Body Care Products
Gluten is used in personal care products to bind ingredients together and thicken their consistency. Some personal care products that can contain gluten include:
- Body wash
Because topical products are applied to the outside of the body and not ingested, they’re likely not considered as being problematic. Consequently, people on gluten-free diets may not realize, or care, that their makeup and other toiletries contain gluten.
People with conditions like Celiac disease must avoid all foods with gluten, but may not avoid gluten-laden personal care products because they’ll never enter the digestive system.
The effects of gluten on the skin are still being researched, and so for some, the debate about the benefits of using gluten-free body products continues.
Some people with wheat allergies notice skin reactions when they use products with gluten. This is because their immune systems recognize the wheat proteins and set off alarm bells.
Autoimmune reactions range from mild rashes to rough, dry patches of skin. Such reactions drive many people with wheat allergies to avoid gluten in body care products altogether.
Your skin’s response to wheat ingredients depends on the severity of your allergy. Like any allergy, reactions can be debilitating or barely noticeable. You may not know what is causing your skin irritation and dryness if you are new to skincare and cosmetics.
Most people with wheat allergies experience both digestive and skin symptoms after exposure. Nausea, bloating, and abdominal cramping are indicators that you ate something your body doesn’t agree with.
In severe cases of wheat allergies, anaphylaxis can occur. Anaphylaxis shuts down your airway and can be fatal if left untreated. This is common with severe food allergies.
If you’re aware of your wheat allergy and it usually causes severe reactions, it’s best to avoid all wheat products. In addition to food, you should avoid wheat-containing products for the skin, body, hair, and nails. It’s better to be safe when it comes to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.
Certain skin conditions can flare up with the use of topical products that contain gluten. Duhring’s disease, sometimes called “the Celiac rash,” causes itching, blisters, and rashes when the skin is exposed to gluten.
Eczema can also flare up because of gluten-containing topical products. This skin condition causes extreme dryness and itchiness. Some people with eczema avoid hair products with gluten to save their scalps as well.
Psoriasis is known for causing scaly red skin and dry patches. Gluten is a possible trigger for people living with psoriasis, even in topical products.
In general, gluten can cause hives and rashes in some people with sensitive skin or skin disorders. For this reason, you may choose to eliminate gluten from all of your body care products.
It’s not harmful to avoid gluten in your topical body care products, but what does science have to say about it?
What the Research Says
Scientific studies on the effects of gluten in personal care products are limited. Most studies show no evidence that gluten causes problems when applied to your skin. However, many people claim that gluten-free cosmetics and other products have prevented harsh reactions.
It’s easy to accidentally ingest products like lipstick since they’re so close to your mouth. This could be the reason for some people’s reactions to gluten in cosmetics. Mucous membranes also absorb gluten, so using these products around your nose may also cause a reaction.
While there is no hard scientific evidence that you should stop using topical products with gluten, it’s better to play it safe. If you already suffer from skin sensitivities and discomfort, there’s no harm in ditching the gluten products once and for all.
Common Gluten Ingredients in Cosmetics
When you go gluten-free, it’s essential to read all product labels. There are lots of hidden ingredients that come from wheat proteins, and learning to recognize them will make your gluten-free journey easier.
Some ingredients to avoid in body care products include:
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- AMP-isostearoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Wheat germ glyceride
- Triticum lipids
- Triticum vulgare
- Hordeum vulgare extract
- Wheat bran extract
- Malt extract
- Barley extract
- Avena sativa extract
- Sodium lauroyl oat amino acid
- Anything with “rye” in the name
- Anything with “secale cereale” in the name
- Anything with “wheat” in the name
This list might seem intimidating, but shopping for gluten-free products isn’t as difficult as you might think. If you choose clean beauty brands, you can easily find gluten-free cosmetics and body care products.
At Kavella, we formulate every product without irritants, harsh chemicals, or gluten. You never have to worry about our hair or body care products causing gluten-related reactions. Our goal is to provide clean, vegan, cruelty-free beauty to people with unique health and skincare needs.Alternative Ingredients
There are valid reasons that companies include gluten-derived ingredients in their products. They can be beneficial to people without gluten sensitivity, but there are alternatives you can use to achieve the same results.
For example, oat-based ingredients can be soothing to your skin if you don’t have allergies or sensitivity. Instead of using products with oat ingredients, opt for aloe-based products instead. The aloe will soothe your skin without causing irritation and inflammation.
Wheat germ oil strengthens your hair by sealing the cuticle and fixing split ends. Good alternatives include sunflower oil, safflower oil, and grapeseed oil. They contain ceramides, the same compound in wheat germ oil.
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is very common in hair and body care products. It helps your skin and hair lock in moisture and stay soft. Instead, use products with alternatives such as hydrolyzed baobab, jojoba, quinoa or rice proteins. They can serve the same purpose of strengthening hair, and can even help volumize your hair.
Gluten-Free Hair Products
Your scalp and hair health will thrive when you use gluten-free hair products. If you’re looking for clean, hydrating, vegan hair products, Kavella has something for you. All of our shampoos and conditioners are gluten-free and contain no harsh chemicals.
We also offer refill containers so you can reuse your original packaging and stay eco-friendly.
Gluten-Free Shampoo for Fine Hair
If you have thin, fine hair, you know how hard it can be to find products that volumize your locks without causing damage. Product buildup can become an issue with many volumizing shampoos. However, Kavella Volumizing Shampoo is lightweight and leaves your hair full of body.
This gluten-free shampoo for fine hair contains rice protein instead of wheat protein, which makes it safe for people who want to avoid gluten in their hair products. Kavella Volumizing Shampoo also contains aloe, a soothing plant extract that heals your scalp.
The pH of your scalp is important to prevent dryness and brittle hair, and our volumizing shampoo is pH-balanced to create ideal conditions for hair growth and volume. The tapioca starch in this shampoo absorbs any oil on your scalp to promote hair volume.
Silicone ingredients often lead to product buildup and weighed-down hair. Instead of synthetic silicone, Kavella Volumizing Shampoo contains bamboo extract for shine and a smooth texture. Combined with vitamin B5, the bamboo extract strengthens your hair and makes it radiant.
All Hair Types
Kavella Healing Tea Shampoo is a good shampoo choice for any hair type. You can get this soothing shampoo in hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and aloe-free formulas to avoid allergens. Organic chamomile and green tea provide antioxidants that heal and repair your scalp.
Kavella Healing Tea Shampoo contains hydrolyzed quinoa protein instead of wheat protein. This is a good gluten-free shampoo for people with damaged, dry, irritated scalps and all hair types. The formula is gentle and all-natural.
Dry and Damaged Hair
If your hair and scalp have sustained a lot of damage, you probably suffer from dry patches. For severe dryness and damage, Kavella Moisturizing Shampoo is the best choice. This shampoo contains hydrolyzed jojoba protein and organic aloe vera for healing, soothing, and intense hydration.
Hair dyes, hot styling tools, and bleach can all strip your hair and scalp of essential moisture. You can reverse the damage and restore soft, shiny locks with Kavella Moisturizing Shampoo.
This shampoo is refillable with the available gallon sizes for professional use.
Intense Hair Recovery
Kavella Recovery Lotion is a leave-in treatment for damaged hair. The formula contains bond strengtheners to promote strong strands and treat split ends. If your hair needs intense recovery, this is an essential gluten-free hair product for you.
Our Recovery Lotion is full of healthy ceramides from sunflower oil, safflower oil, and grapeseed oil. Ceramides strengthen your hair shaft by sealing the cuticle, creating healthy, shiny strands. You will notice improved hair elasticity after using Kavella Recovery Lotion.
This product functions as an intense repair hair mask with soothing aloe vera and strengthening vitamin B5. It’s lightweight enough to stay in your hair like a leave-in conditioner, or you can rinse it out if you wish.
Gluten-Free 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash
All hair types and skin textures will glow with health and radiance after using Kavella Balanced Shampoo and Body Wash. This 2-in-1 gluten-free hair and body product contains a gentle formula that’s safe for your skin, scalp, and hair.
If you need a versatile product that moisturizes, soothes, and reinforces your hair and body with powerful nutrients, you’re in luck with this one.
Kavella Balanced Shampoo and Body Wash is useful for traveling, camping, or other adventures when you need a quick and easy way to get clean. This product gives you the best of both worlds with gentle body cleansing and hair strengthening. Balance your skin and scalp with this pH-balanced gluten-free hair and body product.
The Scoop on Gluten
Now that you know your options for gluten-free hair products from Kavella, you can make an informed decision for yourself. Going gluten-free is a personal choice that requires consideration and individual research. When you purchase from Kavella, you can rest assured that our products are gluten-free, regardless of your choice.
We believe in ethical, clean beauty products without harsh chemicals and harmful irritants. The cosmetic industry is full of questionable ingredients, and we ensure that your health is our top priority. Our goal is to make the search for ethical beauty products easy with our high-quality products.
Overall, more research needs to be done about how gluten affects our bodies. What we can be sure of, however, is that there are plenty of healthy, effective alternatives to gluten ingredients in personal care products. You can still get moisture, shine, hydration, and volume in your hair with gluten-free shampoos, conditioners, and hair treatments.
It doesn’t hurt to test out our stellar gluten-free hair care products to see how your hair and scalp respond. Going gluten-free doesn’t have to be complicated and exhausting. If you’re thinking about making the switch to gluten-free personal care products and cosmetics, start with Kavella’s clean beauty collections.
Everyone deserves healthy, flowing, radiant locks that make them feel confident and gorgeous. Whether you go completely gluten-free or just want to try some clean beauty products, we hope you feel as beautiful as you look.