I recently went gluten-free for digestive reasons. I’ve shared at length on my personal blog about my journey into the gluten-free lifestyle and the few hiccups along the way. I’m doing a lot better, but the more I read, the more amazed I am at the amount of issues gluten can cause. It isn’t only the digestive track that can be affected.
Gluten intolerance is also related to arthritis, joint pain, depression, as well as a skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH for short.)
Dermatitis Herpetiformis is characterized by clusters of blistering itchy red bumps. Sounds like fun, huh? It’s a reaction to gluten antibodies in your system, and the only way to rid yourself of DH is through a gluten-free diet.
Sometimes it’s hard to diagnose DH because there are usually no digestive issues present, so unfortunately, it is often misdiagnosed. I read a story online of a gentleman who suffered for 18 years before he was diagnosed with DH, eliminated gluten from his diet, and finally healed.
If you have an itchy, blistering skin rash with blisters as described in the article cited above, and you suspect DH, definitely see your doctor, pronto.
Speaking of gluten…
If you do suspect a gluten intolerance, or if you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease, it is a good idea to avoid gluten in your skincare products as well as your food.
I’ve been slowly ridding my house of glutenous products. Often shampoos contain wheat protein. Lipstick and lip balms may contain wheat germ oil, wheat-derived vitamin E oil, or another gluten derivatives. (Wheat germ is used to bind liquids and prevent powders from caking, and most vitamin E extracts in beauty products come from wheat.) You even need to check your toothpaste!
The top four ingredients to watch out for in your skincare products are: Tocopherols (vitamin E), Triticum vulgare (wheat), Hordeum vulgare (barley), and Avena sativa (oats).