Gluten in Cosmetic Ingredients

Gluten in cosmetic ingredients
Gluten in cosmetic ingredients
How can you tell if gluten is in cosmetic ingredients?

In a world where ingredient labels are getting longer and longer and even harder to pronounce, how are we supposed to know if a personal care product contains gluten? How can we tell if gluten is in cosmetic ingredients?

Cosmetic Ingredients that MAY contain gluten

When you’re looking at personal care products in general, these are the ingredients you want to be wary of:

  • Triticum Vulgare extract- (the scientific name for the wheat plant- often used as an oil)
  • Hordeum vulgare extract- (the scientific name for the barley plan- again often used as an oil)
  • Wheat Starch
  • Wheat Gluten
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Vitamin E or other forms of it like Tocopheral or Tocopheral Acetate- (might have wheat germ as its source)
  • Oats (unless they state they are gluten free)
  • Beta-glucans (they are sugars found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi and plants, often found in barley and oats)
But I thought gluten couldn’t be absorbed through the skin…

It CAN’T! So why is this necessary you ask? We need to think of the way we use personal care products in our lives. The major concerns are in application and cross contact. We use our hands to administer the bulk of these products.

Do I really need to get ONLY gluten free personal care products?

My general rule of thumb for determining the need for gluten-free personal products is age and likelihood of mouth exposure. So, for younger children who are more likely to put things in their mouth or keep their mouth open while playing in the bathtub- yes, by all means splurge for all gluten-free personal care products.

For adults, I’d say think about your daily habits and risk factors. Lip Balm or anything applied directly on your mouth- yes. Shampoo- Eh, depends how careful you are in the shower. Hand sanitizer or lotion- well, think of it this way- After application, won’t you be eating at some point after? Your hands with that lotion or hand sanitizer applied will be handling that food. So, I’d say yes, you probably want to make sure that product is gluten-free.


For information about particular gluten free personal care products- read some of my other posts on this topic here.


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