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Should you purchase gluten free beauty products? We separate truth from fact.

The word “gluten” has become increasingly well known over the last few years as more and more people are diagnosed with gluten intolerances, allergies or celiac disease.

As a result, many people are also making the choice to go gluten-free as a part of a healthier lifestyle. But where does beauty fall into the gluten-free movement?

Many beauty products do have traces of gluten or gluten products in them. For a product to be gluten-free it must not contain any gluten derivatives, such as oat and wheat.

For food, the gluten-free label is quite clear, but the lines have become slightly blurred for beauty products.

Susanne Langmuir, Founder and CEO of the gluten-free beauty brand, BITE Beauty (makers of super-hydrating and pigmented gluten-free lipsticks), says people should avoid overly processed products, especially since “skin absorbs makeup and lipstick is licked from lips. For people with serious intolerances to gluten, this can be a very big health risk.” Since we allegedly eat four pounds of lipstick in our lifetime (debatable, but still good to be wary about lip-smacking post-application), people who have gluten intolerances have to be extra careful or—perish the thought—not wear lipstick.

Since many studies suggest that gluten allergies and intolerances can only be triggered through consumption, and not through products applied to the skin, certain skincare products labeled gluten-free may be misleading or unnecessary. However, since so many people are looking for gluten-free food and beauty products, many companies find it beneficial to go through the proper processes of being certified as a gluten-free brand.

The flip side of the gluten-free argument, says Langmuir, is that “for those without allergies, oat and wheat derivatives [in beauty products] are actually quite beneficial.” It’s no secret that oat and wheat have skin-soothing properties, but for people that have intolerances to either ingredient, it could become an irritant for them.

“It’s a matter of becoming familiar with products [and ingredients] you should avoid,” says Langmuir, not to mention, ensuring you know what you have an allergy or intolerance to.

The research is always changing and advancing, especially when it comes to hot topic issues such as going gluten-free, both with your diet and beauty regimen, but the best choice you can make is a personal one. If gluten-infused products (or any products, for that matter) cause irritation, it’s probably not for you. If your intolerance to a product is an actual allergy, then searching for gluten-free alternatives (whether it be face cream, lipstick or a piece of toast) is your next course of action. See a doctor for proper diagnosis.

Try BITE’s Beauty Lipsticks ($28 at Sephora).

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