Gluten-free skincare

Gluten in Skincare Products: Is There a Reason for Concern?

Bread and Gluten

What is Gluten? What Contains Gluten?

Gluten is the general name used for proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale (which is a cross between wheat and rye). Because Gluten helps food to maintain its shape, it is found in many types of food. Even ones that we may not expect! 

Oats do not contain gluten per se, but cross-contact may occur when oats are grown alongside wheat, barley or rye1. Furthermore, Oats have a protein called Avenin that is similar to Gluten and some people with celiac disease have an immune response to Avenin as well as to Gluten1

Oats also contain other substances that may cause an allergic reaction for some people (with or without celiac disease).

Non-food substances may also contain gluten; these include items such such as vitamins, toothpaste and even the adhesive found in some envelopes and stamps.

Who Needs to Avoid Gluten in their Diet?

An estimated 1 in 100 people worldwide are affected by Celiac Disease2: an autoimmune disease where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestines.


Celiac disease can be hereditary and can develop at any age after people start consuming gluten. 

Left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications.

If you suspect you have celiac disease, it is important that you seek the advice of a medical professional. 

If you are eliminating Gluten from your Diet, do you also need to eliminate it from Your Skincare?

Gluten in skincare products, when applied topically, cannot enter your bloodstream through your skin. 

This is because gluten particles are simply too big! 

For a substance to penetrate your skin, it needs to be less than 500 daltons in size3. And Gliadin (the grain protein in gluten that triggers the autoimmune response) is approximately 631 daltons in size3.

However, anything you put on your skin could potentially be ingested by accident. 

Furthermore, any gluten-containing products that others put on their face or body could also accidentally be transmitted through bodily contact, such as kissing.

So, whilst the Science indicates that Gluten will not be absorbed through the skin to cause reactions characteristic of celiac disease, there is the possibility that skin and hair care products may inadvertently find their way into your mouth!

Think the Science on This is Wrong?

If you’re breaking out and suspect that gluten in your skincare product is to blame, the culprit might not actually be gluten.

Some people have an accompanying allergy to another ingredient in the skincare product. For example, they might be allergic to other parts of wheat, and not the gluten4

It is also possible to have an allergy to another grain that could cause a skin reaction, and this might not be due to celiac disease4

Autoimmune conditions such as eczema and psoriasis may also cause the skin to react, as can contact dermatitis which can be a common skin reaction to many allergies.4 

If you use a skin care product that contains gluten and develop a skin reaction, it is best to see your doctor and/or dermatologist to identify the cause. 

Are Melvory Skincare Products Gluten Free?

The only two products in the Melvory Skincare range that contain Oats are:

Oatmeal Wash; and 

the Calendula Milk Bath

(See above for reasons as to why Oats might be an issue for people who are avoiding gluten). 

All other products in the Melvory skincare range do not contain gluten. 

Whether or not you need to completely omit gluten from your skincare products will depend on the severity of your celiac condition, the advice of your doctor, and if you have any allergies to any of the gluten containing ingredients. 

When in doubt, it’s always best to do a patch test first.

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