Gluten Sensitive? How does it affect the skin?

We have all seen gluten-free foods on store shelves and on menus at many of our favorite restaurants.  Celiac Disease affects about 1 in 133 Americans in our country, so it's not surprising that consumers need to know what is in the foods we eat, as well as, the products we use on our body.


Many people have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine. There are many symptoms of Celiac Disease, but many people with this disease develop a skin rash when they ingest the gluten protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. 

Keratosis Pilaris (aka: chicken skin) and Dermatitis Herpetiformis are two skin conditions with direct connections to gluten exposure. Both of these are extremely itchy skin rashes that appear on your arms, torso, face, buttocks, elbows, scalp and hairline. Some appear as cystic acne and can scar terribly.

Keratosis pilaris

Keratois Pilaris

Keratois Pilaris

Those that do not have the disease but are gluten sensitive can also have similar symptoms, but those with the disease can have permanent devastating results from exposure.


What do you do if you develop one of these rashes? Call your doctor and/or Dermatologist. Get tested for Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, and dairy allergies. Notate what you ate and/or applied to your skin/hair in the last 24 hours.  It is smart to review what you are currently using in terms of skin care, makeup, shampoos, etc. Check for gluten and/or dairy in the formulas. 


How to care for your skin once a rash appears:

  1. Use a dry skin brush if pustules appear on the body! Dry skin brushing (on body only) can help the hair follicles from becoming clogged. There are many other benefits, such as, increasing circulation, stimulating lymphatic drainage and improving the overall health of the skin.  If skin is raw and very irritated, then wait until this passes to start dry brushing.
  2. Use a mild gluten-free cleanser like Wild Honey pH Cleanser.  This cleanser features apple cider vinegar which helps improve the pH of the skin, likely reducing itchy scaly skin conditions.  Nutrient dense (Wild) Honey is high in antioxidants, has antiseptic properties and acts as a natural humectant which draws moisture to skin. 
    1. AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) cleansers like AHA Exfoliating Mint Cleanser will help “unplug” the skin and improve the condition and look of skin.  It is best not to use AHA's on broken or very raw skin, so wait until skin has healed first.
  3. Treat skin with antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory and calming. Phyto-C Infusion Spry offers an antioxidant, hydrating, skin-soothing infusion of witch-hazel, Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and aloe.  Mist liberally after cleansing and after applying makeup.  It will help set your makeup.
  4. Finish with a gentle skin-protecting moisturizer like UltraPure Beta-Fructan Essential Moisture. This moisturizer features Beta-Fructan which helps improve the immunity of the skin and provides a non-occlusive barrier to create an ideal healing situation.
  5. Use makeup products that are gluten-free, reduces irritation, and offers chemical free sun-protection.  A good choice would be a loose mineral foundation like Flawless Finish Foundation.  It features only 5 ingredients, calms the skin with zinc oxide which also provides substantial sun-protection. 


UltraPure Cosmetics makes no claims to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any diseases with any advice, information or products. It is for educational purposes only.