Don’t even talk to me about cosmetics! Just when I finally felt I’d mastered the intricacies of hidden glutens…purged the kitchen of all things wheat and gluten…just when I’d achieved a fair level of confidence converting regular recipes to gluten free, I happened to look at the ingredients in my lip gloss.
“Oh brother!” There it was. Wheat germ oil. “I never dreamed I’d have to check cosmetics!”
I had spent months putting out heroic effort to convert the kitchen, my diet, family recipes into safe foods. “There’s more?” When will this conversion be done? The pervasiveness of wheat in our lives is simply unbelievable!” I railed, running down the hallway to our bathroom medicine cabinet. There ensued a morning of ripping one bottle after another off the shelves, out of the shower stall cubby…reading ingredient lists. “Wheat germ oil is in everything,” I mused as I dropped yet another bottle in the almost full, black plastic trash can. “I need a bigger trash can! This is crazy!” Shampoos, conditioner, bar soap, bath gel, shaving cream, lip sticks, toothpaste, deodorant, body lotion, self tanning lotion, toner, face powder, liquid make-up, mascara, eye shadow. “How harmful can a bit of absorption through the skin be?” I wondered. “Clearly, mouth items are dangerous: toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. But skin products? I better not chance it. I have come too far to muck up my recovery now.”
Of course, after the product purge, came the necessary trip to the store to replace my toiletries. Thirteen years ago, gluten was not the buzz word it is now. Consequently, I spent three hours in the nearest Whole Foods (a 45 minute drive from my house) reading cosmetic labels and scouring the shelves for safe products without successfully replacing all I needed. “Now what I am supposed to do?” I wondered about the irreplaceable items.
Luckily, in the coursework for my Master’s Degree in Natural Healing, I had to take a class on natural cosmetics. I had a textbook on how to make all kinds of skin care products from common household ingredients. After the Whole Foods cosmetics shopping disaster, I went home and started creating my own lotions, lip glosses, toners, etc. The problem with homemade lotions and skin care products, I soon found out, was not the effectiveness and luxuriousness of the products on the skin, but the spoilage. Most of the products only kept a maximum of two weeks and putting them in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life sometimes changed the consistency of the product or made the product ingredients separate. At the time, there were no gluten free products on the market for some skin care items, so… I was working hard every two weeks turning my kitchen into a cosmetic laboratory. Even though there are lots of companies making gluten free skin care products now, I still make my lip gloss…simply because I like it better than anything on the market. Plus, it is so easy to make. I have included the recipe at the end of today’s blog.
Today, with readily available online research, I found that the current AMA physician opinion on the safety of gluten in skin absorbed products is that it is most likely, safe. Their logic is that gluten intolerance involves the digestive tract, so anything absorbed through the skin, bypassing the digestion, should be okay.
However, I still do not buy any product containing gluten that either goes into or touches my body. I figure with my ultra sensitive system this practice is just safer for me. I may be overly careful, but until the gluten skin rash and its relationship to the blood stream and a possible adverse immune system reaction is addressed in more detail, I am going to continue to use only gluten free products. I do not want to be a casualty of further research. Until more in depth research is completed, I will be using gluten free skin care products.
Kitchen Kosmetic’s Lip Gloss
1 part beeswax
1 part olive oil
1-3 drops of GF vanilla extract or GF flavoring of choice
I melt the beeswax in a non stick pan. Turn off the heat. Add the olive oil and flavoring. (I do not heat the olive oil with the beeswax, because heated olive oil loses some of its healing properties. If heated to too high a temperature, the oil can be a bit toxic to your system, as I understand.)
Then I quickly pour the mixture carefully into lip gloss tubes. Although you can buy empty, new lip gloss tubes online in bulk, I just buy regular lip gloss at the store, scrape out the product, sterilize the empty container in boiling water, and then refill with my simple concoction. I only need a few containers, so doing it this way is easier for me than ordering bulk items online.
As the mixture cools in the tube, sometimes it settles, and I have to top it off a bit before putting on the lid.
Voila! A creamy lip gloss.
This mixture seems to keep much longer than two weeks. I have kept it up to two months. If it ever starts to smell like rancid oil, it has spoiled. Empty your tubes and make a fresh batch.
I am struggling with the same thing but with corn. Your blog is teaching me where it can be hidden.
I am so glad this blog is helping you. I am trying to get info out there that I learned by trial and error to save other people from going through adverse reactions.
Hi Jane –
The magazine Living Without just did an article recently that said makeup did NOT affect folks with celiac. I just went looking for the issue, and currently can’t find it. But I did find this article from the Mayo Clinic…basically, it may not be the gluten that’s causing the problem. For instance, I have a photosensitivity to fragrance: if I wear certain lotions or cosmetics out in the sun for more than 5 minutes, I develop a horrible rash. It has nothing to do with the gluten – it’s the additives they use as a binder for the stuff to make it smell good (or “not bad” in some cases!)
Sorry it took me so long to reply. Life got in the way.
Thank you for taking the time and trouble to cite this study. I only alluded to it in my Cosmetic’s entry.
Because I have been gravely ill from Celiac disease, I have chosen not to take any chances with possible skin absorption of gluten on the off chance it could ultimately harm my current good health.
Also, I have worked in the health food/nutrition arena long enough to have seen studies prove just about anything. For awhile, studies showed coffee was terrible for the body; now the studies show is beneficial: the same with butter, eggs, high protein diets, etc. Slathering my body with a gluten filled product just goes against my intuition, in spite of the research. I cannot afford, with the severity of my case, to take the chance that ten years from now further research could disprove the current theories.
Obviously, each person has to inform themselves (your cite offers a vehicle to that end) and to make the decision they feel is best for their situation.
Thanks for your input on the subject. Happy researching, Everyone!