Gluten-Free Hair Care: Is It Right for Your Clients?
Gluten-Free Hair Care: Is It Right for Your Clients?

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac disease affects 1 in 100 people worldwide, and 2.5 million Americans are living undiagnosed. And, even if you don’t test positive for celiac disease, it’s possible that you’re still gluten-intolerant. Those with gluten intolerance experience many of the same symptoms after ingesting gluten.

Incidence rates of celiac disease have been rising throughout the Western world over the last 70 years, and it’s not really known why—increased awareness may be one contributing factor. Because of this, gluten-free food options have become more mainstream than ever, even among people without celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.

But gluten isn't just in the food we consume, it's used in many other products we use on a daily basis as well—skin care and hair care included. According to Madison Reed’s blog, “gluten is known for its ability to hold and provide elasticity, which makes it a helpful ingredient in hair sprays and other products.” Now, though, there are subtitutes for gluten in hair care products that work just as well.

Should You Use Gluten-Free Hair Products?

If you or your client has celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten, should you opt for gluten-free hair products?

According to Marilyn G. Geller, the Chief Executive Officer of the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten cannot be absorbed by the skin—it must be ingested to affect those with celiac disease—so unless you get some hair product in your mouth, it shouldn't negatively affect you.

However, there’s a skin condition caused by gluten insensitivity and related to celiac disease called active dermatitis herpetiformis; patients with this condition are advised to use gluten-free products as open skin lesions can be irritated by gluten.

 Enter gluten-free hair care! 

Gluten-Free Hair Products

There are quite a few hair care lines available today that would be suitable for those who have celiac disease, or who want to avoid gluten in their hair care products. Here are just a few:

  • Oribe
    • According to its website, Oribe’s whole line is gluten-free. “Thanks to new technology, we are able to use gluten-free wheat-derived ingredients (such as wheat amino acids and hydrolyzed wheat protein) in some of our products. This means that you still get the benefits of the wheat, which is great for strengthening, but people with gluten allergies do not have to be concerned about being exposed to gluten,” it says.
  • R+Co
    • This is another line with all gluten-free products. All of its formulas are color-safe, heat- and UV-protective, vegan, cruelty- and gluten-free, and made without harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates (SLS or SLES), mineral oil and petrolatum.
    • Each OLAPLEX product is free of sulfates, phthalates, DEA, aldehydes, formaldehyde, gluten and parabens.
  • Surface
    • This line is free of parabens, sulfates, gluten, animal protein, PVP/VA plastics, heavy oil, DEA and TEA, phthalates and is cruelty-free.

For more information about celiac disease and gluten intolerance, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation's website, and consult a doctor if you have questions about gluten-free hair care as it pertains to your health.

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