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Researchers Suggest Gluten Identification in Cosmetics

Posted: November 29, 2011

Research presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s (ACG) 76th Annual Scientific meeting in Washington, D.C., USA, suggested that celiac patients may have adverse reactions to gluten in cosmetics.

Marie L. Borum, MD, EdD, MPH, chose to conduct the research after one of her patients with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intesting, suffered gastrointestinal complications and a skin rash after using a body lotion. Borum reported that although it is difficult to determine whether gluten is in cosmetics, the patients symtoms were alleviated with discontinued use of the lotion.

Borum and fellow researcher Pia Prakash, MD, both of George Washington University, evaluated the information about cosmetic ingredients and accessibility of gluten-free products for the top 10 US cosmetic product manufacturers. This research was presented in “Information About Cosmetic Ingredients is Difficult to Obtain: A Potential Hazard for Celiac Patients."

The researchers found that none of the large manufacturers offered any information on the gluten content in their ingredients or products. While two companies offered detailed ingredient information, four companies offered no ingredient information. The researchers found ingredient information from five companies on independent websites; however, no gluten sources were identified.

The researchers suggested that manufacturers should specify which cosmetics contain gluten to prevent gluten-sensitive consumers from purchasing these products and experiencing adverse reactions. Perhaps further research on this subject may lead to a "gluten-containing" or "gluten-free" specification on cosmetic labels.