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Tricia Thompson, MS, RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide and has a MS degree in nutrition from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts and a BA degree in English Literature from Middlebury College in Vermont.

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Living Gluten-Free
by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, The Gluten-Free Dietitian

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The bottom line: There is no scientific evidence that the use of gluten-containing products that are not ingested is harmful to persons with celiac disease. This includes individuals with dermatitis herpetiformis.

According to Dr. Alessio Fasano, Medical Director of the Center for Celiac Research, University of Maryland, "If you have celiac disease, then the application of gluten containing products to the skin should not be a problem, unless you have skin lesions that allow gluten to be absorbed systemically in great quantities.

"The reason why this should not be a problem is that, based on what we know right now, it is the oral ingestion of gluten that activates the immunological cascades leading to the autoimmune process typical of celiac disease."

There arenít too many individuals on the planet who know more about celiac disease than Dr. Fasano, so please, do not let anyone, including medical professionals convince you that gluten protein can be absorbed through the skin and cause a celiac disease reaction. It simply isnít true.

If you still need more convincing, check out what Cynthia Kupper RD, Executive Director of The Gluten Intolerance Group, has to say.

"While investigating the possible absorption of gluten through the skin, I have talked with many regulatory organizations, and research and development people in the cosmetic industry. They all agree that gluten and all proteins are too large to be absorbed through the skin. Therefore, topical care products that contain gluten do not need to be avoided by persons with CD and DH.

"It is also important to understand that it is possible to have celiac disease and other sensitivities. When it comes to products labeled hypoallergenic, this simply means that the product is 'less likely to cause an allergic reaction.' So if you have a skin reaction to a product, you may have a sensitivity that you think might be related to gluten, but is actually related to something else in the product."

As Cynthia suggests, you may have a skin reaction to any number of ingredients in any number of products for reasons other than celiac disease (such as an allergy). If this is the case, you should stop using the product and speak with your dermatologist.

So using common sense, what personal ...    Continue

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@ 10:00am ET on July 29, 2009 It's good to know that a reaction is unlikely for skin, if there is an exposure.

However, we avoid most commercial personal care products and use coconut oil and similar products that do not contain processed ingredients. Cheaper and simpler too. Less junk to clutter up the bathroom.

This after our daughter baked with wheat flour because she was told it was OK several years ago, and she had a black pit crash clearly due to the incident. So we use the precautionary principle.
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