Friday, July 3, 2009

Ask the Coach: Gluten Free Sunblock?

updated 8/27/09.

While speaking at a celiac disease support group here in NH, a member posed the question:

Q: Which sunblocks are gluten free?

A: First off, let me say that there is a lot of contradictory info out there about whether or not gluten can be absorbed through the skin, and if it can cause problems for people with celiac disease. The more I read and talk to people, it seems as though that this is not the case. To my surprise, even dermatitis herpetiformis is caused by ingested gluten, not contact with gluten. A true wheat allergy is different, and people who are very sensitive do need to be concerned with products that contain wheat. Products that are likely to be near the mouth, like lipstick, are something to think about when it comes to gluten issues. I do think that, if you have an autoimmune disease, it is smart to reduce the amount of chemicals you are exposing yourself to.

As a side note, I did recently learn that I've been exposed to gluten - not through ingestion, but I've asked my doctor to run celiac blood screening test for antibodies again (last one done a while ago) to see what the numbers look like. It'll be an interesting experiment.

Anyhow, here are some sunblocks that I have received confirmation from the manufacturer stating that they are wheat and gluten free (as always, formulas can change overnight, so always check labels and ask questions of manufacturers):

* Keys Care Solar Rx Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunblock

* Carole Maggio Facercise Inc.'s Protective Sunblock

* Lavera Sunblock SPF 40

* Jason SunBrellas Chemical-Free Sun Block, SPF 30+

* SIRJJ Organics makes an SPF30 Day Cream

* I'm told by the consumer care help line that all Neutrogena adult sun blocks except for the sensitive skin SPF 30 are GF

Here in the northeast, we haven't needed sunblock for quite some time - it's been very depressing. I'm hoping this is going to change soon!


  1. I've read - but can't site the reference - that the gluten molecule is too large to be absorbed thru the skin.

    I'm not 100% sure on this, docs say all the time that things put on the skin (like toxic chemicals, i.e. parabens & other preservatives in skin lotions, shampoos, sunscreens, etc.) don't get absorbed. I don't understand the logic as they have drugs in skin patches that do get absorbed.

    None the less, as long as it is not a gluten ALLERGY, gluten in skin care products should not be an issue. Folks with Celiac disease respond to gluten in the small intestine. It is an internal, intestinal problem, not a problem with the other body symptoms.

    The whole focus on sunscreen is flawed. Cancer has gone up exponentially since we have been convinced to block Vitamin D from our systems. Most of the population is Vitamin D deficient & is getting worse.

  2. This is exactly why more research is needed. Because the majority of what I read does say to be mindful of gluten coming in contact with the skin (and breathing it in, which is newer thinking), I go with it. I've also cross-checked with experts from various disciplines. I'm a better safe than sorry girl on this issue, but, as with many issues regarding the GF lifestyle, it's person choice. Support celiac research so we can get some more definitive answers!