Gluten-free shampoo? Is this really necessary?

Well, this makes zero sense to me.

Mo. Representative Pushes For Gluten-Labeling On Shampoos « CBS St. Louis.

The product is avoid gluten, contained in wheat, that is used both in food and other products. The bill, sponsored by, Rep. Vicky Englund, D-St. Louis, would include not only food but all hygiene items including shampoo and conditioner.

Under her proposal, manufacturers and wholesalers of such products would be required to label whether the item contain gluten. Englund said she was moved to introduce this legislation by one of her constituents.

“She got gluten out of her diet completely, but was still very ill and almost died,” Englund said. “By process of elimination and further research, she concluded that there was gluten in her shampoo.”

Englund’s gluten-labeling bill is currently pending before the House Health Care Policy Committee, but has not been scheduled for a hearing yet.

I encountered this when purchasing Costco Kirkland brand shampoo.



I could NOT figure out why someone might have a topical gluten allergy. I suppose it’s possible but it must be SO rare! Most of the anti-gluten hype has little substance. That is, for the few that are actually allergic to gluten, this is serious, but most people ARE NOT. They just avoid it because they think it’s bad for them

You can’t protect everyone from everything. I don’t agree that this is a worthwhile use of legislators time. How about some good SCIENCE to back it up!

Gluten-free hype confusing | Doubtful News.

Someone needs to show me some evidence that this makes any sense whatsoever. Post your links in the comments.

Addition: So far, Scott Gavura posted this on Twitter.

I have celiac disease. Do I need to be concerned about sunscreens, shampoos and cosmetics that contain gluten?
Answer was ‘no’
Cutaneous hypersensitivity to gluten.
answer is ‘maybe’.

  14 comments for “Gluten-free shampoo? Is this really necessary?

  1. Chris Howard
    March 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    The twittering classes are so bored, and comfortable that they need to invent disorders in order to make their, trendy, middle class lives interesting when discussing their various “hardships” over organic, gluten-free, free range, fair trade dinner parties. 😉

  2. Phil
    March 8, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    This is sort of like saying gluten free fish. If a product doesn’t now or ever did come with an ingredient, it’s sort of fraud to label it as not including that ingredient. Mushroom soup-now meat free! Bread-no meat added! Salt- gluten free! Peanuts-gluten free!

  3. AmSci
    March 8, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    What about consumers with both pica and celiac disease? Didnt think of that, did you?

  4. RDW
    March 8, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    I agree, this seems sort of preposterous. People are encouraged to be paranoid for no good reason.

  5. Adam
    March 8, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    The legislation would be better off to force shampoos which DO contain gluten to say so rather than forcing the majority which do not to say gluten free.

    Second, as a parent of two coeliac kids, I would support any legislation which forced all processed products to perform mandatory gluten / allergen testing and to display a prominent, standardised format allergen table. Some foods don’t even bother to say while others slap on some catch-all “may contain wheat, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, soy, milk” which is as good as useless.

    If testing were mandatory, it might motivate manufacturers to go that extra inch to ensure that many of their products fell on the gluten free side than the other.

  6. March 8, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    I am still lacking CLEAR evidence that any wheat product, such as wheat germ oil which may be present in shampoo, is TOPICALLY dangerous to anyone. How many people have topical wheat allergies (different from coeliac disease)? Is it a real thing?

  7. Adam
    March 8, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    I should clarify I meant food products in my second para above and by processed I meant things which are produced in factories handling multiple ingredients or where contamination is possible rather than for bags of carrots, meat carcasses or similar items.

  8. J
    March 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    The only thing I can see here as being a factor to sensitivity is getting shampoo in your eyes or around your nose when you rinse your hair, but even then the reaction would have to be very sensitive.
    On the other hand, this reminds me of the old “dehydrated water’ joke.

  9. LREKing
    March 8, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    I have to disagree on this one.

    I see nothing wrong with requiring all commercial beauty and processed food products to list their ingredients. How can we make rational decisions about what we’re putting on (and in) our bodies if we don’t have sufficient information? Also, such full disclosure may encourage some companies to give a little more thought to their ingredients.

    That said, singling out gluten is just silly.

  10. March 8, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    What I have discovered so far is that while coeliac disease can present skin related symptoms it is not caused by external contact with gluten, but driven only by what is ingested. Gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin:

    Some of the coeliac forums have reports of people claiming that they insist on using wheat and fluten free personal hygiene products and have adverse reactions:

    WebMD and some personal blogs have reported that “hydrolyzed wheat protein” is something to look out for with regards to a wheat allergy. This ingredient can show up in some toiletries. Hydrolyzed wheat protein does show up in a google search of shampoo ingredients for some brands:

    Though this may be unrelated to the role of hydrolyzed wheat proteins in shampoos WebMD also states that some medications use “wheat binders to help them stick together.”

    Finally, I could be misrepresenting this abstract, but it appears to be a test of the impact of acid-hydrolyzed wheat proteins on the potential allergic responses of human cells: . This is not a true test of a topical application of a shampoo containing these proteins as it is conducted in-vitro.

  11. Greg Munro
    March 8, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    They said what, now? I have had a gluten sensitivity for over thirty years ( due to D/H) and I have never had issues with topical contact with gluten ( yes, I live crazy and use oatmeal soap). However I have a cousin, who is very gluten sensitive and she has to be careful – she is a two epi-pen lady) its not because she is pica ( off topic, I have never heard of a pica, who allergic reactions to what they) but if she gets gluten on her hands and then touches her lips, she will have a mild reaction. From my understanding, most people who have a gluten sensitivity, have learned to be careful with what they use, touch, eat etc., just like most people with allergies or sensitivity. In my personal opinion, a hair care product that is gluten free- is just a “good’ marketing ploy and finding some one who will buy a product with out questioning it. I am aware of most products that I need to be aware of, that have gluten – but I personally, have never seen gluten used in shampoo.

  12. March 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I say, this “gluten-free” stuff is a fad. There is no good evidence of “gluten sensitivity”. People get indigestion from all sorts of foods, that’s the hazard of a wealthy society.

  13. Becca
    December 3, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    I have to pipe in for all of those who have severe cases of celiac disease and topical reactions to gluten. When I use a product with a trace of gluten in it, it causes dermatitis herpetiformis (look it up if you don’t know what it is). It’s not that rare for celiacs. For people like me, just a teeny bit of gluten in shampoo can lead to a rash, itchiness and hair loss. And unfortunately a lot of shampoos have gluten in them (wheat protein, vitamin E derived from wheat sources, fragrances sourced from outside suppliers). Most of the time you can’t tell if a shampoo has gluten in it by looking at the list of ingredients.

    When I see “gluten free” written on ANY cosmetic product (shampoo included) it gives me a sense of relief. It allows me to buy the product with confidence, knowing that I don’t have to suffer a bad reaction, and then throw away or give away the product after one or two uses. Oftentimes, the brands labelled “gluten-free” are more expensive, and life as a celiac can get very expensive. Please don’t decry the labelling that makes life so much easier. Often I have to spend hours researching online to find cosmetic products (again, shampoo included) that don’t break the bank, but are gluten free.

    I should also mention that people with celiacs are more likely to develop alopecia areata, a condition where your immune system attacks your hair follicles. For people with both conditions and gluten topical reactions, using a gluten free shampoo is essential.

  14. January 9, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    Becca thank you so much for you well thought out response,

    As another person with a severe case of celiac disease and skin sensitivity post like this make me sad and tired.

    I have spent hours trying to figure out how I could possibly be having a gluten reaction when I knew everything that I had eat was made with whole foods in my home by my hand so it could not possibly have gluten in it. Then I discovered that some people could react to personal care products. Then I spent hours trying to figure out what I could and can’t use. I love it when a product labels their product gluten-free and I don’t have to worry.

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