Celiac awareness

Americans are always be looking for the latest trend to lose weight and be healthy. Going gluten-free seems to be the latest wave. Gluten can be hard to digest, even if you do not have a reason not to eat it, but is typically not harmful to those who do not have Celiac Sprue. It is important to understand the different reasons one might avoid gluten and to know that it is not a weight loss plan. This is meant to serve as an overview; for medical advice on this topic, please contact your physician.


First, there is a difference between having Celiac disease, being gluten intolerant and being allergic to gluten or wheat. Many people will say they are allergic to wheat or allergic to gluten rather than giving a complicated explanation of the autoimmune disease, Celiac Sprue. There is a big difference, however, between a gluten or wheat allergy and if a person has Celiac or are gluten intolerant. This is a complex topic, but the number of questions about gluten is increasing as true Celiac diagnoses in the US are rising. Current statistics suggest that 1 in 133 Americans have Celiac, although they are largely undiagnosed.

PCA SKIN products are not considered gluten-free, as making that statement requires strict manufacturing control to avoid gluten cross contamination. That does not mean that people with gluten sensitivities cannot use them, though. Let’s break down the facts. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Some people have an autoimmune disease called Celiac Sprue in which the villi inside the upper intestines are destroyed if they come in contact with the gliadin proteins found in gluten. Because of this, ingesting any gluten must be strictly avoided. Only a small number of people with Celiac have the skin involvement (this is known as dermatitis herpetiformis). Those with skin involvement would likely have reactions topically. Those that only have gastrointestinal Celiac would likely not have a skin reaction from topical application because the gluten molecules (gliadin proteins) are too large to penetrate the skin. For these people, the only problem would be if the product applied topically was accidentally ingested (ex: applying and then touching the mouth) and therefore reaching the upper intestines. The only PCA SKIN product that is off-limits to those with Celiac disease is Peptide Lip Therapy, as it contains barley and is applied to the lips, potentially leading to ingestion.

From a manufacturing perspective, some ingredients, like vitamin E, can come from many sources including wheat; although once the substance is removed from its source it typically does not retain the characteristics of the source.  That said, raw materials are typically not 100% of the stated ingredient. The final raw material may contain several tenths or one hundredths of a percentage point of “impurities” (other components from the source). These could be any protein or substance from the source. It is highly unlikely that these tiny amounts would cause a reaction, even in someone with sensitivity, but the best course of action would be to patch test.

PCA SKIN does not currently test products or manufacture them in a particularly guarded fashion to allow us to safely say they are gluten-free. This does NOT mean that any products that have a wheat- or barley-derived ingredient actually contain gluten or would cause any type of reaction. A patch test should always be performed if there are concerns about allergies or sensitivities.

Each person is very different and responds differently. Some people with Celiac may choose to avoid even topical gluten — that is a personal decision. If you have questions about your own health as it relates to gluten, contact your physician. For questions about finding the PCA SKIN products that are right for you, visit us at www.pcaskin.com or call 877.PCA.SKIN [722-7456].


4 Responses to Celiac awareness

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