Hair styling products: Must they be gluten-free?Tricia Thompson
If you have celiac disease, do you really need to worry about ingesting gluten from hair styling products? Let’s take a logical look at this issue.
Remember that parts per million of gluten is a proportion—ppm tells you how many parts out of a million parts are made up of a contaminant (e.g., gluten). If a product (food or hair wax) contains 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten it contains close to 0.6 milligrams of gluten in each ounce of product. If a product (food or hair wax) contains 100 ppm gluten it contains close to 3 milligrams of gluten in each ounce of product. But remember, you presumably do not eat hair wax. If you do (joking of course!), the wax probably would impact your ability to breathe long before it caused a gluten reaction.
If you are still concerned you can do what I did during a recent morning and look at the products you use in your hair. In my case—a shampoo, “defrizzer”, and styling wax. Using the styling wax as an example—it is a 1.5 ounce container. It probably lasts me at least 30 days (maybe 60). At 20 ppm gluten, the entire container would contain about 0.9 milligrams gluten. Divided by 30 (days), the amount of gluten used in my hair from this product would be 0.03 milligrams. At 100 ppm gluten, the entire container would contain 4.5 milligrams of gluten. Divided by 30 (days), the amount of gluten used in my hair from this product would be 0.15 milligrams. Now assuming I evenly spread product throughout my hair the amount that would be on any area I touched would be truly microscopic. The amount that would be transferred to my fingers and stay put until I either put my fingers directly in my mouth or touched something going into my mouth would be infinitesimal (never mind that all of us should wash our hands before sticking our fingers in our mouth or preparing food).
Also, keep in mind that Thomas Grace and I recently tested six lipsticks, glosses, and lotions containing various gluten-derived ingredients. Products were tested in duplicate using both the sandwich and competitive R5 ELISAs. In other words each product was tested four times. All tests conducted on all products were below the lower limit of quantification for gluten (5 parts per million of gluten for the sandwich and 10 parts per million of gluten for the competitive).
Individuals with celiac disease have a lot to be concerned about when it comes to gluten. Hair styling products should not be one of them.
For more information on gluten and personal care products, please see http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/newsletter/personal-care-products-do-you-need-to-worry-about-gluten-update/
© May 15, 2013 by Tricia Thompson, MS, RD. All Rights Reserved.
This article may not be reposted, reprinted, or republished, without the express written permission of Tricia Thompson
I am disappointed that there are very few shampoos, hair and body products which are entirely gluten Free. I was diagnosed as being coeliac 10 years ago and it has been a nightmare being able to get hair products. For me personally and some other coeliacs 5ppm is waaaay to much. I positively refuse to buy anything with any ppm Food or topical products) due to so many mistakes and listening to people who say 5ppm is fine. No it is not fine, after using topical products with less than 5ppm Over a period of years and suffering horrific side effects In the process I finally found Eco colors, absolutely no gluten no wheat, soya etc as soya also gives me a reaction, and guess what no reaction whatsoever, I have been using it for years. My point is there are people out there who will have a reaction to anything containing gluten albeit they may be in the minority, or are they? This is why for the past 4 years I have eaten nothing containing 5ppm only fresh foods, products and finally feel I have found the missing link which was making me unwell the less than 5ppm myth