Gluten Free Skincare – does it matter?

The Problem

Did you know that gluten is really good at hiding behind other names in your skincare and that can spell danger for your skin? Here at Kudarat, we really care about what you put on your skin.

Pretty much everyone these days is well-versed in some of the ingredients that we do not want to see listed in our beauty products—everything from parabens to PEGs and a whole lot of other stuff. We have a great blog article that you can check out that goes into some of the major nasties in more detail and why you should choose products that do not contain them.

In a recent article, we talked all about what gluten really is and went into a lot of juicy details about it. If you haven’t checked it out, please go and read that first and then jump back on over here. In the meantime, right here, we’re going to focus specifically on the gluten that may be hiding in plain sight in your beauty products. There are many ingredients in cosmetic products that contain gluten. Some of these are obvious, like hydrolyzed wheat protein, but many are not. It’s pretty shocking. Just wait…Keep reading to find out more.


Field trip gone bad

In the not so distant past, I sauntered into my local big box beauty store. Gluten afflicted or not, I’m still a major junkie and retail therapy was needed. I admit it. I love going in there and checking out the cosmetics, even if all the synthetic fragrances sometimes literally knock me right on back out the door. Welp…I had a little bit of an incident. What I’m about to share is a prime example of why you have to always read your labels, even with “trusted” brands. You never know when a formulation is going to be changed or what ingredients are going into the new products being released.

There are a couple of brands out there that clearly advertise that they are gluten-free. I use some of their products. However, it’s unfortunately not that simple. Even among the brands that claim to be sans the gluten, some of their products are full of it. Unfortunately, I was distracted and immediately gravitated towards a new foundation from one of the brands on my “trusted with caution” list. I didn’t even think, didn’t read the label, and went on ahead and slapped some of that foundation on my jawline and chin. That wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Holy cow. Within about two minutes, I wanted to claw my face off after slapping some sense into myself. It felt like my skin was suffocating and I started to break out. It was that fast. As a quick aside, you will find out that once you eliminate all glutens from your life, when you do come into contact with it, the reactions tend to be faster and harsher. After scraping this foundation off of my face, I picked up a box of it and immediately started scanning through the ingredients. Their marketing materials said, among other things, “VEGAN” and “GLUTEN FREE”. The ingredients on the box told a very different story, at least where the gluten is concerned. Wait for it…


Gluten hiding in plain sight

You are going to freak out when I share with you what one of the likely gluten-derived ingredients in that foundation was.

Hyaluronic acid.

Yes, that. The proclaimed holy grail of the beauty world is found in a lot of products. Traditionally, cosmetic HA was extracted from rooster combs. I’m not even going to go there. However, these days, it is commonly produced via bacterial fermentation of wheat. Streptococcus sp. is the main bacteria used and this in and of itself poses some concerns, but that’s a story for another day. While not all of the hyaluronic acid found in products out there is derived from wheat (some of it is from soy—we don’t put that in our products either), unless the brand is willing to share with you what their HA is made from, it’s really better to be safe than sorry.

For these reasons, Kudarat does not use HA in any of its products. Instead, we use other beautiful and bona fide plant-based ingredients that perform the same function without any of the worries that come along with potential gluten exposure.

So, besides this big shocker, what else is lurking in your skincare and cosmetics? The following list is far from exhaustive, but it definitely is eye opening in terms of the grain-derived ingredients that are often hiding in plain sight. I hope this will help you learn what to look for when checking out the ingredients on your labels.


Acetic acid                                              Alpha tocopheral

Barley (Hordeum Distichim)              Beta glucan

Calcium stearate                                   Calcium stearoyl lactylate

Caprylyl capryl glucoside                    Cetearyl glucoside

Citric acid                                                Coco glucoside

Coco glycerides                                     Corn starch

Decyl glucoside                                     Decyl polyglucose

Gluconic acid                                         Glucono delta-lactone

Gluconolactone                                     Glycerin (Kudarat’s glycerin is NOT gluten derived)

Hyaluronic acid                                     Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose

Lactic acid                                               Lauryl glucoside

Magnesium stearate                           Oat (Avena Satvia)

PEGs                                                         Polysorbates (e.g. Polysorbate 80)

Potassium citrate                                 Potassium gluconate

Propanediol                                            Propylene glycol

Rice (Oryza Satvia)                               Rye (Secale Cereale)

Stearic acid                                            Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Tocopherol acetate                             Vitamin C

Wheat (Tritium Vulagare)                  Xanathan Gum

Yeast extract                                          Zea mays (Modified Corn Starch)



so why does it matter?

So, what is the connection between gluten and our skin?

The presence of gluten activates our immune system and can trigger all kinds of inflammation. This can lead to acne, eczema, dermatitis herpetiformis, rosacea, psoriasis, and chronic dry skin. Our skin can become very irritated and angry—because it is!

Gluten can lead to premature aging. If you’re noticing that your skin is turning dull and aging faster than it should be, gluten could be playing a major role. Visible signs of aging like wrinkles, dark circles, puffy eyes, and lost elasticity? No thanks!

Going gluten-free can be one of the best things we can do for our bodies and our skin. Imagine having clearer and more radiant skin! Kudarat’s 100% gluten free and grain free skin care products are our commitment to a more beautiful and healthy you!



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