Gluten-Free Skin Care Is Here! But Does Anyone Need It?



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Here in L.A., Sonya Dakar is already a superstar among people who take their beauty seriously. No joke, the brand packs omega-3s and other skin-saving compounds into every possible product, pops up at only the best spas, and tailors their packages to meet every beauty obsessive's last demand.

And, so, catering to the growing number of Angelenos living a gluten-free lifestyle, it's now whipped up a new line, BODY by Sonya Dakar Skincare. Filled to the brim with antioxidents and botanicals, this is unquestionably the best regimen on the market targeting the gluten-free consumer looking for a perfect complexion.

That's all well and good, but it begs an obvious question: Does anyone actually need gluten-free skincare products? Click through to find out.

Photo: Sonya Dakar


Ummm, not so much.

See, gluten proteins can only be absorbed into your body through the gastro-intestinal tract. Yes, the skin can react to other compounds found in wheat, but sensitivity to gluten protein does not extend to external contact – it’s a rare congenital digestive problem. Basically, if you haven’t eaten gluten, you’re not going to react to gluten even if you smear it all over your body – end of story.

Supposing you were part of the 6% of the general population suffering from celiac disease or another form of gluten intolerance, you’d still have to make quite a meal of your products (say, a concealer sandwich) before you’d come to any harm. By the way, that does not mean we're advocating eating exfoliator for those of you who happen to be living gluten-free by choice. Still not a good idea....

So, no, unless you suffer from medically diagnosed celiac disease or wheat sensitivity (or live with a hungry, curious child who does), there’s no upside to using gluten-free makeup or body care products. Even if you do have one of those conditions, the benefit is mostly one of peace of mind as it’s unlikely a little gluten-based facial treatment would do you any harm.

But, if the vast majority of people don't strictly need these products, there’s a thornier question: Will people still want these products?

The answer: It’s become an article of faith for many that wheat protein can make you fatter, more bloated, and sicker. Indeed, eating a lot of carbs will make you make you gain weight, look puffy, feel like crap, break out, fart, and probably crave more carbs – all good reasons to moderate your intake. But our tortured relationship with these wheat proteins has gone far beyond that.

Self and non-medical diagnoses of celiac disease and wheat sensitivity (which are actually quite rare) have become strangely common and many preach that gluten proteins are serious, toxic threats to public health. Even though there’s no scientific proof to back it up, this opinion has spawned an entire culture of products, foods, books, regimes, and more. For those who believe, these body care products would obviously be must-haves.

Our take: If a doctor (we repeat, a doctor) has diagnosed you or your child with celiac disease or a wheat sensitivity, Sonya Dakar skin care provides you a clear step up from the gluten-free facial products from CoverGirl, Neutrogena, and others. For the rest of us, stick to the regular stuff and try not to eat too much exfoliator.

What do you think though? Will you be trying this new skin care line?