Gluten Free vs Gluten Friendly - What's the Difference?

When making decisions for yourself or your family, you probably look for specific ingredients that meet your needs and ask authorities and experts when you have questions. While product labeling has come a long way since skin care products became widely available, marketing buzzwords still make it difficult to decipher what’s what. According to beauty executives, words and phrases, like anti-aging, clean, and non-toxic, are intended to tempt consumers. Even phrases most commonly applicable to food have begun making their way onto skin care labels. “Gluten-free” can now be found on everything from bread to beer, and for individuals with gluten allergies or sensitivities, the absence of such labeling can cause concern. 

What Is Gluten?

If you’re wondering what gluten is, you’re not alone. Gluten comes from wheat, barley, oats, and rye and can be found in other products that use ingredients derived from those substances. Flour, malt vinegar, and matzo all contain gluten as do many processed foods, sauces, and flavored teas and coffees.  

What’s Wrong with Gluten?

Most people have no trouble consuming gluten, but for people with celiac disease (CD), an inflammatory disorder, gluten interferes with the body’s natural absorption process. Since gluten presents health risks for those with CD, the FDA passed definitive regulations in 2013 to make voluntary food labeling more consistent. With the physical problems gluten causes, it’s natural to wonder if gluten in skin care will trigger a negative reaction as well. Some people with CD develop dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), an itchy rash, when they consume gluten, so their concern about applying gluten-based products topically is well grounded and logical. 


According to the authors of “Gluten in Cosmetics: Is There a Reason for Concern?” which appeared in the September 1, 2012 Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “There is currently no scientific evidence that gluten used in cosmetics that are not ingested is harmful to individuals with celiac disease.” Lip products, though, may be worth avoiding because tiny amounts can be ingested. 

What’s the Difference Between Gluten-Free and Gluten-Friendly?

At Epicuren Discovery, we’re proud to make products that are vegan, certified organic, and “gluten-friendly.”

While most of our products are gluten-friendly some of them do contain gluten and you can find a full list of them here:

We want you to select products based on your own research and personal needs. While most of our products do not contain gluten ingredients (gluten friendly) they are manufactured in facilities with other products that are, so there’s always a possibility of cross-contamination, and so indirect contact to gluten is possible. You should check with your primary care provider if you have concerns about using them. 

While most doctors and dietitians believe that gluten-sensitivity doesn’t extend to what is topically applied to the skin, you know your body better than anyone. You can feel confident that the Epicuren Discovery products you purchase are gluten-friendly, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Just ask. 

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