If you’ve already cut gluten, eggs, or another food out of your diet, you may be surprised to learn that the same foods may be used as ingredients in some of your favorite cosmetics.┬áThis is a particularly a problem for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities, as gluten is found in many beauty products.

While it’s clear that ingesting proteins to which you are allergic can cause serious problems, dermatologists are still debating over whether it does anything when applied to the skin. A research team at Mount Sinai in New York City is currently investigating contact dermatitis caused by food allergens in topical beauty products. What happens when you slather an ingredient on your face that would cause a serious medical emergency if you ate it?

New Research Suggests Possibility of Allergic Reactions

Emma Guttman, director of the Laboratory for Inflammatory Skin Diseases at the Mount Sinai dermatology department, is the lead investigator of the study. Her research examines a range of different food allergens (including soy, milk, gluten, and peanuts). Guttman recently commented “We just started the study, but we’ve had several patients who had skin rashes when they applied a product with gluten in it… When we took a biopsy of the skin, we saw the same type of inflammation that you see in the gut, which causes redness.”

While she says that it’s too early to draw conclusions from the study, she hypothesizes that the risk of applying topical cosmetics containing an allergen may be dependent on the severity of your allergy. You may be more likely to react to an allergen on your skin if you have a severe allergy than if you have a mild sensitivity.

If you do have a food allergy, keep an eye on your cosmetics. Take note of any irritation or redness, which could indicate cross-contamination has introduced an allergen into your beauty products. Guttman and her research team are still actively looking for participants with food allergies for a clinical study investigating this issue.

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