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Part II Health-challenged Skin--Celiac Disease and SLE

By: Morag Currin
Posted: February 28, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 2 of 9

Nutrient deficits are responsible for most symptoms in celiac disease; many are seemingly unrelated conditions. A partial list includes depression, lack of concentration, anxiety, insomnia, hypertension, obesity, alopecia, defective fingernails, edema, eczema, seborrhea, muscle abnormalities, tremors, brain atrophy, dementia, headache, chronic fatigue and peripheral neuropathy. Nutritional deficiencies inevitably affect the integrity of the skin, especially in those clients who are not aware they have celiac disease.

Because most skin care professionals provide facials, the mouth is an area of concern. Lowered saliva pH, resulting in more acidic saliva associated with celiac disease, predisposes a client to dental cavities and poor starch digestion. Be aware of other skin-related symptoms of celiac disease when working with clients who have this disease. They include the following.

Acne. Celiac disease and malabsorption, as well as hormonal upset, can contribute to a greater production of acne. Many acne-sufferers have reported relief from their skin condition when they went gluten-free. Clients may want to have their physician check to confirm their acnelike condition is not actually dermatitis herpetiformis. Because each client has different issues and possible causes of acne, different acne regimens can be tried to see which is the most beneficial for each client.

Dry skin. Also correlated to malabsorption, dry skin is a very common complaint among those with celiac disease. Dry skin, in some cases, can be reduced by a gluten-free diet, and it is recommended that these clients use emollient, gluten-free products.

Eczema. When clients have eczema, they develop patches of red, cracked skin that sometimes weep clear fluid. People with eczema seem to have both lower levels of a type of cytokine protein that’s associated with a healthy immune system and higher levels of a cytokine protein that’s involved in allergic reactions. Some physicians consider eczema an autoimmune condition. Researchers have compared the prevalence of eczema in people who also suffer from celiac disease to eczema prevalence in control subjects, and they’ve found that eczema occurs about three times more frequently in those with celiac disease and about two times more frequently in their relatives, potentially indicating a genetic link between the two conditions.

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