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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 3 of 9

A gluten-free diet can make a difference to eczema in a celiac client, as can the use of gluten-free skin care products. Gliadin is the toxic protein fragment that causes eczema in celiac disease, so whether in the diet or through the use of topical skin care products, gliadin should not be present.

Urticaria (hives). Urticaria is an eruption of erythematous or edematous swellings of the dermis or subcutaneous tissue, and is due to a local increase of the permeability of capillaries on celiac clients. Urticaria is generally treated with oral medications; however, clients may look for alternative topical options, including antipruritic medications, such as topical steroids, including hydrocortisone. Topical antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, works by blocking the effects of histamines. A natural product alternative includes calamine, which effectively helps soothe itching on the skin, and topical anesthetics, such as benzocaine, can relieve itchiness by anaesthetizing itch nerves. Also, counterirritants, such as mint oil, menthol and camphor, represent a more natural choice of active ingredients for anti-itch creams. A counterirritant operates by creating a diversion, producing sensations that attract your attention. Theoretically, by creating inflammation in one location, you will reduce the inflammation of another by creating antagonism between itch-processing neurons.

There seems to be some controversy about celiac disease and the use of skin care products and cosmetics that contain gluten. It makes sense that if your client has celiac disease, gluten-free products should be used.

Ingredients and treatments. Oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, which contains gamma linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid, has been used to ease bruises and speed wound-healing in those with celiac disease. Also, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil contains vital nutrients such as vitamins—especially vitamin E—and minerals, and has antimicrobial properties to assist with the healing of sores and wounds. As the oil closest to human sebum, it’s beneficial for oily, dry, red, inflamed and mature skin, as well as skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea.

According to the Canadian Celiac Association, it is important for clients with celiac disease to use gluten-free cosmetics as a precaution to ensure they do not mistakenly digest any cosmetics that could cause damage. Treating any type of health-challenged skin at a professional skin care facility takes thorough thought and ingredient consideration. Although caution is advised, most professional skin care treatments have no direct impact on the health of intestinal villi. Consequently, professional skin care treatments can neither improve nor exacerbate celiac disease.

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