If you thought finding gluten in the foods you eat presents a trail of mystery, you’ll soon discover the plot thickens when trying to find gluten in nonfood products. Finding gluten in products other than food requires close scrutiny, because gluten often hides out under ambiguous names in nonfood products and can easily throw you off the case if you are not methodical in its pursuit. Plus, other product manufacturers are not under the same regulations for ingredient disclosure as food manufacturers.
As gluten is like glue, it can help put and keep ingredients together that don’t compose a food item. You need to analyze the ingredients of any product that comes in contact with your skin, particularly if you have dermatitis herpetiformis. Your skin is the largest organ and has the ability to absorb anything into the blood stream. Gluten is often used in shampoos, conditioners, and lotions for its protein value for hair and skin. You can find gluten in lipstick, other cosmetics, paint, and even Play-Doh! For more information on the debate about gluten in topical products, refer to Chapter Five.