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Gluten intolerance (GI) affects around 3 million people in the United States, according to This intolerance can cause anything from skin conditions like rashes, acne or swelling, to digestive issues like bloating, constipation or diarrhea. More serious conditions include migraines, anemia, osteoporosis and lymphoma. While the jury is out over whether gluten must be ingested to cause a reaction, most people err on the side of caution. Many Mary Kay customers with this condition need to know if their favorite products are gluten-free and safe for them to use.

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Gluten in Body and Skin Care Products

While it is clear that avoiding food that contains gluten is a must, it is still unclear whether gluten is OK in body and skin care products. There are experts who say the protein in gluten does not get absorbed by the skin because it is too large to pass through, but other experts claim otherwise. Dr. Kenneth Fine of Enterolabs has stated that "gluten sensitivity is a systemic immune reaction to gluten anywhere in the body, not just that entering the body via the gut. Therefore, topically applied lotions, creams, shampoos, etc. containing gluten would indeed provide a source of gluten to the body, and we therefore recommend all such products be discontinued for optimal health."

Gluten and Lip Products

Most agree that lip products or any other products that could find their way into the mouth should not be used if they contain gluten. Accidentally consuming a lip product containing gluten triggers the same response in the body as eating a food that contains gluten. However, it is a matter of personal judgment whether or not to use gluten-free products elsewhere on the body. Some people choose to play it safe and search out gluten-free products. Others do not feel the risk is great enough to make the extra hassle and expense worthwhile.

Finding Gluten and Oat Free Products

If you choose to use gluten-free products, you have plenty of products to choose from, and most manufacturers either have the ingredients listed or will tell you which of their products contain gluten. Those who wish to go gluten-free also usually avoid oat extract as well, since most oat products are manufactured alongside wheat products and are cross-contaminated by gluten.

Mary Kay and Gluten

Mary Kay Cosmetics is one of the lines that is primarily wheat- and oat-free. Even though Mary Kay has a few products that contain wheat and oat extracts, each product is manufactured individually so there is no danger of cross-contamination.

Gluten-Free Mary Kay Products

Out of the Mary Kay regular product line, only the Advanced Moisture Renewal Treatment Cream, MK Signature Concealers and Eye Primer, TimeWise Targeted Action Eye Revitalizer and Line Reducer, and Revitalizing Mask #2 contain glutens. The rest of the Mary Kay line is free of glutens. This includes all foundations, color cosmetics, pencils, lip products, body products and most of the skin care line. Always feel free to ask your consultant about any allergy concerns. She can easily get product information for you.