Gluten & Skin Conditions: Is There a Connection?
I have personally suffered from eczema for most of my life. For those of you who’ve also experienced dealing with a skin condition, you know it’s no fun! I was already self-conscious about my weight—being self-conscious about my skin just made things even worse.
When I first really committed to and started my weight loss journey, I cut out gluten. I did this because I noticed it made me feel tired, heavy, and bloated as well as because I knew it would help me stay from some of my trigger foods and cravings.
Cutting gluten completely out of my diet had a really unexpected effect—I felt SO much better! I didn’t expect that simply removing gluten from my diet would make such a big change for me, but it did. And it didn’t just come down to weight loss, less bloat, and more energy. I was so shocked to find that my eczema also almost entirely cleared up! A skin condition I’d struggled with for so long was now better than it had ever been in my life.
I didn’t really put two and two together, though, until a year or two later when I had finally reached my weight loss goal and started experimenting with adding things back into my diet, like bread. So quickly after eating gluten, my eczema returned in the form of a rash behind/under my ears and down my neck. I had gluten just that once, but the rash took about a WEEK to go away. This truly proved to me that gluten sensitivity is no joke—and that you don’t have to be Celiac to want to avoid the negative effects gluten can have on the body.
This experience prompted some research—apparently gluten is connected to a lot of skin conditions, not just eczema!
There’s dermatitis herpetiformis, a rash considered to be the skin manifestation of celiac disease, as well as eczema, psoriasis, acne, chronic dry skin, hives, alopecia areata, keratosis pilaris (chicken skin), atopic dermatitis, Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis (RAS), Vitiligo, and more.
I have a friend who had a persistent bright red puffy rash all down her neck for years and nothing she did handled it—until she went gluten free. I have two other friends who both had terrible, terrible acne all over their face and nothing helped—until they cut out gluten.
It’s not just celiac disease that can cause severe reactions to gluten, it might just be gluten sensitivity—which currently affects 20 million people in the US and rising. Some doctors have even started calling it an epidemic!
So—moral of the story, if you have a pesky, unwanted skin condition (or digestive issue) that just won’t seem to go away no matter what you try, you might want to consider going gluten free. It worked for me, it just might work for you, too!