How a Gluten-Free Diet Affects the Skin

There are two groups of people that follow a gluten-free diet; those who genuinely need to (because of gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease) and those who simply want to give this popular dietary trend a try. For the latter, giving up gluten isn’t actually beneficial – in fact, this could cause you to shun certain grains that would have otherwise provided your body with vital nutrients. However, for those who need to go gluten-free to help treat a medical condition, the effects can be transformational – not just for the body, but for the skin too.

An Improvement in Eczema Symptoms

Some people experience an inflammatory response in their bodies after consuming gluten. This usually manifests as gastrointestinal problems, but eczema flare-ups are extremely common too. Research shows that those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity are three times more likely to develop eczema, pointing to a strong link between the two conditions.

So, if you’ve noticed your eczema flaring up after you’ve eaten certain grains, a gluten-free diet could be well worth trying. The studies that have been carried out so far show huge improvements in eczema symptoms after a gluten-free diet has been adopted. However, the diet needs to be followed strictly for results to be seen, meaning no cheat days!

Plumper, Brighter, and Healthier Skin

If you have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, then you’ll be aware of the inflammation that takes place in your gastrointestinal tract after you’ve eaten gluten. Not only does this feel uncomfortable, but it also causes structural damage, which then prevents your GI tract from absorbing certain nutrients. As a result, the skin takes on a dry and ashy appearance.

The nutrients that tend to be left behind are vitamin B12, essential fatty acids, and several other micronutrients, all of which are essential for skin health. Going gluten-free will allow your GI tract to better absorb these nutrients, which will give your skin a significant boost.

Since these changes take place on a cellular level, it can be a while before you notice a difference in your skin. Speed things along by topically nourishing your skin with those same nutrients – this way, your skin cells are fed from both the inside and the outside. If you aren’t quite sure where to start, try an organic beauty box – they’re a great way to sample multiple products, giving you the chance to decide which you want to commit to.

Fewer Acne Breakouts

Linking acne to gluten is a little controversial. There aren’t any studies that have confirmed the connection between the two, yet many who have gone gluten-free have noticed an improvement in breakouts, both in terms of severity as well as frequency.

Experts believe that this is due to how many unintentionally start eating a low-glycemic diet when they go gluten-free. This prevents spikes in blood sugar levels, therefore keeping hormones balanced and preventing breakouts.

Choosing a Healthy Gluten-Free Diet

Just because a meal doesn’t contain any gluten doesn’t automatically make it healthy. In fact, with gluten-free diets becoming so prevalent, unhealthy and processed gluten-free junk foods are also becoming increasingly popular. It goes without saying that these aren’t going to do your skin any favors.

Instead, if you decide to try a gluten-free diet, make sure that this contains as many whole foods as possible. Stay away from anything made with harmful chemicals, preservatives, unhealthy fats, and high amounts of salt or sugar. There are plenty of healthy gluten-free options out there, so long as you make the right choices.

Should You Go Gluten-Free for Your Skin? 

If you have noticed an exacerbation in skin problems after consuming gluten, then a gluten-free diet would be worth trying. However, if you find that your skin improves after cutting out gluten, then this points to you having a gluten sensitivity, or even Celiac disease, making a visit to your doctor a must.

For those of you who haven’t seen a link between skin problems and foods that contain gluten, a gluten-free diet probably won’t have much of an effect on your skin. It could even make things worse, since you may end up missing out on certain nutrients by going with gluten-free options. Instead, consider revamping your skincare routine to target the skin concerns that you’re dealing with. If you still don’t see an improvement, a visit to a dermatologist is what you need – they’ll come up with a customized treatment plan that’ll bring your skin the radiant glow you’ve been seeking.

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Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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