Pimples and Gluten: Is There A Link?

Turns out, what we put in our bodies not only affects us on the inside but can also affect what our skin looks like on the outside. I know it’s not that easy for most of us, but even small changes to your gluten intake can help alleviate or eliminate pimples.

What is a pimple?

Acne is a disease that affects the skin’s oil glands. Dead skins cells (keratinization), oil (sebum) and bacteria, clog the hair follicles and produce what we know as pimples.

So how does Gluten avoidance play a part in preventing acne?

If you have an allergic reaction or intolerance to a food substance (gluten), your bodies immune system sees Gluten as an invader and releases histamine. To protect your body, histamine causes the body to flare up and get rid of whatever is considered the invader. Sometimes getting rid of the invader shows up in the form of mucus, a runny or stuffed nose, or inflammation in the area affected.

Pimples and Gluten

Histamine’s role in the body is to cause an immediate inflammatory response to shield your body from any potential attackers. However, if you have a Gluten intolerance, it can wreak havoc on the gut. So what does that have to do with my skin? There is a correlation between the gut and the skin and studies have been done on this extensively.

Also, if someone is Gluten intolerant/allergic, eating things with gluten disrupts the normal intestinal flora. The body sees this as an invader and releases histamine into your bloodstream. When Histamine releases, it causes inflammation. If your follicles are clogged, this could increase the presence of acne.

What is Gluten and How do I avoid it?

Gluten means “glue” in French. It literally is the “glue” that keeps grains together and give them elasticity.  Also, gluten helps foods maintain their shape. Commonly found in most baked goods, pasta, cereal, breakfast foods, sauces, gravies, beer, and brewers yeast. Anything that says “wheat flour” has gluten.
Reading labels is key, but it’s not always the easiest to find the word “Gluten” on the label.

Common code words to look for that contain Gluten:

Malto Dextrin
Yeast Extract
Natural Flavorings
Brown Rice Syrup
Modified Food Starch
Hydrolyzed Vegetable or Soy Protein
Caramel Color

If you have been unsuccessful in a solution to your acne problem, try to eliminate Gluten for a while and see if things start to clear up.

You may be on your way to a clearer, smoother appearance and may also find other health benefits by eliminating the Gluten in your life.