As a society, we are aware of food intolerances, and how they affect our lives. The last few years have seen a rise in the number of people getting tested for food intolerances. This has resulted in more people modifying their lifestyles to fit.
One food ingredient which has been in the spotlight recently is gluten. This is a type of protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Some people suffer from gluten sensitivity. This means their bodies are unable to digest the protein like normal.
If you’re gluten intolerant, you may observe a range of symptoms. One way this sensitivity manifests is through certain skin conditions. Dry skin and cases of psoriasis and eczema are higher among those with intolerances to gluten. The scalp is one of the prime areas affected.
If you have a persistently dry scalp and wondering whether it might be because of a gluten intolerance, read on. We’re going to examine the correlation between gluten sensitivities and scalp conditions.
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Gluten intolerance has become a common condition in the last few years. Millions of people follow gluten-free diets because of the perceived health benefits – despite the fact that only a fraction of these people are intolerant to gluten.
When someone is allergic to gluten, their immune system attacks the proteins as though they were harmful. This triggers an inflammatory response in the body, which can cause irritated and inflamed skin. This occurs in about 40% of those with gluten sensitivities and can manifest as eczema, psoriasis, erythema or simply a dry scalp.
It can also cause a range of other symptoms and side-effects. These can include gastrointestinal pain or distress, joint pain, fatigue, and headaches. If you think you might have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, it’s best to speak to a doctor about getting a thorough test.
If you’re familiar with the gluten-free movement, you may have heard of something called celiac disease. Many wonder whether having celiac disease and a gluten intolerance are the same thing. In fact, they’re very different.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine when gluten is consumed. Gluten sensitivity is different – it’s said to involve a different immune reaction, and has not yet been classed as a form of autoimmune condition.
That said, the symptoms of both conditions can be very similar. These symptoms can include digestive problems, bloating, depression and hormone problems – as well as skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, acne and dry skin on the scalp.
Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are both conditions which affect the digestive system. So why does it lead to symptoms like a dry, itchy scalp?
The answer is fairly simple. If your intestine struggles to process gluten, it might react by becoming inflamed. This is the standard reaction when the body is having a hard time coping with a ‘foreign invader,’ or a substance it isn’t compatible with. The inflammation can cause damage to the intestine, which then allows some of the gluten molecules to get into the immune system.
Naturally, the body then attacks the gluten molecules in the immune system. This reaction causes flare-ups of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and a specific condition called dermatitis herpetiformis – which we’ll touch on now.
Dermatitis herpetiformis (sometimes known simply as ‘gluten rash’) is a condition that affects the skin. It usually occurs on the knees, elbows, back, buttocks and yes, the scalp. It causes an itchy, burning sensation on the skin it affects, as well as a tell-tale rash that can be hard to get rid of.
Statistics show that men are more likely to develop dermatitis herpetiformis than women. The rash usually begins in the 20s or 30s, but there have been unfortunate cases where it started as early as childhood. It is one of the itchiest rashes you can experience, and anyone diagnosed with this condition must immediately remove gluten from their diet.
If you have a dry scalp (or dermatitis herpetiformis) that is caused by gluten intolerance or celiac disease, it’s natural that you’ll want to learn how to treat it. A dry, itchy scalp can cause real discomfort in your day-to-day life. It can be distracting and even painful, but constant worry about scabs or flakes of skin being visible to others.
Of course, the most important thing to do if you have a gluten intolerance is to remove gluten from your diet completely. This is the key factor in addressing your dry scalp. Even if you’re following every other treatment under the sun, if there’s still gluten in your diet, you’re putting yourself at risk of developing that dry scalp again.
However, if you’re looking for treatments to complement your gluten-free diet, there are plenty to choose from.Let’s take a look at a few options, both over-the-counter and natural remedies.
Let’s take a look at a few options, both over-the-counter and natural remedies:
One of the first things you’ll need to do if you’re suffering from a dry scalp is to look at your hair-washing regime. Throw out anything that isn’t natural and organic. Chemicals and other artificial substances in many hair products can aggravate your dry scalp and make matters worse.
A natural, organic shampoo and conditioner packed with powerful ingredients will help soothe your dry scalp. Honeyskin Hair And Scalp Therapy Dry Scalp Shampoo and Conditioner is a great option to choose. It contains manuka honey, which has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as the ability to nourish and cleanse your scalp. Aloe vera is also a key ingredient. This natural substance can soothe the burning sensation you might get from an itchy scalp or dermatitis herpetiformis.
The shampoo and conditioner also have a pH of 5.5, which matches your scalp and hair closely. Dry skin is alkaline, and this pH-balance haircare product can help restore much-needed balance to your scalp.
Perhaps most importantly for those with a gluten intolerance, this shampoo and conditioner set is completely gluten-free. Many people don’t consider whether there might be gluten in their hair products – they associate it with food online. But gluten can sneak its way into many of the items we use every day, so it’s vital to ensure you’re cutting it out wherever possible.
This all-natural shampoo is perfect for preventing itching. When you have a dry, itchy scalp, it can affect how you go about your day. This organic formula helps to soothe the skin, with an aloe vera base that provides much-needed relief.PURA D’OR Scalp Therapy Anti-Dandruff Shampoo contains a wide variety of natural, powerful ingredients. These include aloe vera, tea tree oil, biotin, vitamins B and E and argan oil, all of which have been proven to nourish and heal the scalp.
This shampoo is safe and mild enough to use on a daily basis, so it’s ideal if you need regular relief. It contains no sulfates, no parabens and no harmful ingredients that might compromise the scalp’s healing process. It’s also totally gluten-free, so you don’t need to worry about introducing more gluten into your system after you’ve cut it out of your diet. A complementary conditioner is also available to ensure your hair looks its best with every wash.
Another all-natural haircare range, this duo is packed with virgin hemp seed oil. They contain plenty of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, which hydrate the hair and scalp wonderfully.
The Wonder Seed Hemp Shampoo and Conditioner is ideal for those with problematic scalps. This could be as a result of gluten intolerance, or any of the other causes of a dry, itchy scalp. It helps to balance the natural oil profile of the scalp, as well as offering relief from the itchiness thanks to organic aloe vera. It also contains ginseng extract, camphor essential oil, mandarin, white oil (for a beautiful scent) and nettle extract, all of which are great for the hair.
Of course, this natural shampoo and conditioner set is free of toxins and artificial ingredients. The fragrance comes from natural oils, and the nourishing properties of the shampoo and conditioner come from totally organic ingredients. It’s vegan-friendly, 100% cruelty-free, and most importantly, gluten-free.
If you’re looking for a product to take the edge off an itchy scalp, this serum is ideal. It combines organic and all-natural ingredients, many of which have antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. This helps to relieve the itching from the dry scalp, as well as creating the perfect conditions for the scalp to heal.
Ingredients include jojoba oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, castor oil and olive oil, all of which are organic. Dry Scalp Anti-Itch Serum contains hemp seed oil, lavender and rosemary essential oils, and all-important vitamin E which soothes the scalp and promotes healing.
Many people like to choose home remedies and solutions to their ailments – especially if they’re on medication of some sort. These natural, gentle solutions are a great way to complement oral or topical treatments you may have been given by your doctor.
Many of the shampoos and hair products listed here have tea tree oil as the main ingredient, and it’s easy to see why. This simple natural substance has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it’s ideal for killing and preventing infections on the scalp. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, which means it can help with the itching and irritation caused by a gluten intolerance.
To use tea tree oil on your scalp:
Tea tree oil can be irritating if used without first diluting it – take care not to irritate your scalp even further.
This is another ingredient that you might find lying around the house. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, which means it can help soothe the itching caused by your dry scalp.
As we mentioned before, pH levels are vital on the scalp. If the scalp becomes too alkaline, it can get itchy and dry. Apple cider vinegar helps to balance out the pH levels of the scalp, restoring it to a level where itching and irritation won’t occur.
To introduce apple cider vinegar into your hair routine, you can do the following:
Of course, all of these tips are meaningless unless you can cut the gluten out of your diet too. If the gluten is the cause of your dry scalp or dermatitis herpetiformis, you won’t see results unless you remove the gluten.
Here are some great tips for getting started with a gluten-free lifestyle:
Having an intolerance to gluten can be stressful – especially if you’re finding it hard to cut gluten from your life. It can cause so many problems within the body, from digestive problems to irritated skin. If you have a dry scalp caused by gluten intolerance, it can cause embarrassment, irritation and even pain.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can combat the problem. Of course, the most important thing to do is work with your doctor to find a gluten-free lifestyle that suits you. Removing gluten is key in addressing your intolerance and helping your dry scalp to heal.
There are also lots of other things you can do in the meantime for relief. There are dozens of wonderful, natural hair care products out there designed to help nourish dry scalps and prevent irritation. From regular shampoos to organic serums, you have lots of options to make the healing process easier.
You can also opt for natural solutions to your dry scalp issue. Apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil and other substances like lemon juice and baking soda can all be used as masks or temporary treatments. They’ll help reduce irritation on your scalp and provide some relief while you’re waiting for your gluten-free diet to work its magic.
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