Companies are picking up on Americans' newfound gluten aversion and marketing an increasing array of gluten-free products − everything from potato chips and bread to cosmetics, soap and even laundry detergent. A report by the marketing research firm Mintel stated that sales of such products reached an estimated $8.8 billion in 2014, a startling 63 percent increase from two years before.
The idea behind selling gluten-free soaps, shampoos and cosmetics is that in the conventional versions of these products, gluten could be present. And that's bad news. The source of this myth may be that some people with celiac disease get something called dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes an itchy rash and blisters. But that condition isn't caused by touching gluten, but rather by ingesting it. Gluten can't be absorbed through the skin, unless you have a deep cut [source: Bast].
Even for people with celiac disease, "gluten-containing skin care products and cosmetics aren't a problem unless you accidentally swallow them," writes Mayo Clinic physician Dr. Michael F. Picco. If you have the condition, avoid lipsticks and toothpaste with gluten (where you might risk ingestion), but otherwise, you don't need to worry about it.