As a person with celiac disease, finding lip care products that are gluten-free can be tricky. Many popular chapsticks and lip balms contain ingredients derived from wheat, barley, rye, or oats, which means they are not safe for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The good news is that there are an increasing number of celiac safe lip care options available from mainstream and specialty brands. This article will provide an overview of celiac disease and lip care, discuss ingredients to avoid, and recommend some of the top celiac safe chapsticks and lip balms.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, their immune system attacks the small intestine, damaging the villi which are tiny hair-like projections that line the small intestine and absorb nutrients from food. This damage leads to an inability to absorb important nutrients which can cause symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, weight loss, fatigue, and anemia. The only treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a 100% gluten-free diet. This means avoiding any products or ingredients derived from wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats.
Chapsticks and Lip Care Products May Contain Hidden Gluten
When most people think of gluten exposure, they think of food products. However, many non-food items also contain gluten. This includes lip care products like chapstick and lip balm. Gluten can be found in both active and inactive ingredients in chapsticks and lip balms. Active ingredients deliver the main moisturizing or protective effects. Common active ingredients that may contain gluten include:
- Wheat germ oil
- Barley extract
- Oat extract
Inactive ingredients help give the product its form and consistency. These are also sometimes called excipients. Examples of inactive ingredients that may contain gluten include:
- Wheat starch
Many lip balms also contain vague ingredients like “natural flavors” or “spices” that could potentially hide gluten. Applying gluten directly to the lips presents a risk of reacting similar to ingesting it for those with celiac disease. That’s why it’s critical to use lip care products that are guaranteed gluten-free.
Ingredients to Avoid
When shopping for celiac safe lip care, watch out for these ingredients:
- Wheat: Wheat and wheat derivatives like wheat germ oil and wheat starch are not permitted on a gluten-free diet.
- Barley: Barley, barley extract, and barley malt should be avoided.
- Rye: Any ingredients with rye are not gluten-free.
- Oats: Most people with celiac disease should avoid oats and oat derivatives, although some can tolerate certified gluten-free oats.
- Maltodextrin: Maltodextrin is usually derived from wheat and is not considered gluten-free unless specifically stated.
- Dextrin: Like maltodextrin, dextrin typically comes from wheat.
- Flavors/Spices: The words “flavors” or “spices” could indicate hidden gluten. Look for “gluten-free” labeled flavors.
If in doubt, look for another product or contact the manufacturer to verify the ingredients are celiac safe.
Reading ingredient labels carefully is key for identifying celiac safe lip care products. Look for products that are certified gluten-free or labeled “gluten-free”. For any ingredients you’re unsure of, check with the manufacturer. Call the customer service number on the packaging and ask about the source of questionable ingredients to see if they contain gluten. If the brand can’t confirm an ingredient is gluten-free, it’s best to avoid that product to be safe.
Celiac Safe Chapstick and Lip Balm Options
The good news is that people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity do have choices when it comes to lip moisturizing and protection. Here are some recommended celiac safe chapstick and lip balm options:
1. ChapIce Lip Balm
ChapIce offers a line of certified gluten-free and vegan lip balms. They are free of the top 8 allergens including wheat. Flavors include Mint, Vanilla, and Coconut. ChapIce lip balms provide soothing hydration without gluten, parabens, sulfates, phthalates or synthetic fragrances.
2. Vermont’s Original Bag Balm
Bag Balm is a cult favorite multipurpose salve that can be used for lips, skin, and even pet’s paws. The classic green tin has been around since 1899. All Bag Balm products are gluten-free. The main ingredients are petroleum jelly, lanolin, and paraffin wax.
3. Hurraw! Lip Balms
Hurraw! makes vegan, gluten free, and organic lip balms in fun flavors like Chocolate, Coconut, and Cherry. Their balms are formulated with antioxidant-rich oils like avocado, hemp seed, and green tea. Hurraw! is also soy free and non-GMO.
4. Everyday Minerals Lip Butters
For those who like a natural mineral lip balm, Everyday Minerals offers Lip Butters in a range of flavors from Peppermint to Raspberry. Their lip butters are certified gluten-free, as is their entire makeup line. The butters contain ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, and sunflower oil.
5. Sky Organics Organic Lip Balm
Sky Organics makes an affordable organic lip balm that is certified gluten-free. It comes in flavors like Coconut Mint, Eucalyptus Mint, and Unscented. The formula contains beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter and vitamins C & E.
6. Episencial Lip Balm
For those with extremely sensitive skin, Episencial makes a hypoallergenic lip balm free of gluten, nuts, dairy and common allergens. It’s fragrance-free and contains sunflower seed oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil. Episencial products are third-party tested for purity and safety.
7. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm
Burt’s Bees is known for their natural lip balms made from beeswax. Most of their lip balms are gluten-free, but be sure to check labels since a few have gluten ingredients. Their classic Beeswax Lip Balm with vitamin E is a safe choice.
8. EOS Lip Balm
Many EOS lip balm flavors are gluten-free, but again check ingredient labels. EOS Organic Lip Balm ingredients are certified organic, gluten-free, and 95% natural. Their smooth spheres glide on and provide hydration without gluten.
9. Baby Lips by Maybelline
Baby Lips lip balms by Maybelline are affordable drugstore picks that exclude ingredients like wheat, barley, oats, and malt. Most varieties like Cherry Me and Grape Vine are gluten-free, but as always verify ingredients.
10. Aquaphor Lip Repair
Aquaphor makes a gluten-free lip balm and lip repair product designed to soothe dry, cracked lips. It contains petroleum, mineral oil, ceresin, lanolin alcohol and panthenol. Aquaphor products are reliably gluten-free.
Tinted Lip Options
Those with celiac disease don’t have to miss out on tinted lip balms and stains either. Here are some recommended celiac safe options:
- W3LL People Colorbalm Stick
- Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm
- Pacifica Coconut Kiss Creamy Lip Butter
- Honeybee Gardens Lip Love Tinted Lip Balm
- Mineral Fusion Sheer Moisture Lip Tint
When shopping, look for products labeled as gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and organic for the safest options.
DIY Lip Balm
For ultimate control over ingredients, you can also make your own custom celiac safe lip balm at home. Basic recipes call for combining beeswax, coconut oil or olive oil, and opt
|Coconut oil||1 tbsp|
|Vitamin E oil||5 drops|
|Honey (optional)||1 tsp|
|Essential oil for flavor (optional)||5 drops|
To make the balm:
- Combine beeswax and coconut oil in a small glass jar or tin. Place the container in a small pot with about an inch of water. Heat the pot on the stove over medium heat until the ingredients melt.
- Remove from heat and stir in vitamin E oil, honey, and any essential oils you want for flavor. Honey helps add moisture while essential oils give flavor options like lemon or peppermint.
- Pour the mixture into chapstick tubes, small tins or glass jars. Let cool completely before using.
With this simple homemade recipe, you can create custom lip balm free of any ingredients that concern you. Making your own also allows you to control the consistency, scent, and flavor. Chapstick tubes and tins can be found online or at some craft stores.
While more attention has been paid to gluten in foods, many people don’t realize it can also lurk in lip products. Reading ingredient labels diligently and researching brands is key to finding celiac safe lip balm and chapstick. The good news is there are an increasing number of gluten-free options from niche and mainstream brands. With so many choices of chapstick without gluten, those with celiac disease no longer have to miss out on smooth, moisturized lips.