Does Gluten Cause Acne? – The Hidden Protein That Binds You to Acne

What white bread, pasta, puffy cupcakes, mustard, packaged soups, and some supplements have to do with acne? Gluten! It seems gluten from grains can cause and maintain acne.

Maybe you knew that gluten can cause different allergies, Celiac disease, but does gluten cause acne, too? If you can’t get rid of acne, pimples, blackheads, no matter what you do, you may want to take a better look at your food and search for the culprit. Could it be… gluten?

You wonder how something you eat every day, such as bread, can cause acne in you, while in others doesn’t? It’s simple, everyone is different. Our bodies respond differently to food, drink, cosmetics, and the environment. A background of genetic predisposition to allergies, stress, GMOs, pollutants in the air, can make us prone to gluten sensitivity. From that to acne is just a couple of health imbalances you have to go through.

We have come with explanations, links, and also, with solutions, in case your acne is triggered by gluten and you want to steer clear of it.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a complex group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, and oat. From the total protein content, gluten is around 80%.

As the name states (coming from the Latin word gluten meaning “glue”), gluten has given flour the property to be elastic, viscous, to bind together, and hold the shape.

However, you can find gluten in beer, soy sauce, ketchup, ice cream, cosmetics, skin care and dermatological products, etc.

Gluten has been linked to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, allergies, dermatitis herpetiformis, psoriasis, etc.

The Gluten Problem

It is already known that diet influences our health, and it may trigger skin problems like common acne. That is why about 30% of people in U.S. cut down or avoid completely gluten, a Dieting Monitor study revealed in 2013.

Restaurants, food chains, and food industry serve now gluten-free products. If it’s starting to become a widespread movement and so many people are aware of it, it already means something. Gluten is a problem for many!

If you’re among those with a gluten sensitivity, your immune system reacts strongly to gluten. Some of the gluten intolerance symptoms are:

  • Bloating
  • Acne
  • ​Allergic skin rashes
  • ​Irritable bowel syndrome
  • ​Cramps or stomach pain
  • ​Diarrhea
  • Yeast infection

But how all these link to acne?

Why Gluten Causes Acne?

Acne has become more and more a common skin problem in adults over 20 years old. More than 50% of women under 29 and 25% of women after 40 have acne, studies show. What is curious is that they have a perfect clear skin during their teenage years, when hormones are fluctuating.

The new culprit for adult acne has been found to be gluten. It is highly damaging the digestive tract and this affects the skin.

Research shows that the inflammation triggered by gluten in the digestive system will slowly affect other parts of the body, like hormonal production, insulin levels, oxidative stress, cholesterol levels, brain, immune system, and skin. There is a direct link between gut, brain, and skin, dermatologists say.

How Gluten Affects Your Skin?

Gluten has a secret, and of course, harmful weapon that has the special power to make your gut lining more permeable than normal. Thus, partially digested proteins and toxins in the guts off they go into the blood stream.

The harm doesn’t stop here, though, as the intestinal walls become more and more permeable, in time, and through the “holes” created many bacteria, residues, and toxins are flooding into the blood. In this crazy ride through the body, they circulate everywhere and can reach many organs and impair many body processes and functions.

Some people can’t digest properly the gluten (the gluten-sensitive people) and the large molecules of gluten can enter the bloodstream as well, enjoying a ride through all the body.

The problem is that the immune system perceives the gluten molecules as “strangers” and they signal “danger”. The response of the immune system to “invaders” is inflammation, as it tries to ‘fight” against them and destroy them.

Well, the inflammation engulfs the entire body, and it can lead to acne.

The immune system’s fight program includes insulin increase, remember the “fight and flight” reaction? This is like a trampoline for hormones, who jump up production like crazy. One of them is the stress hormone (cortisol). Check how unbalanced hormone leads to acne here.

If you already see the big picture, you realize that your body is on a crazy roller-coaster ride by now. An army of spikes and spears stomps up your balanced bodily functions and processes. Spikes in hormonal, insulin, stress levels.

But that’s how naturopathic medicine goes to the root of the acne cause, offering kind, gentle, harmless, natural solutions and remedies that heal the very cause of it. This holistic approach heals your body on many levels and this healing process may take more time, but the results are balancing, regenerative, efficient, and permanent.

Unlike this natural approach, the conventional medicine only attempts to cover up the acne symptoms. It puts you immediately on the birth control pill, antibiotics, steroid creams, and chemical products that turn your body’s natural balance upside down.

How to Return to Your Natural State of Health Before Gluten?

Go Gluten-free!

First of all, eliminate all gluten products and gluten-containing products from your use. This includes food, cosmetics, and skin care products. You’ll be amazed to see how many you were having in your house and using, without you being aware of that, in the first place.

Read the labels and throw out everything with gluten (wheat, rye, barley, flour, pizza, pasta, bread, cereals, cookies, cakes, malted beverages - like beer, etc.).

Also, search like a detective hidden sources of gluten, like:

  • Sauces
  • Mustard
  • ​Soup mixes
  • ​Supplements
  • ​Nutritional drinks

Switch to Gluten-free Grains

Amaranth, buckwheat, oat, quinoa, millet, rice, sorghum are some options to take into account and add into your diet, to replace the gluten grains.

Eat Anti-inflammatory foods

This is necessary to repair your digestive system, replenish the nutrient deficiencies, and restore its natural balance.

Anti-inflammatory foods are:

  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collards, broccoli)
  • Nuts (almonds, pecan, walnuts, cashew, etc.)
  • ​Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines)
  • ​Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, apples, oranges, pineapple)
  • ​Healthy oils: olive oil, coconut oil
  • ​Veggies (tomatoes, beets, celery)
  • Rosemary, mint or peppermint, sage, nettle, burdock

Drink Plenty of Water

Water will help flush out toxins and wastes stored up in your body for a long time. Also, drinking enough water will allow your body to regenerate quicker.

Detoxify Your Body

Do a detox cure.

  • 7-10 days with only natural fresh fruits and vegetable juices
  • 21 or 30 days of 50-70% raw fruits and veggies
  • ​Adding green juices in your diet (broccoli, spinach, kale, spirulina, chlorella)
  • Drink detoxifying teas

Restore Your Gut’s Healthy Flora with Probiotics

Kefir, sauerkraut, Kombucha, apple cider vinegar, tempeh, are good examples of probiotics that strengthen your immune system, improve digestion, boost energy levels, eliminate yeast (candida) infection, restore skin’s health, heal leaky gut, restore gut flora and health.

Try Acupuncture

Acupuncture can help you reduce inflammation in your body and detoxification process. It also helps you relax, regenerate, and calm your moods.

Try Yoga and Meditation

There are yoga poses and meditation techniques that assist you in regulating your metabolism and digestive system, balancing your hormones and insulin levels, reducing your cholesterol, relaxing your body and mind, regenerating your body and skin.


Gluten is good. Just that due to genetic predispositions, modern unhealthy eating habits and foods, unhealthy lifestyle, stress, pollutants, and GMOs, our health has declined and our bodies have become more sensitive than they used to be.

That is why, things that didn’t bother people before, like gluten from grains, have become a health hazard for many, contributing to various health problems like acne.

Does gluten cause acne? Yes, it may contribute to inflammation, gut problems, digestive troubles that can trigger acne.

The good news is that this is a reversible process if we eliminate gluten from grains and hidden source from our diet and skin care, and we turn towards a healthier lifestyle overall.

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