Can Gluten Sensitivity Cause Acne Problems? - Celiac Disease
Nov 1 2008

Can Gluten Sensitivity Cause Acne Problems?

Is there a connection between gluten sensitivity and severe acne problems?   I’ve met and talked to several people that think acne should be considered a symptom of Celiac Disease and other gluten intolerance problems.

According to a recent post over at Natural News, it looks like that is a possibility:

First let me say acne is a result of blood sugar problems and chronic inflammation. These trigger hormonal reactions that lead to increased sebum production, blocked pores and overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria. For a more detailed explanation, please see: what causes adult acne.

Gluten contributes to acne in two ways. First, it causes damage to the small intestine, which could lead to nutritional deficiencies and an increased toxic body load (through leaky gut syndrome).

The second link between gluten and acne is inflammation. People with gluten sensitivity cannot digest gluten effectively. As a result they absorb incompletely digested protein molecules. The immune system treats these as invaders. As it attacks these ‘invaders’ the white cells release histamine, which increases inflammation. Inflammation increases insulin resistance in the nearby cells.

Insulin resistance leads to blood sugar problems, which is linked to acne.

As this happens once in a while, the body can deal with it. But most people are exposed to gluten 3 or more times a day. This, coupled with other inflammatory agents, spreads inflammation all over the body. Suddenly cells all over the body start becoming insulin resistant.

What are your experiences?  Do you know people who have had acne problems prior to Celiac diagnosis, then later had symptoms clear up after being on a gluten free diet?

Article Written by:

Kyle Eslick is the founder of Gluten Free Media, as well as the creator of the popular Celiac Support Groups page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+!


  1. Jennifer says:

    I have had terrible cystic acne for as long as I can remember, and not just at a certain time of month. I have noticed a much better complexion with less inflammation every time I go gluten free.

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