Having mild symptoms from gluten sensitivity for years, I’ve limited my intake of gluten and brought the fatigue, aches, pains and fuzzy thinking under control. Even the inflammation measurements (gliadin levels) came way down. Until recently, which was when I saw these yummy looking cookies that reminded me of pleasant times, and I started stocking up on them and eating them daily as a reward for dealing with stressful days.
French Palmiers are a lovely cookie that has two basic ingredients – puff pastry (wheat flour and butter) and sugar. Roll out the puff pastry, sprinkle generously with sugar, then roll them up from each side until the meet. Cut them crosswise, then lay flat on a cookie tray, adding more sugar to the top before baking. In the oven, the sugar caramelizes and when cooled, provides a sweet crunchy treat like no other. My mouth is watering now just sharing the recipe.
I digress. Where am I going with this?
Well, after a few weeks of daily consumption, I started noticing acne cysts forming in groups on my scalp. Mind you, it took a few weeks to figure out it was the gluten (okay, the cookies) that was causing it. I even changed shampoos, changed conditioners, went to a dandruff shampoo, stopped using my electric rollers, went to just a curling iron, then went without hair gel, stopped using hairspray, and nothing seemed to make it go away (all the while wishing my then-turned-ugly-and-dried-out-hair would go away), until I decided to cut out all gluten. There it was.
Within a day, there were no new cysts. The following day, I attended a reception at my favorite french bistro, and ate some tarte tartin, and a couple of lovely cheeses on slices of baguette. Next morning, they were back. Ugh!
“Dermatitis Herpetiformis (not related to herpes) is an allergy of the IgA system. (Whereas common allergies like dust, cats, and foods, are a response of IgE), IgA is an antibody produced in the lining of the intestines. The usual allergy treatments are useless.
The rash is caused when gluten in the diet combines with IgA, and together they enter the blood stream and circulate. They eventually clog up the small blood vessels in the skin. This attracts white blood cells (neutrophils), and releases powerful chemicals called complements. They actually create the rash.” American Osteopathic College of Dermatology
The “rash” is clusters of raised, red lesions, very itchy and painful. They can develop blisters or pustules at the tips. Elbows, knees, scalp, buttocks and back may be affected.
The allergic response originates from the intestine as a result of the gastrointestinal system’s allergic response to wheat / gluten.
Diagnosis can be made definitively by biopsy. Treatment consists of very strict gluten-free diet and a medication that does have side effects.
To read more details about DH, feel free to visit this Emedicine.Medscape article:
For gluten free skin care products including gluten free shampoo and conditioner: