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Dermatology Online Journal

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The effect of gluten on skin and hair: a systematic review


Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is often clinically indistinguishable from celiac disease, and patients show improvement or resolution of their symptoms with a gluten-free diet. In contrast to celiac disease, the effects of gluten on the skin and hair in the context of non-celiac gluten sensitivity are not as clear. This review aims to describe the impact of gluten on the skin and hair in patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and those without a definitive celiac disease diagnosis. A literature search was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) reporting guidelines for systematic reviews. Forty-two publications met inclusion criteria with five studies describing the skin manifestations of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Trials identifying the impact of a gluten-free diet on skin disease, as well as dermatologic conditions and their associations with antigliadin antibodies were also identified. Dermatologic manifestations in patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity vary and may be non-specific. It may be appropriate for some of these patients with skin manifestations to trial a gluten-free diet. Dermatologic conditions that may respond positively to a gluten-free diet include psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, and palmoplantar pustulosis, while linear IgA disease does not appear to improve with this dietary change.

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