Gluten Free Guerrillas

Anyone have any ideas about skin problems?

After a year of gluten free- I've been eating gluten for nearly six weeks again now, I think.

And mum says I've always had eczma. This may due to the cold weather, but it has got so much worse lately- my hands are dry and sore

and sometimes even peeling! I also have really sore hangnails. For the rest of my skin- itchy scalp, legs, feet and stomach. I seem to have

had an outbreak of spots on my back, chest and face. My legs are the worst, it looks like I have follicitus or something- they're not always itchy,

but once a week or so, they'll be so itchy that I can't sleep. A few other little things- dry, cracked, sore ankles and little bumps appearing around

my elbows, dry lips, toungue sores. I'm stating all this because I've never really linked it my skin to the gluten- its just things that seem to

gradually appearing, wondering if it's coincidence?

8 Replies

Could be DH (dermatitis herpetiformis) especially as you mention legs, back, scalp, elbows, feet and tongue sores. Mine was under control until I did a gluten challenge for endoscopy when it went berserk and little blisters broke on the thinner skin (forehead, scalp, knuckles, elbows and buttocks!). Two years on gf and I still have outbreaks but not related to gluten (other things set it off once you have it - stress, iodines, but not to an unmanageable extent). The hangnails might be low immunity due to stress on your body so keep hands washed.

If you are doing a gluten challenge for your doctor they should give you a steroid and emollient cream to help you until you're through it.

At least you know that the gluten is in your system so you'll get a definite result of positive or negative in your blood/endoscopy test and know it is for real.


As Jacks said almost certainly Dermititis Herpetiformis.

These symptoms are not unusual.You need to get off the gluten asap as it is doing damage internally as well.

I know you've written before about your mum wanting to get this tested but I would have thought there is a clear cause and effect link here - you eat gluten, you get ill....


Hi guys,

Thanks for your quick replies. I did think DH, but I didn't want to jump to conclusions, because its not as severe

as some cases I've seen. But now Jacks has mention the forehead too- I think I will see this through.

The challenge is for the endoscopy; now a dermatologist too, I was deliberating it, just didn't want to be

seen as a hypochondriac.

Meanioni, I know and feel that I'm making myself ill by letting myself eat this way again. But they can't see

how I feel. So much so, that since I've been eating it- they think I've gotten better and am looking better!!!

Its crazy, I don't know if they just don't want to admit the 'burden' and think I've just got an eating disorder

and have convinced myself that these foods made me ill. They are obsessed with diet and health and how it affects

your mental state. So, one- I see why they're so against the possibilty in the first place and two, maybe they're

the ones with eating disorders!


Hi Abby, I'm not a professional, but I too suffer from DH (was 'unoffically' diagnosed at a local derm clinic in Jan - follow on from gp appointment in December, things move at a snail's pace - albeit I'm still waiting for my 'official' biopsy appointment at the hospital derm clinic, in late APRIL!). Your symptoms really sound like they could be DH. From all my various research on as many sites as I can find, the one thing in common is that everybody's experience of DH is highly individual. I've had the itchy spots on my chest, neck and arms for years (not to mention my face which I always just assumed was acne, but which never responded to any kind of acne meds), but only in the last 3-4 years did I start getting terrible itchy spots on my legs, stomach and fingers/hands, the kind of itching that woke me up in the middle of the night.

Before I went gluten-free, or as gluten-free as I can given the nature of gluten to appear in all sorts of unexpected places, I would sometimes have very short periods of respite and things appeared to sort of clear up, but then they always came back worse...

Now that I'm almost 100% gluten free, every time I get exposure the itching comes back and the spots come back.

I would say, stick to your guns, don't let anyone fob you off (I did for 20+ years) and even if you can't get an 'official' diagnosis, try going gluten free for yourself. You should (fingers crossed) notice relief very soon. Unless of course you have other intolerances as well, such as dairy, nuts, nightshades... But cross one bridge at a time! :) and Good Luck :)


Abby, its really tough what you are going through but you have to listen to your body. One of the challenges of being a coeliac are the people who don't believe you or write it off as something else. Its your body and your health and you need to look after it. Show them some of the postings on this website and maybe they will start to believe....


hi abby thanks for replying to my questions before, i also have a dry itchy forehead get spots on my chin and cheeks occasionally but also get itchy feet when i eat alot of bread! its good comparing notes and symptoms but again everyones symptoms seem to vary sooo much, please keep us posted on your test results and i will on mine after i see doc for first time about it on thurs. we all need answers and this forum seems to be a great start xx


Hi Lynn,

Got results from my first blood test- negative, and normal blood count.

My doctor has sent me for my 3rd coeliac screen!! Just because the symptoms are all pointing back to it. Starting to lose hope though, she's not convinced that I have any sort of immune disease because of my lack of defeciences (even though I'm anemic). She's pinpointing depression. My reply to this is - I'm only depressed because the symptoms are getting me down. Then I'm told 'it's a vicious cycle'.

So, basically, getting nowhere! Hope things are a little better for you! x


hi tony62 i have my first appt on thurs so itll be interesting to hear the outcome, i get dry itchy skin on my hairline, and tongue ulcers and as i said on my feet if i have a few sarnies!! i dont eat bread that often tho maybe 3 sarnies a week! but i do love pasta , cereal biscuits and cakes! i havent had any rashes/spots after eating things tho so maybe its something else?


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