Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Would using a showerhead filter help to ease dermatitis herpetiformis itchiness?

While the DH rashes are most definitely clearing four months into a gluten-free diet, I still have an itchy scalp, and a friend suggested a showerhead filter might help. Apparently impurities and chlorine in water can aggravate (or even cause) dry or itchy skin conditions, especially in hard water areas.

I am still experimenting with gluten-free shampoos and conditioners to find one that helps (as detailed in a previous thread), but wonder if this might also be worth a try. Does anyone have any experience of these filters? And, more importantly, do they work?

11 Replies

I am not sure they would work. The flow rate in a shower is probably too high for filtering to work in the shower head itself. You would have to treat the water supply for the whole house, and that brings its own set of problems, not least of which is the expense!

We use a filter jug for our drinking water because some days the water coming out of the tap smells worse than a swimming pool. I should test it, I suppose, as I run a small pool in the summer months and have the test kit. The smell is actually chlorine byproducts called chloramines and yes they can be a skin irritant.

Perhaps you could warm up some jug filtered water and use it as a final rinse for your hair?


Have you tried a shampoo aimed at soothing psoriasis. I find that does help mine. I also stick to dove products and rinse really well. Once your DH has finally cleared you'll feel better. My DH takes months to clear. I dread getting it because one slip up and the gut problems are over in a couple of weeks but not the D H


Hya, I would now try a natural remedy and I would rub a small amount of olive oil into your scalp and then rub in a paste made of baking soda and water and leave it for about 30mins.

I don't suffer from DH but I get very dry hands especially in the winter and they will crack and be really painful and I use to use Neutragena hand cream for dry hands and it's good. But I was friends with a lady who ran a gf bakery and she told me that I ought to rub olive oil into my hands to shape the dough for bread rolls and as well as shaping the dough nicely, I would have really soft skin and boy does it work, in fact it's much better than any hand cream. With our hands it's also very important to dry them thoroughly after washing which's also worth bearing in mind if you get DH.


Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is anti bacterial and helps to sooth irritated skin and in case you'd never heard of it as a home remedy, it's also used in some toothpastes, here's a link about it:

I also agree with Jill about using a gentle soap or shampoo like Dove's. And I hope that you get it sorted real soon.


And you can just use a paste made with baking soda but just rub it in and then rinse straight away.

Here's a link about natural remedies and one option is olive oil and baking soda:


Head and shoulders has worked wonders on my more mega dry patches...



Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'll ask anyway.

As I have said elsewhere, I have tried being g/f for the past 18 months. Gut problems have eased, but I do have undiagnosed skin problems, mostly very dry lumpy/dry skin on my hands - knuckles on a couple of fingers on each hand (index and middle finger) and the outside of each hand by the little fingers (is there actually a word for that part of the hand?). I've only had it for the last 5 years or so.

Generally my skin has always been a bit odd. It's covered with invisible tiny dry lumps. You can't see it, but you can feel it. It's not itchy, but isn't smooth. The only time it has gone away is when I have got a suntan and spent all my time putting various creams on. It's not often because I burn easily and avoid the sun.

Every now and then since childhood I get what has been diagnosed as eczema - dry cracked seeping skin, but it's always on my outer ears and nowhere else.

For years I have also had periodic outbreaks on my feet. Always the inner arches and nowhere else. It's VERY itchy. Starts as tiny lumps, which grow and are filled with clear fluid. Because they are so itchy I usually burst them to let the fluid out and ease the itching. They then dry out, without a scab and the skin flakes off after a few days.

I've looked up HD online but don't get a obvious rash and it seems to be in the wrong places. I have no idea what causes these skin complaints, but was wondering if others had any similar symptoms.

I do also have a very dry scalp, but no obvious rash. I cut my hair really short (no 2), so it's not usually obvious or itchy. However if leave it for a couple of weeks, it becomes itchy and when I cut it lots of dry skin comes off. I've often scrubbed my head with a brush and used the hoover to get rid of the dry flakes!


If, like me, you are coeliac and have DH you might find your gut improves on a totally gluten free diet but that your skin never really does. I still get flare-ups and have a host of medications for the 'ants crawling over sunburn days' when, despite that feeling, you just want to scratch or rub the offending area.

Through trial and error I've found that certain things set me off - eating too much fish, getting exhausted or having a bad gut and not sleeping, or maybe there is just some gluten trace in my more than careful diet. It's a management programme because I don't think it ever goes.

You can ask for a skin biopsy test but you'll need to have something visible they can take a biopsy from.


what you described on the arches of your feet i too experienced. for me there was a correlation to when i ate chocolate and the outbreaks. which for me was eczema. that was a long time ago. and it dissipated and i was able to eat chocolate. however now i am having skin issues again. have you looked into a low histamine diet?


I suffered from an itchy scalp since a young age and only last year after finding i was allergic to gluten not intolerant resulting in the discovery that Modified Starches are gluten as well. I cut out all the products i had been eating which i had been eating all my life,eg ketchup,mayo,baked beans and everything thing else with modified starch on the label and realised after a bit that my head was no longer itching at all.

now if i eat something and my head starts itching i find when i read the label that there is modified starch in the food.

I also found that even some gluten free food use modified starch as well clearly not realising that they contain gluten.

the only time the itching appears now is if it eat any for of gluten including the starches which are now in everything including sweets which is why i'm now itching.

But it doesn't just do that,if i consume large amounts such as eating a cook in sauce then i have found i become ill as well just like i had eaten normal bread.

my doctor knew about the starches containing gluten as well while i told her what i had found made me ill and she finished my words for me.


Hi KH, if you are having a reaction to moidifed starch even in some gf foods then it could be that you're very sensitive to minute traces of gluten or you could be having a reaction to wheat derivatives.

In the EU and UK wheat derivatives are considered so refined that they are gf but some coeliac have bad reactions to artificial sugars like maltodextrin and whether this is because of traces of gluten or wheat being the grain source doesn't really matter what matters is an understanding of wheat derivatives.

So as well as modified starch there's artificial sweeteners like dextrose and maltodextrin comes up time and time again in coeliac circles. Some manufacturers label the source of the grain used in maltodextrin and it will say from tapioca,beet or corn etc. There are other wheat deriv's that people who are wheat sensitive avoid like the plague so here's a list of some common ones:

Low cal cola's because of the artificial sugar

Modified starch



Glucose syrup




Caramel E150b,c,and d

Citric acid E472c

Please note: Citric acid E33O is citric acid from fruit so will not be a wheat deriv.

I'd also like to point out that this is only for those who are extremely sensitive or wheat allergic so I'm not trying to worry anyone who eats these foods without issues.

I'm just a great believer in 'us' the consumer being aware of what we really eat. And Coeliac UK list all of the above as gf but that only means within the codex limit. In the US and Asutralia they have to list the source of the grain.

So this is just to help those who have a reaction regardless of their gf status.


Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!


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