Gluten Rash

Gluten rash affects almost one percent of the population where the small intestines are damaged because of the intolerance towards gluten, a protein present in wheat, barley, rye and other products containing these. However people who are not allergic to gluten might also face the similar problems and display symptoms very closely related to it. Almost 15 percent of the population may have gluten intolerance. Although there are no particular tests for gluten sensitivity, one can take several measures to detect this problem in the body and work towards treating it.

The rash is itchy, blister like and stinging when it occurs as a reaction to gluten antibodies that move around in the system. It is also known as “dermatitis herpetiformis” or a “celiac disease rash” as it takes place in relation to the celiac disease. Even though dermatitis herpetiformis can occur anywhere on the body, the locations mostly include lower back, neck, knees, scalp, elbows, buttocks and the area behind the ears giving the body the most itchiest feeling ever.

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Although the rash could take place equally in all age groups and sexes but it is more common in men. The male-to-female ratio could be 2-to-1. Among children the one less than 10 years of age are on the safe side as compared to the teenagers. In 20s or 30s one must not be surprised if experiences a gluten rash. At times it also goes onto remission while one is consuming a gluten-filled diet.


  • Extremely itchy skin rash that might turn to be blistering filled with white blood cells or neutrophil that contains liquid. Before the rash actually forms there is a sensation of skin itching and burning.
  • Reddening of the skin with small round bumps. The bumps might take many days to heal on their own or even with the help of medications new bumps can occur simultaneously near the places that have been affected. Once healed, purple marks can be seen for a few weeks and among the ones more vulnerable to dermatitis herpetiformis, skin reddening becomes a normal phenomena.
  • Skin lesions and scarring at the affected area could get worse if one scratches the body parts that have been affected.
  • The beginning of this rash could be severe or minor but the locations are usually the same and the rash occurs at both sides of that part every time. The rash might be there for a long time or can also disappear and come back.
  • Even though this problem affects the intestines, many patients might not develop any concrete digestive symptoms. This is also not seen in the case of a biopsy where at least one fourth of the patients have normal intestines at the point of examination. However, some of them might have the symptoms of anemia or osteoporosis.


It is diagnosed usually through skin biopsy procedure where the doctors detect particular deposits of antibodies underneath the skin. The dermatologists go for the in-office process taking a small portion of the skin for diagnosis. Being diagnosed with the gluten sensitivity could indicate dermatitis Herpetiformis or celiac disease, even when there are no symptoms of these diseases.

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  • Since it is a condition caused due to sensitivity towards gluten, it is mandatory to have a completely gluten freed diet. However skin contract could be taken lightly as there has not been any scientifically proven affect of gluten products on the skin outbreaks. Even though a gluten free diet may eliminate the symptoms and other discomforts, the healing may take a little longer.
  • Dapsone oral medication is often prescribed to eliminate the symptoms and discomforts while one is working on a gluten freed diet. It also suppresses the skin conditions and outbreaks. However one cannot adopt it as a substitute of the gluten-free diet. Usually after 48 to 72 hours of taking dapsone one may experience itching and new lesions and could not be tolerated by a lot of patients. Therefore it is very important for this therapy to have been prescribed and monitored properly. Nausea and upset stomach are other side effects associated with this therapy along with other symptoms such as Flu, headache, anemia, and fatigue and kidney damage. Therefore taking Dapsone with food is one of the most important parts of the therapy. The doctors usually prescribe smaller doses in the beginning and increase the amount with time. This therapy is more of a temporary relief with long term side effects and that is why it should be a secondary resort and one must stick to a gluten free diet to stay away from gluten rashes.

It is very essential to seek medical advice in such conditions as gluten rash cannot be treated at home and with the help of over the counter drugs. As mentioned, there are no concrete tests to check gluten sensitivity; the ones that are there can be well used to check the conditions associated with gluten intolerance such as Low iron levels, Poor dental health and calcium absorption.

Gluten Rash Pictures


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