One would think that refraining from eating foods containing or contaminated with gluten would be sufficient to protect the gluten-allergic from harm. (That and avoiding working in flour mills.)
It seems, however, that gluten has more ways of getting into the body than by the obvious route – it can also get in through the skin.
Every time my wife traveled to the City, despite careful avoidance of any gluten-containing food, she came back with a reaction. For a while, we suspected poor food hygiene and cross-contamination (still a risk). It was then discovered that a cosmetic product that she had been using – only before these journeys – contained wheat derivatives. This was confirmed by the manufacturer, who also advised that the product in question had been withdrawn, although not stating that it was for that reason.
Since then, my wife has moved to using mineral-based cosmetics from JR Minerals who, it should be noted, provided a first-class service.
I have heard since of another story of someone who had to stop working in a bakery due to gluten absorption through the hands. Protective gloves may have been an option, although I would certainly not want to work dough whilst wearing gloves, due to losing the “feel”.
Conclusion – if you you have gluten intolerance, not only do you need to carefully read the ingredients of everything that you eat or drink, but also what comes into contact with the body by other means. You have been warned.