What does it mean if you have ‘gluten, wine, or dairy face’

“Gluten, wine and dairy face” aren’t intended to be derogatory terms, they are the phrases used to characterize certain classic skin symptoms often seen by…

Do you have the gluten, wine or dairy face? (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

“Gluten, wine and dairy face” aren’t intended to be derogatory terms, they are the phrases used to characterize certain classic skin symptoms often seen by doctors and aestheticians, proving that–whether we realize it or not–our regular diet has a major impact on our appearance.

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To prove this point, celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury invited her personal doctor and aesthetician, Dr. Nigma Talib, to the release event of Tilbury’s new makeup line. While there, Dr. Talib gave “face readings” to attendees, pointing out how issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, hormonal imbalances, or polycystic ovaries can create a certain appearance in someone’s skin. More commonly, however, Dr. Talib was on the lookout for signs of gluten, wine and dairy, three components of a diet that can wreak havoc on the face.

“I saw at least 100 people that day and everything I was telling them was spot-on. You can see so much about somebody’s health from their face, in terms of texture, pigmentation, spots or blemishes, creases in the skin and so on,” she said to the New York Observer. “Dairy face, wine face and gluten face. Dairy face is quite bloated with dark circles, wine face is dehydrated, so lines are more pronounced, and gluten face is actually belly bloat, which also shows up as puffiness in the face.”

Though she is sought-after for her skin care techniques, Dr. Talib is a registered naturopathic doctor from London. She counts Sienna Miller and Guy Richie’s fiancé, Jacqui Ainsley, among her regular London clients, and gave face readings at the makeup release to attendees likes Kim Kardashian, Kate Bosworth and Lily Allen, among others. This year, Dr. Talib will join forces with medical doctor Keith Berkovitz in New York City where the duo will offer alternative, integrated methods with a modern Western practice.

In the practice, Dr. Talib will advise women about what she calls “gut aging,” or how certain dietary choices impact youthful and healthy skin.

The focus on diet and skin health isn’t new, and despite the fact that doctors were once told diet had no impact on skin conditions like acne, people held on to the belief that such problems could be controlled through proper nutrition. Now, it appears the public was correct, and professionals around the globe are advising diet changes to help once “uncurable” skin issues.

“I’ve had patients who said they stopped dairy and their acne got better,”  Cheryl Karcher, MD, a New York dermatologist, told WebMD. “You can have a totally healthy diet without dairy. If a patient feels that is a possible problem, there’s nothing wrong with trying it as long as they’re followed by someone to make sure they’re getting a balanced diet.”

“In my skin-care practice, I’d often take people off all dairy products, which is kind of unheard of for RDs to do, but it made a huge difference,” Carmina McGee, MS, RD, a dietitian in Ventura, California, also told WebMD.

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Dr. Talib believes proper education about how foods affect skin can–and already did–lead to a slow down in the popularity of cosmetic anti-aging procedures like Botox, which can actually make the face appear older when up-close-and-personal.

“It’s texture that’s more important,” she explained. “Kim Kardashian might look flawless in photographs, but all the Botox and fillers mean she looks like an alien close up. And under all the makeup, you can see some bumps on her face. I wonder what she looks like without it.”