Uncovering Balsam of Peru Allergy: Prevalence and Treatment

Wyndly Care Team
Dedicated to giving everyone incredible care

How common is the Balsam of Peru allergy?

Balsam of Peru allergy is relatively common, affecting approximately 3-4% of the general population. However, among people with existing skin conditions like contact dermatitis, the prevalence can increase to 20%. It's one of the top five most common allergens in patch tests.

Get started
Wyndly Allergy

Beat your allergies forever.

Get Started With Wyndly

What Is Balsam of Peru and Where Is It Found?

Balsam of Peru is a natural resin extracted from the trunk of the Myroxylon tree, primarily found in Central America. This substance is notable for its vanilla-like scent and is frequently used in food and cosmetic products due to its flavoring and fragrance properties.

Alternative Names for Balsam of Peru

Balsam of Peru is also known by several other names, such as Peru balsam, Peruvian balsam, balsam fir oleoresin, and black balsam. These alternative names are often used interchangeably, particularly in ingredient listings for various products. It's crucial to be aware of these alternative names to avoid contact if you're allergic to Balsam of Peru.

What Reactions Occur Due to Balsam of Peru Allergy?

A Balsam of Peru allergy can trigger a variety of reactions, with skin reactions being the most common. Upon exposure, individuals may experience contact dermatitis characterized by skin redness, itching, and inflammation. The allergy can also lead to respiratory and gastrointestinal problems in some cases.

Individuals with a Balsam of Peru allergy may react to products that contain the substance, leading to allergic contact dermatitis. This reaction manifests as itchy, red, and inflamed skin, often on the areas of direct contact. However, it can spread to other parts of the body in more severe reactions.

Though less common, some individuals may experience respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and asthma. Gastrointestinal symptoms can also occur, such as an upset stomach and diarrhea. This is especially prevalent in individuals who consume foods or drinks containing Balsam of Peru. These symptoms can resemble those of more common allergens such as Aspen tree, Bahia grass, or Bermuda grass allergies, making accurate diagnosis crucial.

How to Diagnose Balsam of Peru Allergy?

To diagnose a Balsam of Peru allergy, physicians typically use a skin patch test. This test involves placing a small amount of Balsam of Peru on a patch, which is then applied to the skin. After a set period, the patch is removed, and any reaction is noted.

During a skin patch test, the medical professional will apply a small amount of Balsam of Peru to a patch. This patch is then placed on the skin, typically on the back or arm. The patch stays in place for 48 hours, and the patient is advised to avoid bathing or sweating excessively during this time to keep the patch from falling off.

Once the patch is removed, the skin is examined for any signs of an allergic reaction. This examination typically occurs twice - once immediately after the patch is removed, and again after another 24 to 72 hours. If the skin under the patch is red, swollen, or itchy, this indicates a positive reaction and a likely allergy to Balsam of Peru. It's crucial to understand that this diagnosis method is not only used for Balsam of Peru allergy but also for other allergies such as Alder tree, Pecan tree, or English Plantain allergies.

What Is the Treatment for Balsam of Peru Dermatitis?

The treatment for Balsam of Peru dermatitis primarily involves managing the symptoms and avoiding exposure to the allergen. This can include medications to relieve symptoms and lifestyle changes to minimize contact with the allergen.


Management of Balsam of Peru dermatitis involves a multifaceted approach. Over-the-counter (OTC) topical corticosteroids can help to reduce inflammation and itching. Prescription medications may be needed for severe cases. It's also essential to keep the skin moisturized with hypoallergenic creams or ointments to prevent dryness and irritation. Lifestyle adjustments, such as avoiding products containing Balsam of Peru, are crucial. This allergen can be found in various products, including perfumes, cosmetics, and certain foods. Therefore, reading product labels carefully and making informed purchasing decisions is key.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is another treatment option for Balsam of Peru dermatitis. SLIT involves placing a tablet containing a small amount of the allergen under the tongue. This treatment method aims to help the immune system become less sensitive to the allergen over time. It's a long-term treatment that can provide lasting relief for allergy symptoms. Similar treatments are also available for other allergies such as Maple tree or Sagebrush. It's worth noting that while SLIT can be effective, it's not suitable for everyone and should only be undertaken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

How to Avoid Balsam of Peru Allergy?

Avoiding Balsam of Peru allergy involves being aware of and avoiding sources of the allergen. It requires careful reading of product labels and making informed choices about personal care products, food, and beverages.

One of the most effective ways to avoid Balsam of Peru allergy is to avoid products that contain it. These can include perfumes, cosmetics, certain foods, and beverages. It's essential to read product labels carefully, as Balsam of Peru can be listed under different names.

In addition to avoiding products containing Balsam of Peru, it might also be beneficial to monitor local allergy trends. For example, those residing in Pueblo, CO or Maine can stay informed about the pollen and allergy trends in their area, which can further help in managing their allergies effectively.

In case of food, it's advisable to cook meals at home where possible, as this allows for better control over the ingredients used. When dining out, it's crucial to inform the restaurant staff about the allergy to ensure dishes served do not contain the allergen.

Live Allergy-Free with Wyndly

If you want long-term relief from your allergies, Wyndly can help. Our doctors will help you identify your allergy triggers and create a personalized treatment plan to get you the lifelong relief you deserve. Start by taking our quick online allergy assessment today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is one of the rarest allergies in the world?

One of the rarest allergies in the world is Aquagenic Urticaria, an allergy to water. Individuals with this condition develop hives or a rash when their skin comes in contact with water, regardless of its temperature. It is extremely rare, affecting fewer than 100 people worldwide.

What can you not eat with a Balsam of Peru allergy?

If you have a Balsam of Peru allergy, avoid foods with flavorings like vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves. Be cautious with citrus fruits, tomatoes, and spices. Also, avoid products like cola and chocolate, as they can contain Balsam of Peru or related substances.

What is the most common allergen in perfume?

The most common allergen in perfumes is a group of substances called "fragrance mix." This includes chemicals like cinnamal, geraniol, eugenol, isoeugenol, and oak moss absolute. These substances are often responsible for skin reactions or respiratory symptoms in individuals with perfume allergies.

What is the top 10 rarest allergy?

The top 10 rarest allergies include:

  1. Water (Aquagenic Urticaria)
  2. Sun (Solar Urticaria)
  3. Cold (Cold Urticaria)
  4. Sweat (Cholinergic Urticaria)
  5. Vibrations (Vibratory Urticaria)
  6. Exercise (Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis)
  7. Semen
  8. Nickel
  9. Wood
  10. Red Meat (Alpha-gal Allergy).

Each condition is unique and requires specialized medical attention.

What is the biggest allergy in the world?

The most common allergy worldwide is pollen allergy, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. This type of allergy affects up to 30% of all adults and 40% of children, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

What medicines contain balsam of Peru?

Balsam of Peru, a tree resin with a sweet scent, is found in some topical medications like hemorrhoid creams, wound dressings, and some dental cements. It's also in certain prescription and over-the-counter products, including some types of cough syrups and lozenges. Always check product labels for its presence.

What is the most uncommon allergy in the world?

One of the most uncommon allergies in the world is Aquagenic Urticaria, an extremely rare condition where individuals are allergic to water. Contact with water, regardless of its temperature, can cause hives, itching, and even difficulty in breathing in some severe cases.

Is Wyndly right for you?

Answer just a few questions and we'll help you find out.

Get Started Today