Balsam of Peru Allergy

A balsam is an aromatic resinous substance that comes from various trees and shrubs, which pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic companies use as a base for certain medicines and cosmetic products. Balsam of Peru is a balsam that comes from the Myroxylon tree, which grows in South and Central America.

Balsam of Peru, aka Peruvian Balsam, is often used to flavor cakes, baked goods, pastries, chewing gums, soda, ice cream, chocolates, liquors, wines and tobacco. But like most balsams, Balsam of Peru is also being used in cosmetic products, perfumes, toiletries, insect repellants and sunscreens. Other than those, Balsam of Peru is also being used in medicinal creams, ointments, lozenges, cough syrups, dental cements, toothpaste and even hemorrhoid suppositories.

Symptoms of Balsam of Peru Allergy

Unfortunately, some people are developing an allergic reaction to this substance and the most common reaction that occurs is allergic contact dermatitis.

The symptoms that occur upon exposure to Balsam of Peru are:

  • itchy skin
  • reddening skin
  • swelling of the skin
  • blisters
  • If the mouth is exposed to Balsam of Peru, swelling of the lips, mouth and tongue occurs
  • Itching of the rectum also occurs if Balsam of Peru is ingested
  • People who are already suffering from hand eczema trigger their condition when they are exposed to Balsam of Peru

Managing Balsam of Peru allergy

Avoidance is key to managing an allergy to Balsam of Peru and in order to effectively avoid triggering an allergic reaction individuals should stay away from items with the following names:

  • Balsam peru
  • Peruvian Balsam
  • Balsam fir oil
  • Abies Balsamea
  • Balsam fir oleoresin
  • Hyperabsolute Balsam, Peru
  • Myroxylon pereirae Klotzsch
  • Myroxylon pereirae oleoresin
  • FEMA No. 2114
  • FEMA No. 2115
  • FEMA No. 2116
  • FEMA No. 2117
  • EINECS 232-352-8

Individuals should also know that the following items contain Balsam of Peru:

  • Air fresheners
  • Beer
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Colas, sodas and flavoured drinks
  • Dental cement
  • Essential oils
  • Herbal and Botanical products
  • Ice cream
  • Lip or oral medications
  • Lotions
  • Lozenges
  • Medicinal creams and ointments
  • Pesticides
  • Scented Candles
  • Scented or flavoured tobacco
  • Shampoo/conditioner

If the individual is able to avoid exposure to Balsam of Peru they would probably be able to avoid any skin problems. Since several household items, cosmetic products, medicinal items and even foods carry Balsam of Peru in them it is imperative that a person allergic to this substance be vigilant about checking each item for this ingredient.

With regards to medicines a person suffering from Balsam of Peru allergy should consult a physician for alternative drugs in order to avoid triggering a reaction. But since Balsam of Peru is a common ingredient in several products avoiding it entirely can be tricky. And if a person allergic to this substance comes into contact with it he/she should resort to using ointments or medicinal treatments to keep an allergic reaction from getting worse.

An allergist could prescribe the following treatments:

  • Topical corticosteroids
  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Emollients

Allergy to Balsam of Peru can be tricky to manage especially if avoidance is the primary solution. Fortunately, there are many treatments people can use to curb this allergy so even if Balsam of Peru is a very common ingredient in many products a person allergic to this substance need not worry about alleviating an allergic reaction.

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