Balsam of Peru is ranked as one of the top allergens when taking into account both prevalence and relevance of allergy.
It is derived from the tree Myroxylon balsamum var pereirae.
Balsam of Peru’s primary function is to improve recovery of the tree’s surface after damage.
Balsam of Peru chemical component groups: vanillin group, the cinnamate group, the eugenol group, the benzoate group, the coniferin group, and the ferulic acid group.
Balsam of Peru is commonly used in fragrance mixes that are added to skin care products.
In the United States fragrance on a product label can indicate the presence of 40 or more individual fragrance additives.
The compounds in balsam of Peru are also found naturally in certain foods, and patients with this allergy may also experience systemic contact dermatitis.
Patients allergic to balsam of Peru, should avoid all external contact with fragrance additives.
In patients who were allergic to either balsam of Peru or fragrance mix who did not respond to avoidance of topical exposures followed a balsam of Peru avoidance diet for 6 weeks: nearly half improved with avoidance of related foods.
Balsam of Peru containing foods include: tomatoes, citrus, cinnamon, and chocolate, flavored colas, flavored liquors and teas, and spices, including cloves and vanilla.
Patients typically will present with facial, genital, hand, or generalized dermatitis.
Lip involvement, and allergic cheilitis, is also frequently seen.