Balsam of Peru allergy – what should you watch out for?

Balsam of Peru is a sticky, aromatic liquid that comes from the bark of the Myroxolon balsam tree. A tree from El Salvador. The “Peru” part of the Balsam of Peru from the days when El Salvador remained part of the Peruvian colony. Balsam of Peru smells like vanilla and cinnamon because it contains 60-70% cinnaline (a combination of cinnamic acid, cinnamyl cinnamate, benzyl benzoate, benzoic acid and vanillin). It also contains essential oils similar to those found in citrus peel. These are all potential allergens.

Balsam of Peru used to be widely used in ointments for wounds, hemorrhoids, chilblains and burns. Today, this substance is no longer used as such. Balsam of Peru is used not only for its aromatic and fixing (i.e. slows evaporation) properties, but also for its mild antiseptic, antifungal and antiparasitic properties. It has some important uses: fragrance in cosmetics and flavoring in food and drink.

Balsam of Peru what is it in?

Perubalsem Balsam Of Peru

Alternative names for Balsam of Peru

Note these INCIs of cosmetic products, which are other names for balsam of Peru

  • Balsamum peruvianim
  • Black balsam
  • China oil
  • Honduras balsam
  • Indian balsam
  • Peruvian balsam
  • Surinam balsam
  • Myroxylon pereirae klotzsch resin
  • Myroxylon pereirae klotzsch oil
  • Myrosperum pereira balsam
  • Toluifera Pereira balsam

What should you pay attention to balsam allergy?

Allergic contact eczema usually manifests itself as an itchy red rash with scaling. Sometimes there are also pimples and blisters, or the eczema can even become wet. It mainly occurs on the neck, in the décolleté, behind the ears, on the wrists, in the beard area and under the armpits. Perfume products such as eau de toilette, aftershave and deodorant are applied there.

The eczema can also occur elsewhere on the face and especially on the eyelids. Hand eczema is also often seen in people with an allergy to Balsam of Peru. Skin reactions to perfumes in ointments, hand creams, and lotions, or from perfumed products at work, in the home environment, or a hobby, and from touching spicy foods.


An allergic reaction to Balsam of Peru in food can manifest itself as irritation of the tongue and mouth, a rash of the lips or the corners of the mouth, eczema on the hands with blisters and/or extensive eczema elsewhere on the body.

Do you want to test allergy to cosmetic products yourself? Do the ROAT – it stands for Repeated open Application Test (ROAT), it is used to investigate whether you have an allergy to a certain (skin care) product. The advantage of the ROAT is that you can easily perform it at home, without having to visit a dermatologist. However, if a skin reaction develops, make an appointment with a doctor or your dermatologist.

ROAT at home: Apply a thin layer of one cosmetic product in one elbow fold twice a day for 14 consecutive days. More about Roat and how to test it yourself.

While you’re here

The skin flakes, it is dry and itchy. What is this, do I have eczema or very dry skin? There are a number of clues to distinguish between these two skin conditions.

Self diagnostic clues

The major difference between dry skin and eczema is the presence of inflammation (inflammation). In eczema, the skin barrier does not work properly, which leads to moisture loss from the skin and disturbances in the top layer of skin (epidermis). If your skin is red, itchy, and flaky, it’s probably more than just dry skin and you probably have eczema.

Xerosis Cutis Droge Huid Balsem Of Peru Eczema Dry Skin

Another important clue between eczema and dry skin is that eczema gets worse if not treated properly. It can then lead to other complaints such as tears, cracks, skin thickening and intense itching. People with eczema are also more prone to skin infections due to a disrupted skin barrier.

If areas such as elbow creases, knee hollows are also affected. So red, scaly and itchy then chances are it is eczema.

Iconic Elements products do not contain Balsam of Peru

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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