In my daily work of helping people have healthy, happy skin, I often get asked, what is Balsam of Peru? Also knows as Peru Balsam. And people ask this because it is often one of the allergens that you get tested for in skin patch tests. In fact, when I had my skin patch tests done, way back in the 90’s, Balsam of Peru was a major issue for me, it was the patch that came up the reddest, itchiest and lumpiest, and took ages to go down.
What is Balsam of Peru?
It’s a resin that comes out of trees, often found growing in South America. It is used in skincare and perfumes, and is a major cause of skincare irritation and allergies. It is sticky and has a pleasant sweet smell, hence why it gets used in skincare and hair care products. It is completely natural; people get confused and think, because it causes skin allergies, that it must be synthetic, but it is natural. It is possible to be allergic to natural ingredients, which is why it is so important to read skincare labels.
Because of it’s sticky, thick nature, it is often used as a perfume fixative – ie it makes your perfume smell stay on longer. This means, if it is used as a perfume fixer, it may not be listed separately on ingredient labels, it may be just covered by the ingredient “perfume / parfam / fragrance.” For this reason, if you are allergic to it, it is best to avoid products that also contain this description
It is also used because it has healing benefits – such as in sore throat/cough medicines and for haemorrhoid creams.
If you are allergic to it, and you use it on your skin, you will get sore red skin, possibly with blistering and oozing. It will also mostly likely be very itchy
How is it listed on skincare?
You will need to look out for MYROXYLON PEREIRAE or PERUVIAN BALSAM on the back of skicnare labels.
None of my products contain Balsam of Peru so you can shop all the LJ range safe in the knowledge that it won’t affect you.
Is it the same as Benzoin?
Benzoin is an essential oil, but it is not the same as Balsam of Peru, although it contains some similar properties. If you have been told to avoid Benzoin then I do use this in some of my products, but you will see it very clearly listed as Styrax benzoin. The natural elements that occur within benzoin are Benzoic, Cinnamic (Acids), Benzoic aldehyde, Vanillin (Aldehydes), Benzyl benzoate (Esther). If you have any questions about this then do contact me.
If you have had a reaction to a skincare product, because it contains Balsam of Peru, then try using Scratchy Balm, as this helps most people to calm and soothe irritated skin.
If you have other skincare allergies, you can read lots more on my other blogs about linalool and limonene. And I have a whole book available to dowload on how to understand your linalool and limonene allergy.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
If you want to ready my eczema book to help to understand more about how to have health skin naturally then download it here.
And finally you can read more about it here: www.allergyuk.org/resources/balsam-of-peru/