Friday, April 29, 2011

Balsam of Peru Allergy- Definition

After years of dealing with severe eczema on my face, neck and hands, I was recently was diagnosed by my dermatologist with a Balsam of Peru allergy. What exactly is this said allergy? Well, according to a quick web search and confirmed by my doctor, Balsam of Peru is defined as, "Balsam of Peru is a sticky aromatic liquid that comes from cutting the bark of the tree Myroxolon balsamum, a tree that is native to El Salvador."

Basically, Balsam of Peru is a flavoring/fragrance added to foods, cleaning supplies, scented candles, oils, etc. to give it it's flavoring and scent. Balsam of Peru is sneaky because it goes by many different names and can be found in just about EVERYTHING! Balsam of Peru can be listed in the ingredients column as follows:

Eugenol and isoeugenol
Component of essential oils obtained from spices including cloves and cinnamon leaf. It smells and tastes like cloves. It is also found in pimento, nutmeg, camphor, roses, carnations, hyacinths and violets.
Benzoin, benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol
Rosin (colophony)
Citrus fruit peel
Tiger balm (Chinese proprietary ointment)
Vanilla
Balsam of Tolu

On the no-no list of things to eat while trying to eliminate Balsam of Peru from one's diet:

-Products containing citrus (including oranges, grapefruit, mandarin oranges, jams, juices and bakery goods)
-Flavoring agents such as those found in Danish pastries or other bakery goods, candy and chewing gm.
-Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, curry, allspice, anise and ginger.
-Spicy condiments such as ketchup, chili sauce, BBQ sauce.
-Pickles and pickled veggies
-Wine, beer, gin and vermouth
-Perfumed or flavored tea
-Chocolate
-Cough medicines and lozenges
-Ice cream
-Cola
-Chili, pizza, Italian and Mexican foods with red sauces
-Tomatoes and tomato-containing products.

In addition to topical medicines, I must cut out any Balsam of Peru containing food and severely limit my contact with any product containing Balsam of Peru in order to get my skin back to feeling normal. Living with severe eczema like mine gives a whole new meaning to not being comfortable in one's own skin!

It's hard to eat when EVERYTHING seems to be off limits! So, all of that being said, what is left for a girl to eat??!

71 comments:

  1. Hi Heather,

    Your post is very interesting to me because I was just told after a patch test that I am allergic to colophony. Before I was diagnosed I was convinced that my hand eczema (contact dermatitis) was due to a citrus allergy. After reading your post I am wondering if I might also be allergic to balsam of peru. How is Balsam of Peru related to tomatoes? I recently found out that citrus fruits are coated in colophony and that is why I must avoid citrus. I'm going to try omitting the things you listed above and see if that makes a difference. Thanks for posting. I hope you still look at this from time to time. If you could send me an e-mail i'd appreciate any advice you might give. Thanks, Sally sallyerroa@gmail.com

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  2. Hi, I have horrific eczema (all my life), and many different allergies. I just was found by an allergist to be allergic to Balsam Peru as well. I'm trying to understand how and why the spices you mentioned (cinnamon, cloves, anise, ginger) as well as tomatoes and chocolate could be included in the "what to avoid" list. What if the above items are organic and unadulterated (ie, organic cinnamon or nutmeg, where the container states just "organic nutmeg" or "organic cinnamon")? Thanks!

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    1. Balsam of Peru grows naturally in many of the plants that provide those foods.

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    2. Balsam of Peru grows naturally in many of the plants that provide those foods.

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  3. I was told on Monday (today is Friday) that I am allergic to Balsam of Peru. The problem is that I have no idea what to do. I was told to use trial and error and to do my best to figure out what to do about cosmetics and diet. I have always known that I am severally allergic to Pineapple and most citric fruit and even pecans and ketchup make my mouth itch and swell... so I just thought it was something random and I was weird. So how you I figure this out? How do I shop for food?? Do I carry around a list of names for balsam of Peru and check EVERY label as I go through the store or is there a list of products to avoid???? I need help!

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    1. Hey Erin,

      It's all very confusing at first! But when you know what to look for it's pretty easy. I'm not surprised that ketchup has made your mouth itchy and swell - ketchup has spices in the ingredients! All spices, vanilla and citrus peel are your main culprits for an allergic reaction (I am surprised about the pecans).

      So yes you need to check the ingredients label for everything you buy. It's really not as bad as it sounds. I make a lot of things from scratch now and buying basic ingredients is not a problem, mostly ready made foods that are the issue. Avoid anything and everything with 'flavourings' or 'natural flavourings' in the ingredients list. I have found this mostly means vanilla (or vanillin) which is one of the main allergens.

      It's all good really, I hardly eat any processed foods anymore - very healthy! Anyway good luck with it all, I have just started a blog on the matter if you are interested where I will be posting advice, recipes, philosophies and bits of chemistry about Balsam of Peru - http://thespicelesslife.blogspot.co.uk/

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    2. Erin,
      Yes to all you said. When I was diagnosed I spent hours in the store. So what i did...i started with my basic needs. first, i looked at the ones i had at home (ingredients). eliminated the basic needs that contained the allergen...then went to the store to replace them. It is pretty overwhelming. I do carry the list with me because after 2 years I still have to refer to it and they come up with new names to call it...so you have to update the list periodically. it is such a evasive allergy. Eat no processed food. cook your own stuff. i find that once i got everything calmed down and eating right then i find once in a while i can eat a small amount of something. never citrus though.

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  4. Has following a balsam restricted diet helped your eczema? I have been diagnosed with the same allergy but my main symptoms are chronic puffy eyelids, which can be very itchy. I have found some conflicting information on the internet about what to avoid. Is apple cider vinegar okay as a topical application and to ingest? I am also unsure about whether I should be avoiding citric acid, as that is pretty much in everything including many cleansers and shampoos. If anyone has any advice I'd really appreciate it!

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    1. I am not happy to hear that your eyes are puffy-but it explains my puffy eyes-

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    2. Hi, today I have been diagnosed with the same allergy. What I find strange, earlier this year I had blepharitus (inflammation of the eye lids) round my eye which caused men to have a big puffy eye. Seems strange others with the same allergy have similar symptoms. Could this be another effect of this allergy?????

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    3. Yes, as Balsam of Peru is contained in cosmetics and medicines, as well as food.

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    4. I have a patch tested allergy to Balsam of Peru as well-

      I also had the problem of itchy, puffy eyelids for years before I was able to conclude that I'm also allergic to Beeswax (note Beeswax is a listed cross reaction of Balsam..) - I was usinga makeup remover (superbland) from Lush that contained beeswax- once I stopped using this, my eyelids cleared right up! it has been 2 years and no problems! I also have to be careful with lipstick and chapstick, as many brands of those include beeswax. I still have periodic flares of exczema on my legs that seem to last for weeks on end - I don't know what to do- all the foods listed above are my favorite foods :( (fresh squeezed oj and homeade salsa are my STAPLES :( )

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    5. I am also allergic to Balsam of Peru. The skin around the back and front of both ears would itch and break out so badly they would bleed. I cut out all the forbidden food, replaced my makeup, hair and body cream products with fragrance free. Withib 3 weeks my ears completely cleared up.I miss the foods and really miss wine.Try to eliminate all and see if it helps to clear you up. Apparently not everyone is allergic to everything in the list. I will try a glass of wine soon. Good luck

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    6. I am also allergic to Balsam of Peru. The skin around the back and front of both ears would itch and break out so badly they would bleed. I cut out all the forbidden food, replaced my makeup, hair and body cream products with fragrance free. Withib 3 weeks my ears completely cleared up.I miss the foods and really miss wine.Try to eliminate all and see if it helps to clear you up. Apparently not everyone is allergic to everything in the list. I will try a glass of wine soon. Good luck

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  5. If it's any consolation (Iknow it won't be) I'm allergic to balsam of Peru, chromium, carba mis, thiuram mix and hayfever (grasses) so I'm basically allergic to life.

    With balsam of peru alone it is very difficult cos you naturally assume organic or all natural food is edible but for us it's a very different case, having said that however, so long as we avoid spices (especially cinamin), citric fruits and benzyl products we do ok. AT first you do have to carry around a list of chemicals/foods/spices/things you can't have but after a while your eyes just get used to seeing the names and you know what to put back onto the shelf (one of my allergies means a react to paper to had to laminate mine and looked like a right idiot! lol)

    I found this websire the best for information http://www.dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/balsam-of-peru-allergy.html but unfortunately there is nothing that gives you a product list you can use or a foods list you can use so it really is down to us and websites like this to help each other out.

    You might find that you react to some balsam of peru synonyms and not the others but I react to them all and I'm sure there are some I haven't found yet, lol! I'd put the list on here but don't want to scare anyone further. I've been living eith it since 2011 and still don't have all the answers... can tell you I found a shampoo "e45" shampoo is free from all of the synonyms like citric acid, benonates etc but if anyone on here can suggest a shower gel or toothpaste I could use it would be greatly appreciated :oD

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    1. I have balsam of peru and chromium allergy. I use "Free & Clear" shower products by Vanicream. The many shampoo, conditioner, hair spray and soap as well as lotion. I use baking soda to brush my teeth. I found a substitute but it tasted like soap! Baking soda doesn't really have a taste and it rinses well.

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    2. Vanicream makes sunscreen too. I've used it and it's very good.

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    3. I am use children's Crest toothpaste. It took me severs years to find shampoo. Free and Clear was really bad for me! I used to twice and was mad with the itching. I have had great results with J.R.Liggett's Old Fashion Bar Shampoo. You need to work it well into your scalp or it seems to build up a bit of a film. I didn't think I was ever going to find a shampoo this has been wonderful. It is available on line.

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    4. I was just diagnosed w Balsam allergy along w Bacitracian and Neomycin allergy. Free n Clear is also an allergin.I am allergic to most soaps conditioners and cleaners. Cetaphil Eczema calming body wash n lotion are all I can use besides vasoline and mayo for hair.

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  6. Oh, Cordelia! So sorry to hear about all of your allergies! It's rough, sometimes, isn't it? Hang in there and thanks for reading!

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  7. Thanks :oD

    I literally may have just found a brand to help us with our Balsam of Peru issues. It's not 100% as some of the products have benzonates in them (either sodium benzonate or C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate) but generally they look great, I've emailed the site asking to double check ingredients (as I found the suncream twice without C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate and once with so wanted to be certain) but some of the other stuff shampoos, conditioners, day cream, night cream, face wash, toner & hand and body wash look great! (steer clear of the sun cream though until I get a response just in case! They even have a concealer, check it out if you get any time: http://www.cleure.com/default.asp

    I haven't felt this satisfied shopping of wash products since I had to stop using smellies and they do sample sizes so you can try before you spend a fortune! Fingers crossed for the sun cream, if you know of a sun cream we can use I'm all ears :oD

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    1. Hi! I've also just been told, by my allergist, that I have an allergy to Balsam of Peru and am now trying to find out as much as I can on how to avoid it. You mention you may have found a brand that may be good for those with this allergy, but I did not see a brand name in your post. Could you tell me which it is and if it really works? Thanks so much. Liz

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  8. I am allergic to colophony. I have a four page list of items both foods and products that contain it. I am still trying to figure out what foods I can eat. It seems to be in everything and according to an email reply from the FDA, it can be listed under natural flavors. So the only way to tell is basically to eat it and react to it, then don't eat it again. Which is getting old because I am tired of feeling sick and having blisters on my face. Its hard to search the internet for it because there are companies with the word evergreen in their name and they come up instead of information you're searching for. Basically anything made from evergreen or that is an evergreen: pineapple, bananas, peaches, nectarines, tea, chocolate, coffee, milk, ice cream, coca cola, fruit drinks, citrus fruits, and the list goes on. I have a word press blog called colophony that has the list.

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  9. I am allergic to balsam of peru and chromium. Like everyone writes here, it is very difficult to narrow down what you can and can't have. Basically, you need to go on and elimination diet which means, for at least three weeks, eat the same food every day. This is food that you know you won't react too, like chicken and rice. After three weeks, when your symptoms have cleared, you can add one new item every per week. It is very difficult to stick to but once you do, you really feel much happier because you can find "oh, I can have this now" as you try new foods.

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  10. Hi I've been diagnosed with balsam of peru allergy for ten years, after thirty trying to work out why I reacted badly to so much. I moved to organic stuff and making food, as my daughter was diagnosed with food colouring allergies at the same time. It was fun teaching a three year old she wasn't allowed candy or orange squash but her child minder was fab and she would tell everyone no if offered. Even now she drinks only water, decafe coffee and hot choc. Give her a coke and she is running hyper for hours, give me a coke and I throw up. Families you've got to love them.
    Anyway I don't know of a toothpaste, but maybe research what our ancestors used as that would most probably be ok ( before victorian I mean). I use warm salt water to gargle and for ulcers. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than what my dentist would rather I take even when I remind her I have this allergy every time.
    My consultant recommended Dove. That was ten years ago so I expect formulas have changed by now. Dove deodorants is usually ok if you get the none frangance one.
    I currently use SIMPLE, from bigger boots, and probably online. They do shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and deodorants. All totally anything free. I suggest buying in bulk so you don't run out at inopportune moments and have to finish off with something else in the house that might set you off.
    Anyway good luck and stay strong. It's horrid when it flares up but don't panic.

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    1. I can't find a "bigger boots" line of products, can you provide a link, please?

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    2. I think she means that the SIMPLE products are carried at the chemist or pharmacy named "Boots".

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  12. Through patch testing, we discovered that I am allergic to many topical items, including Balsam of Peru. My allergist was able to provide me with a list of products that do not contain the items to which I am allergic. The website is acdscamp.org.

    I am still having some issues so the next step is to eliminiate Balsam of Peru from my diet. Not looking forward to saying goodbye to chocolate and many other items. :-(

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    1. You don't have to...see my list below of substitutes...

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  13. Hi Busby,
    I am allergic to fragrance mixes and BoP. It is very difficult for me to avoid all these spices because I am originally from India. I am used to those spices all my life. I think I am doing a good job in avoiding them. I have been cooking with lots of herbs and garlic, soy sauce. They are not so clear about curry powder. I am assuming because it has cinnamon, clove and nutmeg in it. They are not clear about other spices like coriander, cumin, turmeric, red pepper, black pepper, cardamom, saffron. I did ask my Doctor about it. She was not sure about it but suggested to reintroduce one thing at a time. She said saffron and almond extract should be fine to use. ( We use saffron and cardamom in Indian sweets.) What is your opinion?
    Sangeeta

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    1. I was diagnosed in April 2015 with a BoP allergy. I reacted to all my makeup, face creams, shampoo and foods. I get ezcema and hives around my eyes on my neck and near my ears. Also suffered with itchy scaly eyelids. I have found the following products to keep reactions at bay for me. I am from Canada and buy most of them at the Superstore, Loblaws and No Frills. There are many President's Choice (PC) and no name products that don't cause reactions: (I am anal about keeping the taboo ingredients, preservatives, flavourings, benzoates, etc. out of my food) I hope this helps the search for things you can eat. It's a hard allergy but it is doable and I keep finding more and more things that are ok to eat.
      PC Raspberry jam (no benzoate)
      PC Shortbread fingers (no vanilla)
      PC Digestive Cookies (no vanilla)
      No name mustard (no benzoate)
      Waterbridge imported dark Belgian chocolate (no vanilla) found at Walmart
      PC Creamy Horseradish (no lemon)
      Pillars allergen free lunch meats and breakfast ham (no lemon juice - most packaged lunch meats do)
      Miracle Whip instead of Mayo (no lemon juice)
      I use Free & Clear Shampoo & Conditioner and love it (no fragrance or benzoates)
      I use a mild face cleanser from Paula's Choice, witch hazel as a toner from Walmart (watch these as some contain taboo ingredients)
      I purchase my eye makeup from Epic Mineral Beauty or Earth's Beauty online. They are mostly chemical free, loose powder products but the scaly sandpaper feeling on my eyelids has disappeared.
      I found a relish that was safe at No Frills (will post name later)
      I buy Coconut Bliss Ice Cream - Salted Caramel & Chocolate - this one is dark chocolate with no vanilla
      Dominoes makes a pizza with alfredo sauce instead of pizza sauce (just watch the pepperonni as most of it has paprika)
      Substitute maple syrup or almond extract for any recipe that calls for vanilla
      Basil is bad! - it is a form of Eugenol so watch for it in ingredient lists. Don't eat pesto!
      I use only fragance free hand soaps. Unscented is not fragrance free. It has a masking ingredient that covers up the fragrance.
      Soy sauce can be bad as it can contain benzoate
      I have not found a packaged hamburger that doesn't make me react so I just make my own from ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic salt.
      No name onion soup mix is ok - Knorr Lipton Onion Recipe is not
      Seagrams makes a vodka cooler (vodka is not aged it is distilled so no oak/vanilla issues) Wildberry flavour that has not made me react
      Most unoaked white wines are ok (oak leaches vanilla in the aging process)
      Motts and no name applesauce (unsweetened) snack packs don't give me any issues
      The only bottled salad dressing I have found that doesn't have lemon juice in it is Renees Poppyseed 1/2 fat dressing otherwise I use oil and vinegar or make my own and leave out the lemon juice in the recipe and use vinegar (half the amount you would use if it was lemon juice)
      Apple juice causes me no issues
      PC brand of Alfredo sauce (check labels) there is one or 2 that are clear of BoP allergens
      Walmart sells packaged cubes of organic boullion that are BoP free. I am not sure of the name but can find it if anyone needs it.
      I can't guarantee that your reactions will be the same as mine but I hope it helps some of you to find grocery items that are acceptable for your allergy.

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  14. I'm so happy to finally find a current blog of posters with BOP allergy! I felt so alone since being diagnosed last December ('14). I have chronic hand ezcema where my fingers and palms crack open and bleed. I go through bandaids like crazy. I'm in constant pain just trying to zip my pants or open a tube of toothpaste. But you all know what that's like. I've been very successful switching to safe hygiene products based on the ACSDCAMP.ORG list that my derm gave me. But I'm having a really hard time sticking to the diet restrictions. Now that I know I'm surrounded by real life "experts" on BOP diets, I would like to request suggestions on alcoholic beverages that are safe. I read above about Seagrams coolers. I'll check it out. Are there any red wines that are safe? My safe list just strictly says no wine/beer/gin/vermouth. What about champagne? Or rum (probably not the spiced kind but non-spiced?)? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated (and thanks MGRANT for the explanation of why wine is bad! I had no idea it was related to the oak barrels). For those that asked about sunscreen, the one that I use from my safe list is Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection, SPF55, and I find it at Publix (in the US). You can order from Amazon.com. Thanks to everyone!

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    1. Shannon, Rum is aged in barrels so I would stay away from it. I had a reaction to the Bicardi coolers. I have found unoaked wines in our liquor stores (Naked Grape (Ontario Wine) brand sells both white and red) that are labeled as UNOAKED. That is what you want to look for. Champagne I am not sure about. The one nice thing about having dedicated liquor stores in Canada is that they actually have a binder of all the alcohol they sell and how each product is aged. Has been very helpful for me. Next time I am in the store I will write down the names of some other wines that are unoaked and post for you. I also have had Danzante Pinot Grigio - Delle Venezie, Italy at the Keg Restaurant several times and have had no issues. I use Banana Boat Natural Reflect "kids" SPF 50 sunscreen but it is the only Banana Boat sunscreen I can use. Glad we can all help each other...it's the only way to survive this allergy.

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    2. Just checked the ingredients in Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunscreen and there are a lot of benzoate derivatives. You are lucky you can use that. Benzoate is a big trigger for me.

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    3. Thanks, MGrant. Now that you mention it, I will double-check with my doctor about that sunscreen because it's on the official "safe" list from www.acdscamp.org, which is what I live by. But this same doctor also prescribed a facial cream that had benzyl alcohol as an ingredient, as if she didn't realize it's the same chemical composition as BOP! Sometimes I feel more educated than the professionals, lol. It's been 9 months since I was diagnosed and I have yet to be "clear" to the point where I can say such-and-such causes a reaction. I have no idea what's keeping my hands so affected! I'm envious of those of you who seem to have it narrowed down. I've given up every hygiene product for "safe" options (including a toothpaste that tastes like Ivory soap) so I'm pretty convinced it's my diet. I have found many unoaked wine options so I feel good about that. But we eat out at restaurants every weekend and I have no control over what goes into those meals! Even when I ask ahead of time, I'm not convinced that they're being honest about the ingredients. I ordered rosemary garlic chicken at Olive Garden and it came with this sweet orange sauce on it. When I asked what was in it the chef told the waitress "rosemary and garlic." As if that was it! No way. There wer definitely additional ingredients in there that no one was willing to admit to. And my family gets mortified when I start asking to speak to the chef. It's actually very annoying. I'm thinking about creating a laminated list of my "no no's" and keeping it in my purse then sneaking off to the kitchen before ordering to have them make safe recommendations. I mean, my fingers are bleeding as I type. These cuts will probably heal by Friday and then I'll have new ones by Sunday night. Does anyone else feel the same as me, kind of lost and hopeless?? Thanks to all for your support.

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  15. I have recently been checked via the skin patch test and came back positive for an allergy to Balsam of Peru. My question is does anyone know if it is safe to use David's Natural Toothpaste (http://davids-usa.com)?

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    1. Is that the only product you're curious about? I was diagnosed 9 months ago and JUST figured out a few weeks ago that I needed to switch my toothpaste. It's taken me forever to figure out what I need to eliminate. Baby steps, I guess. Did your doctor refer you to the website www.acdscamp.org? The codes for BOP safe products are BJ3I05AIQI and 0KGTD526DB, in case that helps. Good luck.

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    2. Oh heavens NO, that is not the only product that I am curious about. I was researching toothpaste when I ran across the Blog. Thank you for your reply. I too, am taking baby steps. I started with switching my laundry soap to ALL Free & Clear. I like it fine. Then I use the products for my skin and hair made by VANICREAM recommended by my Allergy doctor who diagnosed my allergy to BoP. Thank you for the website and codes for BoP safe products. i welcome any more info you have.

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    3. It's so reassuring to know I'm not the only one struggling. I had a ferocious outbreak last Friday and think it may have been a green sauce I had for dinner that turned out to be made from tomatillas. I can't imagine how I'm going to avoid secret (i.e., hidden) ingredients for the rest of my life. I've changed all my cosmetic products and had no improvement, so I'm convinced my continued issues are diet related. Guess I just have to keep trudging forward. I have another series of patch testing scheduled for next month but only because I begged my doctor to test me for benzyl alcohol. I feel like that's the true culprit and I really want to have a giant red flag that comes up that will convince me (and my husband) that this is really diet related. He still thinks it's because I use my cell phone to play Candy Crush, lol. It's actually not funny, though, as I get no sympathy or support from home. They all think I'm crazy. So glad to find other people who are also NOT crazy, just allergic to a bunch of crap under the BOP umbrella. Thanks for listening.

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  16. I have recently been diagnosed with allergies of Balsam of Peru, Colophony, Peppermint, Nickel, and amidoamine. The reaction I had after the patch test was so severe I was hospitalized. I had a few questions pertaining to the allergies specifically BOP and Colophony.

    1) Does anyone who was diagnosed with either allergy experience digestive issues as a result of consuming foods that contain them? If so what are your symptoms?

    2) What are the foods that contain BOP and Colophony?

    Thank you so much. I feel frustrated and in constant pain. I hope that eliminating these allergens from my life will help. I also have an 82 page list sent to me by my allergist of products that are safe to use like shampoo, makeup, cleaning products, etc. Unfortunately does not list food. If anyone is interested in it just comment below and I can send it. It is in pdf form

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    1. My BOP symptoms are strictly eczema-related. I currently have over 20 'cracks' on both hands that are painful and bloody. Thank god I don't also have digestive issues from it. Here is a great website that lists the foods to avoid:

      http://www.the-dermatologist.com/content/myroxylon-pereirae-balsam-peru

      Good luck and get ready to make all your food at home. I hope you like to cook, lol.

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    2. I would like that list please?!? I'm going bonkers here. My face is a red mess most of the time. I have colophony, rosin, and nickel allergies. HELP!! I've had free an clear shampoo and I hate it. Seems to dry my hair out. UGH! Ty!

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    3. I would like that list please?!? I'm going bonkers here. My face is a red mess most of the time. I have colophony, rosin, and nickel allergies. HELP!! I've had free an clear shampoo and I hate it. Seems to dry my hair out. UGH! Ty!

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    4. Hi, I have recently been told I have an allergy to bop and am struggling with knowing what products to use or what food is ok to eat. My dermatologists was no help and didn't know it was in foods so I havd been left to figure thix out pretty much on my own. I would a copy of your list. Thank you.

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  17. Hi everyone. Quick question for MGrant, or anyone else who may have info. You mentioned paprika in one of your posts as though that is on the unsafe list. But I have not received any info from my doctor that would lead me to believe I shouldn't consume paprika. It is actually made from chili peppers, which are also not unsafe for BOP allergies (to my knowledge). So can someone enlighten me as to why paprika would be unsafe? Thanks.

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    1. My reaction to BoP involves my mouth mostly. My mouth burns, blisters, I get sores, or swelling. It is quite painful. Paprika is high on my list of things I must avoid. Although my skin gets itchy or burns, the only exima I get is on my scalp because of shampoo. As I stated earlier I have found J. R. Liggett's Old Fashion Bar Shampoo the only thing that works for me.

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    2. Hi Nina. I have a similar reaction to BoP but also have Oral Lichen Planus in the mouth. Worth checking out.

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  18. I just found out I am allergic to Balsam Peru, Disperse Blue and Bacitracin. My only symptoms are swollen lips. Has anyone had this?

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  19. I also am struggling with a Balsam of Peru allergy. I have severe rashes on my legs, torso, arms and hands. Luckily it had not yet spread to my face. I am trying to eliminate everything to clear it up quickly and then plan to reintroduce to find what specifically is my triggers. Does anyone have advice for eating out? I cannot avoid eating out and wondering if anyone has tips on how to order.

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    1. Hi Fran. I also eat out a lot and find it extremely challenging to order "plain" food as most restaurants are unsure of what's in their food. Even when you ask for something without spices or sauces, they tend to do what they want. It's definitely a challenge. And unfortunately for me, I have yet to be able to get my eczema completely clear in order to reintroduce things in hopes of identifying the main culprits. And the holidays were the worst. I ate and drank whatever I wanted so now I'm starting the year with the worst breakout I've had in a long time, and it's been over a year that I was diagnosed with BOP allergy, and almost 4 years that I've had chronic hand eczema. I've started sneaking in my own wine to restaurants since most places don't know what 100% stainless steel wines are and will lie to get you to just shut up and order something. I think wine is my main culprit but like eating out, it's just not something I'm ready to give up completely. I did print a list of my no-no foods and had it laminated, much to the embarrassment of my family, but it comes in handy if you need to hand it off to the waiter for input. Again, don't trust what they say because they're mostly clueless but it might help you avoid the major no-no's, like soy sauce and vanilla. I guess I'm lucky that I don't have issues on my face. A silver lining? Ugh.

      Is anyone interested in a Facebook group where we could have real-time conversations about BOP allergy? I would be willing to start one but I don't know if I'd have time to really manage it. And I wouldn't want it to get too off-topic with other allergies. I really just want a support group of people who have BOP allergies so we can brain-storm to see what helps and what hurts. This forum is great but I don't get notifications when someone posts. Thoughts? I'd put my personal e-mail here but I'm afraid of internet stalkers who just want to sell me something.

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    2. (I'm adding a tag with the "notify me" button checked to see if that tells me when someone responds!)

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    3. I would be interested in a Facebook group. Right now I am continually searching for information on products, foods and recipes.

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    4. I am a member of a Facebook group called Balsam of Peru, Fragrance, Preservatives, Spice allergy. It is managed by Tony Marshall who has personal experience, knowledge and resources. Check it out.

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    5. Thanks Lin. I have joined and am waiting to be accepted.

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    6. Thank you--I have also joined and am waiting to be accepted.

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    7. I will look for it! YAY! Thanks for the FB tip.

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  20. Hi! I am happy I found this blog. I was diagnosed with bop a month ago and would love to be a part of a Facebook group. I am trying to use bop free products as well as eliminating it from my diet.
    I'd be happy to share bop products that are working for me as well as recipes that I have made. My husband has a gluten allergy so most of my recipes are bop AND gluten free!
    I'd love to find out the names of wines that are bop friendly!!



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    1. Cheryl, I am also researching a viable wine. I have confirmed with Frey Vineyards that their organic wines have no preservatives and additives and are not aged in oak. They are dipped for a short time in oak barrels, but not aged. I am sure there are others, like Badger Mountain, but no one has responded to my inquiries except Frey. They have been good about addressing my questions. I am currently on an elimination diet... which includes wine and beer. I am NOT happy about it :(, but I am more unhappy with this horrible rash all over my body. I would be interested in recipes. I have been eating safe vegetables and some protein, but miss the "art" and fun of cooking.

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    2. I've been buying Badger Mountain Organic chardonnay which is pretty good. I'm not a huge white wine fan but if it gives me the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, then I'm all for it. I also found out it is NSA-certified, meaning no sulfites are added. I suspect sulfites contribute to my BOP allergy. I actually had a period of about 2 weeks where my hands were almost completely healed (first time in 4 years!) and I hadn't had a glass of "oaked" wine in those 2 weeks. Then after dinner on Saturday, I had a breakout and couldn't figure out why. Then I remembered that I had balsamic vinegar with our dinner bread. UGH! So stupid. Definitely fermented in oak. I've seen it made! Duh. I had reintroduced cinnamon, soy sauce (still on the fence about that), citrus, and not seeing any backlash. And then vinegar snuck in. So I'm really thinking it's the things I consume that were fermented in oak. There is a red wine called Los Dos that is 100% stainless steel, but now I've read that some wineries will put oak chips in the stainless steel barrels to give it that flavor. So I've been writing to the wineries to find out which ones are 100% stainless steel, NSA-certified AND don't use any oak in their process. They're out there, we just have to dig!

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  21. Hi I was diagnosed with a BOP and fragrance allergy approximately 4 years ago after a patch skin test. I continue to have breakouts of hives even after changing all of my hair & skin care products. I was provided with this website www.acdscamp.org & codes to get a list of approved products. Does anyone have recent codes for this site? Mine are outdated. Until finding this site I really didn't know about BOP being in so many foods. Guess I will try changing my diet next...ugh

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  22. di, I swell everywhere. I have pretty severe angioedema (swelling of the deep tissues) with my allergies. Sometimes my lips swell. But I also swell on face, around eyes, hands, arms, legs, feet, abdomen (12+ inches!). It causes blurry vision, double vision (from swelling pushing eyes out of alignment), conjunctivitis (burning, itching, red, swollen eyes), asthma, difficult breathing, tachycardia, migraines, mouth burning, mouth ulcers, sores in the corners of my mouth, split lips, hives on my face, swollen uvula (that little bean in the back of your throat), etc. It's pretty ridiculous how bad system reactions to allergies can be. I am allergic to bop, but also food dyes, sulfates/sulfites, many plants which cross over to the entire plant family. I am baking a lot now. At least I know what it is my food then. Im also allergic to garlic, soy, pepper, latex gah.. so many things. I eat a lot of chicken, eggs and wheat. I did not realize that the cross-over to colophony meant all evergreens! The more I learn, the more I realize this has been a lifelong thing.. alcohol intolerance.... fruits & veggies... it makes sense now.

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  23. About 10 months ago was diagnosed with Celiacs Disease and assumed my rash was from that. Went Gluten free and things weren't getting better. Finally did patch testing and found out I was allergic to formaldehyde and BoP. Since I was still trying to figure out my Gluten Free diet and since the BoP was a slight allergy and the formaldehyde was bigger problem I made some changes with deodorant which was the biggie and my lotions and creams and all of the sudden things cleared up. Life was good until about 2 months ago and my rash came back and now I can not shake it. So I just found this while digging deeper into the BoP allergy. Now really BUMMED out with the new list of items I can't eat in addition to the gluten free diet. Oh well just another adventure I guess :(

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  24. ok people here is a good problem for you. Our house not only has colophony allergy but we also have celiac disease. So now we know what we have, but what can we eat - what can we use for shampoo conditioners, hand soap. We are at a total loss as to this.

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  25. Hi. I've noticed that Michelle hasn't posted on here since 2013. If any of you are interested, I have started a similar blog of my own, and I'm continuing to add BOP-free recipes. I hope Michelle doesn't mind me posting this. I just want to help people have a continuing resource. We're all in this together! If you'd like, here is my non-profit BOP-free recipe blog: http://cookingbopfree.blogspot.com/

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  26. Michelle, if you are interested, I would love to add a link from my blog to yours. Please let me know if that's something you approve of. Thanks!

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  27. Can anyone tell me if wine and beers can be OK if you find a complete ingredient list? Thank you for the posts - they made me feel much better. This is my second day of attempting the Balsam Free (also sulfite free) diet!

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  28. https://www.dermatitisacademy.com/break-cycle-balsam-peru/

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  29. Have you looked into NAET to treat your allergy?

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  30. My husband is allergic to balsam of Peru and his doctor had him download the app ACDS CAMP (American Contact Dermatitis Society Contact Allergy Management Program) and enter the following codes:
    N6SSVAN0
    TUIHZ3XKSYD
    It lists every brand and product you CAN use if you're allergic to balsam of Peru, preservatives, fragrances, parabens, and a couple of others. It doesn't list foods, but every household and hygiene product that is safe to use is listed. He was told if it's not on the list, he can't use it, and he should clear up after a month of using only things on the list (must also follow the diet). If only he didn't have such a sweet tooth... the list is super limited and some things are expensive and there are categories where there is nothing you can use, but his eyes and lips have cleared up. The rest of his body is a work in progress...

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