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  1. #1
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    Default Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    So I made a tincture and then applied a dab to my skin to see what it smells like as it dries down. 2hrs later my skin is burning all over although I have no other signs of allergic reaction. I scrubbed the part where I applied it but have to now consider Benzoin out of the perfumers kit. Not willing to have that scary experience again. Apparently some people get blisters from it. Err...no thanks. Is the synthetic equivalent likely to also be a problem for me? Should I just consider this fragrance note a no-go?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    That is an unfortunate reaction because tincture of benzoin has been used for years to heal damaged skin. They used to soak bandages in it using the medical version.

    What strength was your tincture?
    What benzoin did you use and what did you tincture it in?
    Have you been allergic to many perfumes before?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    That is an unfortunate reaction because tincture of benzoin has been used for years to heal damaged skin. They used to soak bandages in it using the medical version.

    What strength was your tincture?
    What benzoin did you use and what did you tincture it in?
    Have you been allergic to many perfumes before?
    Strength unknown dropped a small qnty of crystal unscientifically into
    10mls of ethanol and tinctures till I could smell it although it wasn't strong. Maybe about
    1 gm worth of crystal. Styrax benzoides labelled Siam benzoin.

    I'm not an allergy prone person, never had a reaction to anything either
    Commercial or EO before. But I am curiously allergic to Aloe Vera, it burns my skin.
    But that's it as far as I know. So saying that I have not knowingly been exposed to actual
    Benzoin before, never used friars balsam or similar. The part if my skin where I applied it
    Didn't burn or colour. I put it on my wrist. But I got an intense burning sensation around my mouth and eyes. I wished my face. Thoroughly in clean water and soap but the burning sensation didn't cease for over an hour
    After that. This was the only new substance I had touched that day. I read up the net about reactions to this and it appears burning and itching are often not limited to place of application. I'd test it again if it wasn't such an unpleasant experience and a tad scary. It's one for the incense burner I think.

  4. #4
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    I think you should go and see a doctor and tell of your experience. Clearly it wasn't a contact reaction as you say that there was no burning etc. where you applied the Benzoin solution. Are you sure you didn't touch around your mouth after handling the solution?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    Illogical that it didn't burn where it was put for an allergic reaction. I would suggest it was a contaminated sample as benzoin isn't renowned for it's allergic properties. It is used in so many perfumes that if you hadn't been suffering allergies before, then it would seem unlikely it was the culprit.

    You say you were dropping crystals? in an unscientific manner, and you have presumably got a small collection of materials you have been playing with there. Have you been handling something stronger when previously using your alcohol vessel? Would cross contamination not be a strong possibility?

    What have you been handling in the last week or so before this?

    Sorry this sounds a bit like a tell off but it isn't meant that way...

  6. #6

    Default Re: Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    Sensitization due to benzoin tincture is not unheard of. It is very important though to know which species you've got: Liquidambar Orientalis (Storax) or Styrax tonkinensis or Styrax benzoin.
    Here's a paper on Liquidambar Orientalis (Storax):
    http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/c...ccp_o_025a.pdf

    A visit to your doctor is advisable. They can prescribe you some hydrocortisone ointment that should offer some relief.If this is due to sensitization, reaction might occur more often to other fragrance materials as well.
    What you can do now: keep the spot cool.
    Feel better soon!
    Last edited by Irina; 7th November 2012 at 12:11 PM.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    Glad you came in. You know fine things about this very subject.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    I've been handling just the other standard eo's that I have. No need to worry about it being a tell-off. That's why I posted here to get others perspectives on the situation. Clearly the ideal situation is that I am simply mistaken and it was something else. Indeed in the moment I thought it was all in my head. Seemed stupid at the time but the persistence of it lead me to believe maybe it wasn't all in my head. My thoughts were similar to Irina, rather than it being a full-on allergic reaction it could have been a simple matter of this being the first time I've had contact with it, and therefore was having an immune response to it. It is an exotic species (it doesn't grow here) and I've not had the benefit of breathing in it's pollen and developing an affinity with it.

    Then again, like Aloe Vera, which is known for being healing I have horrible reactions to that substance. My skin literally pulls tight, bunches up like tissue paper then peels off if I use Aloe Vera. The whole thing feels like sunburn for days. Anyway as you say, I'll see a Dr and try and sort out what this and whether or not it's that material or unrelated.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I've been handling just the other standard eo's that I have. No need to worry about it being a tell-off. That's why I posted here to get others perspectives on the situation. Clearly the ideal situation is that I am simply mistaken and it was something else. Indeed in the moment I thought it was all in my head. Seemed stupid at the time but the persistence of it lead me to believe maybe it wasn't all in my head. My thoughts were similar to Irina, rather than it being a full-on allergic reaction it could have been a simple matter of this being the first time I've had contact with it, and therefore was having an immune response to it. It is an exotic species (it doesn't grow here) and I've not had the benefit of breathing in it's pollen and developing an affinity with it.

    Then again, like Aloe Vera, which is known for being healing I have horrible reactions to that substance. My skin literally pulls tight, bunches up like tissue paper then peels off if I use Aloe Vera. The whole thing feels like sunburn for days. Anyway as you say, I'll see a Dr and try and sort out what this and whether or not it's that material or unrelated.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    Benzoin (and then I am speaking of the styrax species, for these are the only benzoin resins) contains benzoic acid, cinnamic acid and benzyl alcohol, therefor also the esters that can be made with these substances. Several are well known allergens.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Contact reaction to benzoin tincture

    Quote Originally Posted by ClaraAus View Post
    It's one for the incense burner I think.
    That wouldn't be wise - since you clearly did not have a skin contact reaction at the contact site - putting it on a burner and filling the air around you with it might induce a much worse reaction. I would see your doctor before using it again in any capacity.

    Also don't eliminate the possibility that it was something else altogether - getting no reaction at the site of contact and yet a sensitisation or allergic reaction elsewhere is very unusual - I suspect the two events may be unrelated and your reaction has another cause as yet unknown.
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