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Dermatology Online Journal

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Systemic contact dermatitis related to alcoholic beverage consumption

  • Author(s): Ramachandran, Vignesh;
  • Cline, Abigail;
  • Summey, Brett T;
  • Feldman, Steven R
  • et al.

Systemic contact dermatitis is a rash secondary to systemic exposure to allergens after sensitization. Numerous agents are implicated including Balsam of Peru, a plant-derived compound often used for flavoring and fragrance. Alcoholic beverages can contain many possible allergens, including cinnamon, vanilla, citrus peels, and Balsam of Peru. Herein, we describe two patients presenting with recurrent, diffuse, erythematous, and pruritic cutaneous eruptions suspicious for contact dermatitis. Based on clinical history, exam, and formal and at-home patch testing results, we believe the most likely etiology was Balsam of Peru within the alcohol beverages leading to systemic contact dermatitis. Both patients markedly improved after avoidance of their alcoholic beverages. Overall, systemic contact dermatitis secondary to alcohol consumption is a rare phenomenon, whereas Balsam of Peru is a relatively common allergen. Suspicion must be high to identify possible allergens (including Balsam of Peru) exposure within alcoholic beverages such as artificial flavorings, aromas, and mixtures.

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