Contact dermatitis from propolis

Br J Dermatol. 1976 Apr;94(4):451-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1976.tb06125.x.


Two patients with contact dermatitis due to the natural product propolis (bee glue) are reported. They presented perioral eczema and stomatitis which were recalcitrant until propolis was considered as the cause. Patch tests with propolis preparations were positive in both patients, and, furthermore, in the second patient the lesions relapsed after provocation tests. European standard patch test including balsam of Peru were negative. The complexity of propolis, its supposed anti-inflammatory effect due to flavonoids, and the sensitizing agents originating mainly from the poplar trees are discussed together with the cross-sensitization to balsam of Peru. Contact dermatitis due to propolis should be considered in unexplained eczemas, mainly perioral but also in other areas, as propolis preparations are available also as ointments and cosmetic creams.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bees
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology*
  • Eczema / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Gingivitis, Necrotizing Ulcerative / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patch Tests
  • Resins, Plant / adverse effects*


  • Resins, Plant