Am I Allergic to Beeswax?

Allergic Reaction to Beeswax

Actually a beeswax allergy is an allergic reaction to the propolis,  or “bee glue”, that gets mixed with the wax.  It has taken me over a year to solve the mystery of the exasperating recurring rash around my mouth and now that I have figured it out, I am sharing my findings so you can recognize the symptoms and heal your skin if you also suffer from an allergic lip rash that you previously have been unable to diagnose.

First let me extol the virtues of beeswax.  I love beeswax.   I use it in most of the skin care products I make because it is easy to work with and is so beneficial for the skin.  It acts as a barrier to hold moisture in the skin but it is breathable and doesn’t block pores.  It doesn’t go rancid so it needs no preservatives.  Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

About Beeswax

beeswax - are you allergic?Beeswax is made by female worker honeybees and is used to build the walls of their honeycomb cells in which they store honey and pollen and raise their young.  This wax is smooth, light yellow, and has the subtle (delicious!) aroma of honey.  Propolis is a sticky resinous substance that bees collect from the sap of certain trees, mainly poplar and conifer.   They blend the resinous substance with wax flakes secreted from glands on the underside of their abdomen and use this “glue” to line the cells of their honeycomb and to fill in gaps in the beeswax walls.   Pure beeswax has not generally been shown to cause allergic reactions in people.  But sometimes propolis remains mixed with the beeswax when it is harvested.  It is the propolis (or rather, certain constituents in the propolis) that can cause contact dermatitis in people who become sensitized to it.out

About Propolis

Propolis is a complex substance with many constituents.  A few of those components have been isolated in studies and identified as the main allergens causing contact dermatitis (The main allergens found in propolis are 3-methyl-2-butenyl caffeate and phenylethyl caffeate, both of which are constituents of LB-1.  LB-1 was the first allergen identified in propolis.  For excellent details about the composition of propolis and resultant allergic reactions, read this Medscape article).   The first recorded case of allergic contact dermatitis from propolis occurred in 1915 in a beekeeper with a rash on his hands and wrists.  Since then, the allergic rash has been found not only on beekeepers but also on musicians and musical instrument makers (propolis is a common ingredient in some varnishes).  There has been an increase in the frequency of allergic contact dermatitis in recent years due to the increased use and popularity of products (especially skin care products) that contain propolis (intentionally or accidentally remnant in beeswax).

Discovering the Cause of the Rash Around My Mouth

Sensitization to propolis occurs with frequent or regular use of products that contain it.  In my case, I hand craft skin care products containing beeswax and I test EVERYTHING on myself first.  So not only have I been using skin care products in my daily skin care routine for my whole life, but in recent years I have been applying lots of ointments, lip balms, lotions, etc. to my skin to test them as I formulate and perfect my own products before I sell them.  My rash first appeared in spring 2009.  I had been out in the sun weeding my garden and developed a rash around my mouth.  The skin was inflamed with one or two tiny bumps along the vermilion border (the edge between your lips and the regular skin of your face).  The skin was red, itchy, with burning and stinging sensations.  It looked like I drank fruit punch and it left a red mustache.  My lips themselves were not affected.  I thought perhaps it was a form of sunburn or an allergy to the weeds I had been handling (I usually get hives from certain weeds and grasses anyway).  The rash went away within 3 days.  A few months later the same rash appeared.  This time I had mowed the lawn earlier in the day and had a glass of red wine that evening.  I attributed the rash to the combination of grass allergy, sun exposure, and possible wine allergy.  Again the rash resolved after 3 or 4 days.

Most recently, the rash appeared 4 months ago.  This time it did not go away on its own.  I tried lip balms (herbal balms that I made myself that normally cleared up my chapped lips within 24 hours).  It didn’t get better.  I tried lip balms manufactured by other companies – no improvement.  In fact, it got worse.  So I tried petroleum jelly.  Not helpful either.  I researched “lip rash”  on the internet and found that lots of people suffered from a similar rash but found no answers for themselves even when they saw dermatologist after dermatologist.  Ugh!  I was so frustrated that finally I tried an over-the-counter cortisone cream.  The rash got less angry but didn’t heal completely.  I tried everything – balms, salves, ointments, creams.  I kept a food diary, thinking maybe I was reacting to something I was eating or drinking.  Some days the rash was better and some days it got worse.  (Turns out some foods/drinks did make it worse even though they were not the original cause of the rash.  This list of foods high in histamines may be helpful for you if you suffer from chronic skin rashes).  Eventually I stopped applying anything but pure vitamin E oil to my lips and surrounding skin – finally the skin began to improve.

rash around my moth

Day 1 of lip rash. The redness extended halfway up to my nose, though it is difficult to see in this photo.

Finding a Clue to the Lip Rash

Then last weekend I formulated a new product for my company and decided to test it on myself.  The rash around my mouth was minimal so I figured it would be safe to apply a natural ointment that had minimal ingredients.   This new ointment had a high beeswax content.  Within hours, my lips and surrounding skin were red, inflamed, itching and burning.  WHAT WAS CAUSING THIS??I suddenly realized that the only ingredient common to all the products that caused the rash to flare was beeswax.  That was when my research led me to studies that revealed propolis was a sensitizing agent (frequent exposure to it over time causes the skin to become sensitive to it).  I immediately stopped using all products that had propolis or beeswax in them.  As the rash lessened, the skin around the mouth that was inflamed became very dry and flaky and eventually peeled off.

Lip Rash Solution

rash around my mouth

Flaking and peeling of skin around mouth on 2nd and 3rd days after the rash appeared.

My lip rash is now almost completely gone.  Thank goodness!  And now that I know what the original cause of it has been, I can avoid that ingredient for my own use (beeswax and propolis are in LOTS of products from lip balm to toothpaste).   However, I will continue to use beeswax in many of my skin care products because it really is a lovely ingredient and has many benefits for most people.  Only a small percentage (approx. 4 to 6 %) of the population is suspected to have sensitivity to propolis.   So for those of us who do react to it,  I have formulated a new herbal lip balm that does not contain beeswax.  It is available for purchase from the Zi Zai Dermatology online store.

Be Aware of Your Product Ingredients

Be aware that many ingredients are potential allergens and can cause allergic contact dermatitis on skin.  Read the labels of the cosmetics and other products you use on your skin.  Pay attention to the foods and drinks you consume.  If you have a skin rash that isn’t going away, it is important to determine what is causing it in order to avoid that substance and allow your skin to heal.

For more information and to hear about the experience of others who have had similar rashes, please read the comments posted below.  And to learn more about how I healed my skin from this rash, read my post How I Healed The Rash Around My Mouth.  The comments from readers following that post are really helpful, too, so don’t miss those.

Was this information helpful to you?  Do you have a skin rash that was caused by a common ingredient in your skin care products?  Please share your story with us in the comments below…

Shop ZiZai Dermatology Skin Care Products

Tags: allergic reaction, beeswax allergy, chapstick allergy, cheilitis, Clown mouth, contact dermatitis, exfoliative cheilitis, irritated lips, keep, lip balm allergy, lip rash, mouth rash, peeling lips, perioral dermatitis, propolis, propolis allergy, rash around lips, rash around mouth, toothpaste allergy

Topics: Allergies, Beauty, Eczema, Facial Care, Rashes

Publish Date: July 16, 2010     *Articles may include updates since original publishing.

About the Author ()

Diana Hermann is a licensed acupuncturist and board certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She received her Master Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, OR and trained in China at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Diana treats patients in her Fort Collins, Colorado clinic and hand crafts herbal skin care products for her company Zi Zai Dermatology. In 2015, she completed the Diploma In Chinese Medicine Dermatology program from Avicenna in London, UK. She completed the program for a second time in 2019 in Chicago.

Comments (398)

Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. How I Healed the Rash Around My Mouth | Zi Zai Dermatology's Blog | August 6, 2010
  2. What Having Shingles Felt Like and How I Treated It | Zi Zai Dermatology's Blog | February 28, 2012
  3. That Rash Around Your Mouth Might Be Perioral Dermatitis | Zi Zai Dermatology's Blog | August 22, 2012
  4. “Beautiful Blogger” Award! « eczemaexcellence | December 4, 2012
  5. Beeswax Allergy | Health & Food - Popular Question & Answer | January 17, 2014
  6. Am I Allergic Allergy To Gluten Test | my gluten free diet | September 11, 2014
  7. Allergic To Gluten Listerine | my gluten free diet | September 12, 2014
  8. Teeth Whiting Toothpaste Is Incredible | April 22, 2015
  1. Brandy says:

    Awesome post, Diana!

    • Thanks. I sure do hope it helps some people with lip rashes figure out the source of their issue. Also, after talking with you the other day, I tested jojoba oil on my lips and it caused almost instant reddening. Grr!! I may be reacting to that as well.

      • Michelle says:

        Do you know what brands of sunscreen and facial soap don’t have propolis and jojoba oil in them?

      • Kristin Frisbie says:

        I just wanted to let you know that your article literally saved my life. My lips started being really chapped in the middle of winter. I just figured it was from the cold. I started using every kind of lip healer there was, Blistex medicated, chapstick etc. At night I used zinc & they would heal a bit then during the day I would get sores around my mouth. After 2 months, I started thinking that I might have gotten Herpes somehow. I started using Herpes topical medicine. My lips would burn & hurt so bad. A few weeks later, I started googling images…I found your pics & they looked just like mine.After reading your blog, I realized that I had purchased some Burts Beeswax lip balm in February.I used it all the time, even after my lips began to be sore. I remember them tingling & I just thought it was healing.EVERY PRODUCT I WAS USING HAD BEESWAX IN IT. I truly believe that the Burt’s triggered an allergy. I am slightly allergic to bees. So I stopped everything! I used olive oil at night & bag balm during the day. My lips healed within a week. Now I scan everything. I was so relieved not to have herpes. I have not had ONE flare up since discontinuing all products with beeswax. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

        • Allergic?! says:

          Thank you soo much! Recently I bought some Chapstick and within a few hours of use, my lips got sort of swollen and SUPER itchy and painful! As little while later, they started peeling and stuff too, and looked just like your pictures. I’m glad I found this so I know what’s causing my misery!

        • Becca says:

          After many frustrating years of experiencing rashes and chapping from beeswax products, I started using Lansinoh (anhydrous lanolin) on my lips and hands and have not experienced any problems since. Much to my dismay, I have discovered I can’t use ANYTHING with beeswax in it without my skin reacting in some way. This includes my favorite natural deodorant as well as chapstick, lipstick, etc. Being a natural girl, I have pretty much had to invest in ingredients to make my own skin protectants. My favorite base ingredients are coconut oil, lanolin (close to solid at room temp), and castor oil (leaves a light waxy residue that protects). Guess I have to keep the beeswax for the floor. As a bit of an ironic twist, I raise bees and haven’t had an allergic reaction to a sting yet.

          • Bee stings are a different chemical substance than propolis, so I am not surprised that you are not allergic to bee stings. Good thing, considering your line of work! Glad the lanolin worked for you. I caution others, however, that although lanolin is an excellent emollient, it is a known allergen for many people. Does not mean everyone needs to avoid it, it just means this risk should be considered.

        • Laura says:

          Kristin (and Diana),

          I’m so glad that I ran across this blog post!

          I’ve been having this same issue, and while at some point I kind of made the correlation to beeswax lip balm, I’d never heard of allergic reactions. I was using Burt’s Bees balm ALL the time, for several years, and had tubes of it tucked all over the place for easy application. One day, I started to get some sensitivity along the border of my lips, and it quickly turned into an angry, dry, flaking weirdness that I had no explanation for. I tried a million things to cure it, unsuccessfully (mind you, still using my favorite lip balm). At some point, I stopped using that lip balm in favor of Aquaphor ointment, and it resolved. At that point I still hadn’t made the connection. Fast forward to this past month, and I’d come across a tube of Burt’s Bees lip balm and didn’t have anything else on-hand, so I used it. It didn’t take long for my lips to start burning and itching, and I made a mental note to not use it again. Last week, one of my sisters gave me a tube of lip balm that she said she loves. I’ve used a couple of times to try it out, and the itching and burning started again. I just peeled the label off of it so that I could see the ingredients, and the third ingredient is beeswax. A quick search to see if this is an allergen brought me here. I’m 99% positive that the Burt’s Bees lip balm is the source of my initial allergic reaction, and this totally makes sense given that the latest culprit shares this ingredient (I’ve been using a lip gloss that doesn’t contain beeswax and have been reaction-free for a couple of years – until I used the new lip balm). Mystery solved, and thank you for sharing this so that the rest of us trying to figure it out can finally have resolution (and an explanation)!

          • Lee-Anne says:

            Very interesting as I’m recovering from a severe allergic reaction to a lip gloss I purchased. The chemical burn was immediate and it appears its due to synthetic beeswax. I also used to get a pretty bad tingling on my face when I cleaned it with Burt bees. Obviously beeswax isn’t for all of us. Glad you found your source of allergy also 🙂

      • Matilda says:

        What is the relationship between propolis and Jojoba oil? I developed this allergy to propolis over the past two days. My lips are huge and miserable. I thought they were chapped and was initially treating them directly with honey. 🙄. I have used jojoba oil everyday for years. In this blog i keep seeing where you recommend avoiding jojoba oil if you have a propolis allergy. Are they related ?

        • They are not related, as far as I know. I have just seen in my clinic that some people who are allergic to propolis are also allergic to (or don’t tolerate) jojoba oil. Probably because people who tend to have allergies, tend to be allergic to more than one substance…not necessarily because those substances have common chemical components (although that sometimes is the case).

    • anna grish says:

      I have the same symptoms as you do w/the lips but also around my eyes. I am allergic to balsam of peru which is in EVERYTHING from hair dye to Neosporin to cinammon, including anything w/a FRAGRANCE. It or some of its derivatives iss virtually in all makeups. So keep away from “flavored” lipsticks facial products (esp. eye makeup) w/fragrance (!) or balsam of peru. Very frustrating.

      • WHAT??? It is in Neosporin? I will have to check that out. That is crazy. Thank you so much for sharing your info!

      • Susan says:

        I just finished patch testing after 6 months of the same lip and eye issues as you described. I was Dx. with allergy to Balsam of Peru, Fragrance and Colophony. (all pointing back to rosin from trees) I have been so frustrated trying to identify what is safe and not. Sadly my dermatologists office has been not very helpful. A few printed sheets telling me what to avoid but not what is safe. I see you have been dealing with this since 2012, can you recommend name brad products that you have found helpful? Mascara, lip stick, hair care products? I have found shampoo/conditioner but that’s it! I have spent the last week researching online and still feeling in the dark.

        Any suggestions would be appreciated.

        • Jean says:

          Hi Susan,

          Try looking up your products on the skin deep site of It will tell you what is safe for your health. Whole Foods is also a good place to go for help.


        • LAA says:

          Did you find products? I have a very similar set of allergens, except add parabens and formaldehyde releasers. I can recommend Free & Clear shampoo and conditioner (Walgreens) or Stoneybrook shampoo and conditioner (which you can buy on Amazon). I can only use Kirk’s Castile soap (the fragrance free/unscented bar, I buy in bulk online from Walgreens) or home-made. Vanicream bar soap worked for a while but it has some ingredients I react to. For makeup, Nessa’s Naturals. She has beeswax-free lipstick too. Tarte is also a pretty good brand, though I eventually developed a sensitivity to that as well. I think I react to the bismuth but most people don’t, and they have fragrance-free mineral powder and mascara. Some people will tell you that you can still use essential oils for fragrance. I did not find that to be the case myself and had to do a round of steroids over that fiasco, so be careful.

      • Norma Sinckair says:

        I have the same allergies and have found several products I can use but once again the rashes have creeped up! Would love to know what u use for lipstick, moisturizers etc!
        So frustrating to have all these allergies! Thanks in advance!

    • alaskagrammy says:

      I live in Fairbanks, AK and the temps dip to at least -30 often in the winter. I have been using many natural skin care products the last several years. Over this last year (beginning in Aug 2011) I began to have a redness above my upper lip and sometimes below my lower lips as well. I felt like I looked like a kid who licked his lips in the winter. I’ve mentioned it to four health care providers so far and non had a cure. I believe now that it very well could be the bees wax. The way it fads and flares was in proportion to dryer and colder days but I even had it in the spring as well. After reading the ingredient labels on all 4 of my lip balms they all have bees wax. So I’m giving it a try. Thanks for posting your insights.

    • chelsea says:

      UGHHH this is my problem EXACTLY! my lips look identical to your photos. About a few months ago it started and it almost reached half-way down to my chin! I immediately applied chap sticks and it went away completely. This time it came back full blown.. I haven’t noticed a change in my face wash, or tooth paste so I am not sure why this is happening. my actual lips are fine it is mostly the area directly underneath my lip and a little on top of my lip. SUPER embarrassing.. I don’t even want to kiss my fiance til it is healed. I’ve been using cocoa butter chap stick which has helped, but has not solved the issue. I apply Vaseline no joke about 50x a day. My problem is when I wake up I must bite the skin in my sleep, because my skin itches, burns, and is very red. I will definitely try to avoid anything with beeswax to see if it helps.. then off to my doctor I go. thanks for writing this post, makes me feel a little better that I am not alone on this!

    • Beth Ritzert says:

      Thank you for diagnosing my lip condition!! My dentist office always hands out a lip balm and I have been using it, not realizing that was the cause of my issue. It contains white beeswax. And here I was only adding to the problem because as my lips got worse I would put more of the lip balm on!!

    • dawn says:

      wow – what a great article and so brave of you to post. I have been having some issues my self that seem to come and go. I am very careful about ingredients and chemicals – but have bot thought of this. Thank you

    • dawn says:

      Since reading your post – I purchased a lip balm w/out bwax at WFoods. It has been 3 days and all symptoms have disappeared! Over the past 2 years I have been fighting this. It would come and go (probably dependent on what lip balm I ended up putting on). My lips looked like yours. They were dry and flakey around the edges, they also burned and even had these small white blisters around the edges. I thought the blisters were cold sores – until I treated them with Abreva & Zovrirax and it did nothing. The doctors had no explanation. Thank you again.

      • Emily says:

        Oh my goodness, yes! I have been dealing with this for a few years now. I used to use this lovely beeswax and peppermint lip butter from Honey House, and it was amazing! I used it for several years before I started to notice this blistery, red, dry rash. I also have developed cold sores (herpes simplex 1 strictly on my lips) in the past few years and am super careful about what I put on my lips. But I had just assumed that every time I got this blistery rash, I was experiencing a cold sore outbreak, though I did find that my medication did nothing to clear it up. I’m pretty sure a doctor also told me it was cold sores (based solely on looking at it) the first time it happened, but I am positive that this allergy or sensitivity is actually what was going on. I am so glad to have found other people experiencing the same thing. I was so confused for so long! Thank you all for sharing!

    • Pat says:

      I started using Burt’s Beeswax Lip Balm with Vitamin E and Peppermint last year – on a skin doctor’s recommendation, and developed the same rash you have. I wasn’t sure what the cause was, but this year I happened to find the same balm stick and stupidly applied it around the edges of my lips. The next day there was pink all around my upper lip, and I realized that it was definitely the Burt’s Beeswax Lip Balm that caused my problem. I put a couple of my regular creams around my lips, but they didn’t help, and I think that I will just leave the edges of my lips alone. Hopefully, the pink will go away in 3 to 4 days as it did for you. However, last year the pink all around my upper lip lasted for several months. I’m done with beeswax products, and thanks for explaining that the causative ingredient is propolis. Since there is quite a number of people who develop this rash and suffer with it, I think you should discontinue use of beeswax in your products. Many women with this rash don’t have a clue why they got it or know how to get rid of it. That’s enough of a reason to discontinue ingredients that contain propolis.

      • Beeswax is a wonderful ingredient for skin care (and lip care) products and for 96% of the population, there is no ill effects of its use (wish I was in that group!). Beeswax is more emollient for the skin than plant waxes. Beeswax is much easier to work with when making ointments and other products, too, and I prefer it to plant waxes for that reason. Bees are so important for the environment and beekeepers are becoming essential to help keep the bee population from disappearing. I love that our business can help support local beekeepers. So Zi Zai will continue to make products with beeswax in them. BUT, we will also continue to craft products with plant-based waxes for all the people who are allergic to propolis (like myself!) and for all the vegans who want an alternative to bee products. In addition, even the most benign ingredients can lead to an allergy; there is no way for me to make all our skin care products 100% allergen-free for every person. But we do our best to offer enough products that there is something good for everyone.

      • ellen says:

        I m sooo happy I found this site. I have been trying to figure out the problem for months. I used Burt’s Beeswax lip balm and the same thing happened to my lips. They itch and are on fire. Now I know. Thanks again!!

    • Kim says:

      Thank you for this. I had used Burts Bees Mango lip balm forever and suddenly had the same issues that you and and the flare ups were happening more and more and took 5-6 weeks to get better. I went through dermatology testing and they realized that I was allergic to mango which pointed me to the lip balm. The essential oils is what I thought that I was allergic to but it could very well be the propolis. Will try Zi Zai.

    • mary troutt says:

      OMG. I just found out I was allergic to propolis after skin patch testing. It was a major allergic reaction! I have had cracked, swollen , peeling, inflamed lips plus redness and flaking around my mouth for 8 years! Finaaly figured out what it was. There were times when it was fine but in the last year or two it was continually chapped and painful. Also very embarrassing. My lips looked just like yours. Now that I know I have a list of makeup and skincare products provided by my dermatologist that I can use instead. I searched many times on the internet about this problem but because I did not know what the allergen was I just came across many websites where people were also suffering terribly from this problem. I literally could not put anything on my lips to heal them. So perhaps many of those sufferers are also allergic to propolis. . Thanks for your posting! It has obviously helped many people.

      • What a relief to have an answer, right?

      • susan says:

        Severe swelling, burning, itching, peeling, and blistering lip issues for the last 6 months … patch testing this week shows I’m allergic to propolis.
        Dermatologist gave me a sheet containing very vague and a limited number of products that contain propolis, but I’d love to have a more comprehensive and specific list of propolis free items.
        It’s very overwhelming to figure out what to use and stay away from.

  2. My local beeswax supplier told me that I may be able to use cosmetic grade beeswax (beeswax that has been filtered through activated charcoal) without any allergic reaction. If I try this (my lips are a bit fearful after all the discomfort they have been through), I will report my findings here.

  3. Danya says:

    I have had the same rash on my lips for many months now. I found out I was allergic to nickel but the rash was from something else and I couldn’t figure it out. After reading this article I looked in the ingredients of the blistex i had been using, and sure enough beeswax was first for non active ingredients. I’ve stopped using it, and my rash is slowly going down.! Thank you so much for the post. Very helpful

  4. I made the new lip balm without beeswax and after testing it for 48 hours so far, my lips and the skin around my mouth is still happy! Will continue to slather it on all week to be sure I don’t have any reaction to it. If no swelling, redness or itchiness occurs, then I will make it available for sale on

  5. Katrina says:

    I stumbled across your website in a desperate attempt to figure out what is causing my itchy, chapped lips. For a few months now, they have been chronically chapped but it has gotten worse, and yesterday felt like an all out allergic reaction. My lips and surrounding area was so itchy I could barely stand it-and there was some blotchiness on my lips as well. Since they are so dry, the burn as well. It is the worst combination and nothing I’ve used seems to help. I had been using burt’s bees chapstick a lot, so I stopped because I thought maybe I had developed an allergy. I started using a natural toothpaste because I wondered if there was an irritant in that. Now I’m wondering if it’s a food allergy. Help! I’m at the end of my rope it is so incredibly uncomfortable I can’t think about anything else. Does this sound like your problem?? Any advice would be very appreciated…

  6. Sanju says:

    Oh my god I’ve been a loyal user of Burt’s Bees Pomegranite beeswax lipbalm for years… because I love the red sheen it leaves on your lips, so natural looking and ugh… I’ve had this insufferable rash for over a month that just won’t go away. I didn’t use the lipbalm for a month after a friend warned me about beeswax, then it flaked off and minimized (still came around tho) … and I stupidly used it again and now it’s back AGAIN, thw whole thing. ;_; How long do you need to stop using it and will my lips ever return to normal?

    • Your lips will return to normal after you stop applying whatever substance you are allergic to. But be patient – the sensitive skin along the edge of the lips takes 2 to 3 weeks to heal fully. Even then it may be sensitive to many substances for quite sometime, even if you aren’t actually allergic to those substances. Unfortunately, if you are allergic to something, you may never be able to use that substance again. I have seen cases where acupuncture helped people kick their allergies, but those were cases of airborne allergens, not food allergens or allergic contact dermatitis.

  7. Annette Beach says:

    In 2008, after 9 months of the same lip problem, I went to see a allergist. He patch tested me for about 20 things. I am very sensitive to LANOLIN…..which is in every product I was using to try and heal my lips. Lanolin is in a lot of cosmetics and skin care products. I have learned that they don’t always list every ingredient. My lips finally healed after not using anything for about a week…except vaseline (plain). I am also allergic to bees…have used propolis products in the past but had no problems until the last 2 month and I have just had itchy, flushed face and neck (sometimes scalp). I will get my doctor to test for beeswax now. Good luck because for 9 months I was insane trying to figure out the problem….it is very frustrating!

    • Yes, lanolin is a common allergen. If you already know you are allergic to propolis, then just avoid things with beeswax in it. Beeswax itself does not seem to cause allergies, just when it has propolis mixed in with it (unfiltered beeswax).

  8. Our new vegan (beeswax-free) lip balm is now available for purchase at

    Limited quantity, so get your today!

  9. Susan says:

    About five years ago I was given a lip balm as a promotional product for a local radio station at the snow fields where I was skiing and my lips became very chaffed and I thought this was from all the skiing and cold air. After using many lip moisturizers and lip products for relief, I finally went to my doctor and was given a cortisone cream which healed them. Since that time I have never been able to wear lipstick again and have tried all types of natural products without any luck. I have been to a dermatologist without any luck and do not know what chemical or product causes my contact dermatitis. I have tried Burts Beeswax Lip Balm without any success and other organic lipsticks but still searching for some colour for my lips. The funny thing is, when I use lipstick the rash comes out around my eyes and on top of my eyelids and at the corners of my mouth. I am desperate for an answer to my allergy and to be able to use some sort of lipstick again.

    • Laura Hood says:

      This happens to me (the redness around and on eyelids). I know that I am allergic to propolis/beeswax. I am able to use Revlon lipsticks with no problem. Give them a try.

  10. Martin says:

    I also was suffering from chapped lips, irritated cheeks, and fingers with cracking and dryness. I went through an allergy patch test and found a sensitivity to Peruvian Balsam (and derivitives). Dr. advised stopping my mustache wax and after a month things improved greatly. I determined it must be a fragrance added to the wax and started an experiment making my own with only beeswax and petroleum jelly … the irritation is back.

    How would I acquire cosmetic grade beeswax (filtered through activated charcoal) for my next experiment? I really could use a wax that doesn’t cause all the problems (otherwise my mustache is involved in anarchy).

    • Peruvian balsam (aka Balsam of Peru) is a common irritant or allergen and it is found in lots of body care products.

      • Sandra Bybee says:

        I am allergic to Balm of Peru. I can’t use neosporin or other salves. I don’t seem to have a problem with Revlon Lpstick, but i might in the future. I have found that the only toothpaste that does not make my mouth sore is Collgate. I cannot use Listerine mouth wash or anything with menthol or benzoates in it. Sometimes it takes me 4 to 5 days to break out after using something with Balm of peru in it.

        • LeAnn says:

          I was making my own homemade deodorant using coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda and arrowroot. Three months ago I go dry redness on my hand index within a few weeks ankles and then on my right hand. lastly I started to get itchy under my armpits then I knew it was the deodorant. Stopped the deodorant 2 weeks ago started to do better then had a cup of tea with raw honey 2 days in a row bing worse. I have been using raw honey for 30 years but not beeswax in my deodorant. So today stopped having raw honey in tea. I wonder if it is because of the beeswax and I have to wait until it clears up? My homemade bread has raw honey in it. Strange I have been using Dr. Bronner’s peppermint lip balm with beeswax for 5 years no issues.

  11. Martin says:

    Where can I find filtered, propolis-free beeswax?

    • Hmmm…is filtering it enough to remove all propolis? I am not sure. Cosmetic grade beeswax is filtered through activated charcoal but I am unclear what impurities this removes. Let me look deeper into this and report back. Anyone else know more about this than I currently do?

  12. Bill says:

    I would love to know the answer on how to create propolis-free beeswax as well.

  13. You can Google “pharmaceutical grade beeswax” to find suppliers.

    • Pharmaceutical grade beeswax is not bleached. Keep in mind you do not want to use bleached beeswax in skin care products. Bleached beeswax is usually reserved for use in making candles and non-cosmetic items.

    • Sara says:

      I recently found out I am allergic to propolis. I searched for “pharmaceutical grade beeswax” and received results most consisting of “pharmaceutical grade beeswax” for work with paint, etc (target audience being artists). I see both white and yellow pharmaceutical grade available. Your below comment states white is bleached and is not therefore not pharmaceutical grade. Is this false advertising then?

      • It is my understanding that chemical bleach cannot be used to purify beeswax that will qualify as “pharmaceutical” grade. There are other ways to remove the yellow color from beeswax (without using chemical bleaching agents) such as mechanical filtration and sun bleaching. I am under the impression that a company is not necessarily required to disclose the methods they have used to achieve the whitening. But to be labeled as “pharmaceutical” grade, the beeswax must pass certain tests to ensure it is free from other synthetic waxes (such a paraffin, stearic acid or tallow).

  14. Mary says:

    I recently joined your “lip rash” party! Just like you described – red ring around my mouth like I’d been drinking Kool-Aid, with a dry tight feeling and a bit of chapping. No itch but burning and a “raw” taste when I liked my lips. Went to dermatologist who suggested using the RX product (don’t know name but it’s a mousse – very soothing) and nothing else. Found relief that way. She, too, thought it could be the lanolin so I found some lip products that do not contain lanolin – same problem. Finally decided that beeswax might be the culprit. Yesterday I found a lip balm from Palmer’s that has cocoa butter and doesn’t appear to have lanolin or beeswax. Used it last night and today and so far, so good. But I miss the color tint from Burt’s Bees Shimmers. Any ideas for beeswax and lanolin free lip balms with a hint of color? Do lipsticks have beeswax and/or lanolin?

    • Some lipsticks do have beeswax in them, though I suspect that beeswax is filtered. Same with mascaras. You have to read the labels really carefully (esp. since the ingredients usually are written in really tiny font!). I haven’t seen any beeswax-free lip balm with tint, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. Readers, have you seen a good tinted balm with no beeswax, no lanolin or no jojoba oil in it?

      • Matilda says:

        What is the relationship between propolis and Jojoba oil? I developed this allergy to propolis over the past two days. My lips are huge and miserable. I thought they were chapped and was initially treating them directly with honey. 🙄. I have used jojoba oil everyday for years. In this blog i keep seeing where you recommend avoiding jojoba oil if you have a propolis allergy. Are they related ?

  15. Mary says:

    Ooops! I meant “licked” my lips, not “liked” my lips! Duh! Although lately I haven’t liked my lips very much 🙂

  16. jrjdjlmc says:

    Oh no! Sounds exactly like my symptoms. I was thinking cold sores but I had no blisters, just an annoying, peeling rash. I even used Burt’s Bees products more liberally thinking a natural alternative would be a good thing. Oh no! I will miss you, Burt’s, but I must try to go without you for a while to see if you are causing my problems. I did not want to go out today because my lips look so bad. At least I think it’s not herpes simplex 1 so I can’t pass it on to my husband…

  17. Daisy says:

    Hi I just found your site by Googling allergy to beeswax… My story is not the lip area, but the eyebrow area. I occasionally have my eyebrows waxed and usually develop severe redness, that I attributed to the ripping of the hair from my eyebrows. It goes away in a few days. This past time, last weekend, I got really red and irritated. So I decided to put some beeswax that I had bought last year for my cuticles, onto my reddened brow area that had been waxed thinking it would be a natural soother. It did just the opposite and created more reddening and swelling. I didn’t realize it could be the bees wax until a few days into using it. I’ve washed it all off and am using vitamin E to try to help calm it. Yikes! Even below my eyes near the cheekbone has gotten red and swollen, because I rubbed the beeswax all around nicely 🙁 . It’s not the end of the world, but I sure hope the vitamin E helps! Thanks for your blog.

    • If you get a chance, ask the person who waxes your brows what type of wax they use to remove hair. I hadn’t thought about that before! Not happy about your reaction, but really glad you brought it to our attention – thanks for sharing your story. Along similar lines, I bought new mascara last weekend and it was not easy to find one without beeswax and/or jojoba oil (which I am also sensitive to). I thought that filtered cosmetic beeswax wouldn’t cause an issue since it is the propolis that is known to cause the reaction, but my eyes can tell the difference (and I only wear makeup once a month or so). They didn’t get itchy like they sometimes do.

      • Ski Hibberd says:

        My daughter (20yr) has just been diagnosed with an allergy to Propolis Cera after months of suffering from flaky, red skin on her eyelids. She has been using Benefits and Laura Mercier products believing quality products were beneficial for her skin. Wrong! As a young woman she loves her eyeliner and mascara, but now needs to source propolis free products. Can you recommend a brand of mascara and eyeliner that she might be able to use without an allergic reaction?
        Many thanks

        • Good question – there are so many brands and they change their formulas. Sounds counter-intuitive, but seek out the cheaper brands of mascara and eyeliner because they tend to use synthetic paraffin wax instead of the more natural beesewax and carnauba wax. I have found that Rimmel London has eye makeup without beeswax, but do be sure to read the ingredient lists because there are so many products from each cosmetic manufacturer. Plus, I rarely wear makeup and I haven’t checked ingredients for more upscale brands such as Origins or Clinique. Perhaps our other readers can chime in here and offer suggestions??

  18. M says:

    I was so happy to find this blog last night. I have had the same lip problem for a long time. I had previously given up all make up and even contact lenses since I had allergic reactions to everything I used. I was using various lip balms and the mouth problem was getting worse and worse. My dermatologist prescribed cortisone creams and they weren’t helping either and she said to see an allergist 5 years ago. He told me to stop using cortisone and to switch to a salt toothpaste. That worked for a while but the problem kept coming back so I was recently back to cortisone and various lip balms. Things got so bad that I went back to the allergist this week and he said I had to do chemical testing on my back which I had refused 5 years ago since I didn’t want all those chemicals on my back for 2 days. I was so desperate this time (my mouth looked 100 times worse than your pictures) so I did the chemical testing. Balsam of peru and two other chemicals came back as problems for me. I printed out a long list of Balsam of peru potential cross allergens and beeswax showed up. So then I read the ingredients of my bag of products, and every lip balm I have been using for years has beeswax as the second ingredient. The allergist said to only use aquaphor and a plastic feeling moisturizer called vanicream on my mouth so that is what I am doing. He also asked me about mangoes and believe it or not, they have the same ingredient as poison ivy and I had been eating them constantly for the past two months. So I can never eat mango again and can’t use all my favorite lip balms either. I am now taking prednisone and allergy medication since my mouth was so swollen and the redness was spreading and getting very dark. I also felt like I couldn’t breathe the morning I went back to the allergist.. The rash was also on my chest, under my arms and inside my elbows. So this can be a really dangerous allergy. I have been dealing with eczema my entire life. I stopped coloring my hair 5 years ago and I now know from the chemical testing that I was also allergic to hair dye. When I stopped going to the salon for dye (after doing it for 10 years) the eczema I had on my arms and legs and hands went away. However, the mouth problem was still there and I had no idea other peoplep also had this until I read your blog last night. How is your mouth doing with your new product? I would like to try it. Sorry to be so wordy here but I want other people to realize that you can have multiple allergies (pollen is also apparently a problem for me) and it’s so hard to pinpoint what the problem is. Once it gets to your mouth, the whole world can see and I was hiding from people too.

    • Oh thank you for sharing all this wonderful information! Sorry you had to learn this stuff the hard way! My lips are perfectly fine – ever since I stopped putting beeswax on them. I accidentally used toothpaste that had propolis in it and they started getting itchy but as soon as I discovered my error and switched toothpaste they returned to normal. Did you happen to check out my post about poison ivy? I talk about mangoes there, too. It is their skin (not the pulp) that has the allergen on it. I am happy to hear your eczema went away after you stopped dying your hair. I am going to mention that in my posts about eczema. Will you kindly post again to tell us how your skin is doing now that you have identified the offending substances? I wish you luck!

    • Mary says:

      You should be aware that some topical steroid creams contain bee wax.

  19. M says:

    My mouth is almost normal now (Saturday) and I was at the doctor’s on Tuesday morning so after months of this problem, I am very happy. In addition to never using beeswax or eating mangoes again, there has been some outside help with antihistamines and prednisone prescribed by the doctor. I am not much of a pill person but I couldn’t go on the way things were. So do you use the lip balm you created without beeswax and would you recommend that I try it? I realize the poison in mango is in the skin, but I was eating mango that had been precut and still having a bad reaction. I had a rash on my neck and chest and it was different from what was on my mouth so I guess that was from mango. Who knows but just want it gone and never back again!! Yes, I did read your poison ivy post and I have learned a lot from your blog. Beeswax was listed as a possible allergen on something I printed out last night, but then finding your blog really solved the mystery for me and I thank you for getting this info out there.

    • Yes I use the beeswax-free lip balm with no problems whatsoever. And now I rarely have to apply it anyway – maybe once or twice per day (I live in arid Colorado). I am glad you found the blog helpful…it’s good to know I am not wasting my time 😉 Thank you again for sharing your story here – I am sure it will help others.

  20. Amy says:

    This morning I woke up again with the red, swollen “kool-aid” lips after a couple of weeks of not having symptoms. I wondered how this could be, as I didn’t eat anything that I was suspecting of causing the swollen lips. But, I did use a lip balm that had been hidden in a pocket. It is my favorite, with a great sage smell. I looked at the ingredients…beeswax. I had already thrown out the burt’s bees lip balms because I thought it was the camphor that was irritating my lips. So, when I looked up” beeswax allergy lips” …. I found your blog and the great picture that looks exactly like my face. I have had this problem for over a year.
    Balsam of Peru…I love my eastern woodland balsam pillow…could there be a possible aggravate there as well? Does the ingredient propolis show up on the list of ingredients on the toothpaste box? Or is it disguised as other names? I have also suspected toothpaste since some of those seem to aggravate this condition.
    This is so interesting. And, I am so glad I found your blog. Thank you!!!

  21. Dana says:

    I’ve Had Dealed With This Many Of Times, And Guess What Im Only 12! Anyways The Correct Thing To Do Is Get “Aquaphor” I Got Mine In RiteAid, Or Any Pharmacy Close By! It Heals Very Fast! Mine Was Very Red, It Healed In Less Than 3 days! And Beeswax is my problem too.. also licking my lips outside. Always wear the aquaphor, sometimes it comes back! Wish the best for you!

  22. rina says:

    hello 🙂
    so i came across your website to trying figure out ingredients in the lip balms that i’ve used in the past. the information you’ve provided has helped me alot! i JUST got the rash around my lips again like 2 or 3 days ago. this is the 3rd time. i dont wear any make up so i wasnt sure what caused it the first time til now. the first time it occurred, i used burts beeswax lip balm, and of course it caused my lips to react, it was pretty bad. it was super red, swollen, and itchy (my cousins&family would call me angelina jolie lol). I was given these pills to take (i forgot what they’re called) but it worked and it went away within a week. i then started using vaseline lip therapy, but for some reason i bought another burt’s beeswax lip balm (not knowing i was allergic to it) and obviously the reaction occurred again, it was bad but not as bad as the first time. and from then on i realized i needed to stop using burts beeswax lip balm and continue to use my vaseline. But recently i used the new EOS lip balm and for the 3rd time it happened again. its not as bad as the first 2 times but it sure is itchy and irritating. After getting the rash i decided to search the ingredients and found 3 common ingredients, sunflower oil, coconut oil, and beeswax. then i researched further into it and came across your website, and now i know i should stay away from beeswax&propolis. this was very helpful. although i am afraid to try any other lip balms now. thanks for providing this useful&helpful information though! 🙂

    • Any vegan lip balms that don’t contain lanolin (another common allergen) should be fine. But I understand your trepidation! My lips used to recoil in response to the idea of putting more lip balm on them. But Zi Zai’s beeswax-free lip balm contains candelilla wax which is a botanical wax and should not irritate your skin if you decide you want to try a moisturizer for your lips again. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  23. Osman Jalloh says:

    I used beeswax to gain dreed locks about 5 years ago in the summer time. I quickly found out that I was allergic to the bees wax within a couple of days. Now my scalp is always dry and harden also swelling. My finger tip are also swollen and have thicken the the finger tip’s skin and nails. Is any thing out there I can use to get my scalp and skin back to it normal state? The bees wax also thicken my facial hair and now the hair is spiky and needle . The name of the bees wax is kazu. I tried many shampoo but none yielded any result. Thank you very much for your time and any help you can offer me.

    • Are you still using some form of beeswax to maintain your dreds? Have your fingers been swollen with thickened nails for the last 5 years? If you have not been in contact with beeswax since that one time, there must be something else causing this continued reaction.

  24. Lisa Cole says:

    I recently had patch testing for a similar irritation to your lips, except mine was on my eyelid. Propolis came back positive for an allergy. Since doing research (and thank you for your post – it helped in that), I’ve discovered my waterproof eyeliner and waterproof mascara both have beeswax in them. Since looking at ingredients, pencil eyeliners (as opposed to crayon-like) and non-waterproof mascara are free of beeswax. Thanks again for your post.

    • Thank you for commenting. I actually did not know they tested for propolis allergy – good to know. When the rash around my mouth got bad, I would also get a small rash at the lateral edge of my my lower eyelid, even when I didn’t apply any beeswax product near my eye. That is common with allergic contact dermatitis. Also, I found that many of non-waterproof mascaras (esp. the ones that claim to be more “natural”) have beeswax – always check the ingredients. Glad you figured out what your allergy was and thanks again for sharing.

    • Mary says:

      My situation is similar. The rashes are only on my eyelids, nothing on my lips or around my mouth . I have been suffering with this for over two years. I had patch testing done and propolis came back positive. My lip balm has bee wax , I have never had a reaction on my lips or face .

  25. Chris says:

    I wish that I had found your blog a year ago. I went months with all kinds of rashes on my face, especially around my mouth. I was going crazy trying to figure out what it was. Finally, an allergy test revealed that I was allergic to beeswax and a few other ingredients. I had been putting a beeswax lotion to heal the rash, not knowing that I was aggravating it more. It did take a while to fully heal and I have only had one other reaction since then. I will be ordering your lip balm because it is hard to find beeswax-free lip balm.

  26. Christine says:

    Thank goodness I found this information! I have a dry scaly patch on my upper lip, it is flaky and at times it tingles, burns or feels dead. I was really worried it may be something really serious. I kept applying the Burt’s because I needed to keep my lips moisturized not thinking it was the cause of the problem. I may still see a dermatologist if it doesn’t go away. Years of sun exposure…can’t be too careful anyway!

  27. Julie says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been dealing with for the last several months! (Okay, a year or so). After reading everyone’s comments about using Burt’s Bees, I can totally relate. I was using it thinking it was a good, natural alternative to traditional lip balms and chapsticks. I even splurged and bought the “Ultra Conditioning” a few months ago. I am not in a place financially where I can buy more products without beeswax, so I’m curious, will petrolium jelly work? I’ve tried using straight olive oil or coconut oil but I don’t like the way it feels.

    • Petroleum Jelly will protect lips and lock in moisture, but it will not add moisture to your skin. Coconut oil by itself can actually be drying. Try leaving your lips damp with a few drops of water and then applying the petroleum jelly. Beeswax-free (“vegan”) lip balms are not any more expensive than other good lip balms. It would be worth the small investment.

  28. I must now ask the question: “What am I not allergic to?.” Thank you for solving another mystery. My lips, nasal passage, and throat have been reactive to the Beeswax lip balm that I was using on my eyes and lips. Over the last decade, I have becoming increasingly allergic to foods. I realized after many years that I was allergic to sugars, especially cane sugar, maple syrup, and honey. In addition, I have hives from beef and other red meats. I had a reactive airway to these foods but it wasn’t until my children were diagnosed with dairy allergies that I noticed symptoms that I had ignored in myself. Several years ago, I had anaphylctic reaction to juicing carrots and locally grown apples. My family rushed me to the ER where I too recieved an EPI-PEN to add to the collection we had a hand for my children. Then, I discovered that I reacted to locally produced strawberries and cherries. Now, I won’t eat any produce grown in Door County, Wisconsin where I live. The ER physician believed it was the pesticides used for decades in this area of the US. My daughter and I are both reactive to these fruits and we added soy milk to the list several months ago.
    Considering that moving is not an option right now, our menu is becoming smaller each day. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

  29. Wow, thank you so much for this blog. My mouth looks exactly like your pictures. I narrowed my problem down pretty quickly to Burts Bees lip balm. I was just trying to figure out what I was allergic to in that balm. Your blog is awesome. I am going to go look at your products now.

    Cat Rudert

  30. Andrea says:

    i always used my Burt’s Bees lip balm before i got to bed but recently I’ve noticed that the outside of my lips would feel very irritated. I woke up today with my lips looking exactly like yours in the picture above. Now I know that I’ve developed sensitivity to beeswax due to over exposure.

  31. amanda says:

    Your website was very helpful to me. I have had a rash like you describe around my mouth for about 5 months which was very uncomfortable and frustrating. I realized that I was using a lip balm contains bee propolis. I quit using lip balm and the rash is now gone. What a relief!

  32. Mary-Ellen Geidt says:

    I have had problems with mascara recently and am thinking it it the beeswax. I am allergic to bees, but have never had a problem with this before. My eyes are puffy and itchy. It was your blogs that made me see the connection. Does anyone know of a beeswax free mascara, seems hard to find. thanks

  33. Dennis says:

    OMG ! ME too….. Lucky Us I guess…not : 0
    I play an Aboriginal instrument called Didjeridu or from the top end of Australia , either Yidaki or Mago. Anyways, the Mago`s mouth piece is normally made from wax called Sugarbag Beeswax that comes from a native stingless Bee. It`s Dark in color…Brown or Blackish, and very sticky, elastic like. I don`t know think this is the culprit though….., I recently changed the mouth piece on one of the Mago, and used regular pure yellow Beeswax (the Culprit I think) and woke the next morning to bumpy, swollen and tingley lips. I`m still a little freaked out at the moment. I ripped the Wax off two Mago !
    I will buy some triple refined 100% pure white Bees Wax and give it a go again I guess. I was wondering does the filtering remove the Propolis ? Also wondering if the Stingless Bees have this Propolis? ( The Aborigines have been using Sugar Bag for thousands of years )
    Hmmm, I`m bummed : ( ….. This is the third time this month, it`s pretty bad this time too. I still have a chunk of “the evil culprit”. I`m going to try SugarBag only and see what happens !
    Thank You for your post !!! nice to know I`m not alone….
    Warmest Regards,

    • I was wondering how long it would be before someone who played the didgeridoo (how do you spell that?) wrote in to this blog. My boyfriend also plays and when he first brought home the instrument, he asked me to try it. I took one look at all that beeswax and my lips slammed shut in horror 😉 I have been told (but I didn’t do any lab tests or anything) that the filtered beeswax should not contain the propolis. Filtering removes any honey and pollen…but does it get all the propolis? I can’t seem to find this out for sure. I get a lot of complaints about Burt’s Bees products and I am sure they aren’t using unfiltered wax. Wait a sec! I just researched sugarbag wax and this beekeeper says “Sugarbag wax is not pure wax but a mixture of wax and propolis.” Check out the original site here: Oh that is sad news for you if you truly are allergic to propolis. But I am sure that there must be another wax that you can use. Carnauba or candelilla waxes are derived from plants and do not contain propolis. But I am not familiar with how you would mold this into a mouthpiece. Will you write again when you figure it out? Would love to hear back from you.

  34. Navy Mom says:

    I saw a dermatologist 2 weeks ago and she agreed it was beeswax. Really? with no testing? While I’m still skeptical, the rash has subsided a little with a prescription cortisone (2.5 percent). I also have been using some leftover Metrogel. Seems like it’s fading a little. Nothing like it was. I stopped the balms and toothpaste with beeswax as an ingredient and I just realized something else. I am 56 years old and have never found a makeup or mascara that didn’t make me itch! On special occasions, I suffer while wearing it, then scrubbed off it goes…….I guess it’s all related. Go Irish skin!!

  35. Navy Mom says:

    One other thing. I’ve switched to Almond milk ( love, love, love it!). Is that a common allergy.?

    • I think that is an allergy for anyone who is allergic to tree nuts, but otherwise I find it a better alternative to cow’s milk than soy (which many people react to and which often is GMO). Ever have a almond milk latte? Takes a little getting used to but delicious!

  36. Dennis says:

    Hello again Diana ,
    Just happened again ! Aaargghh….this makes strike 4. The first couple of times no biggie, the third time I stripped the wax off two mouth pieces that were made from what looks like yellow
    Beeswax. And now the Sugerbag wax is doing it too. Hmmm….I will purchase some triple filtered Beeswax and give that a go I guess. Here we go again with the numbness, blistering feeling, and finally to rap things up, the scabbing… : ) oh well,
    Thank You for your insight !
    Warmest regards : )

    • Bummer, Dennis! But at least you are now sure that propolis is the allergen. That’s a good thing to know. Now to figure out how to form a new mouthpiece from a substance that does not contain propolis. Good luck to you and please tell us if you find something that works well for you. I bet there are a lot of didgeridoo and Mago players who have no idea why are they getting a rash around their mouth and when they discover it is propolis, they will be grateful if we could offer them an alternative.

    • Katherine says:

      Dennis, did the triple filtered beeswax work for you? I am trying to find a beeswax that I am not allergic to. I KNOW it is out there since I am not allergic to Badger lip balm which contains beeswax. It is the only beeswax containing lip balm I can use. But I wish to make my own! Maybe I shall try the pharmaceutical grade beeswax.

      • According to some reports, there are people who develop allergic contact dermatitis when exposed to raw, unfiltered beeswax but do not react to filtered or “purified” beeswax (though I am unclear what it takes to purify beeswax beyond filtering it). I would love to hear about any of you who can share your experience with filtered beeswax.

      • Katherine says:

        I am allergic to Burt’s Bees products and their customer service said they use filtered beeswax. I have no reaction to Badger lip balm which DOES have beeswax (filtered as well). What’s the difference? I am stumped =p

  37. Summer says:

    Thanks for your site! Do you know if honey extract, ingredient in one of my moisturizers, contains propolis? I think the beeswax chapstick is giving me the rash, stopped using it yesterday and it already seems slightly better. Thanks!

  38. sarah says:

    Hi, great article! I recently made some lotion with beeswax, organic oil, and water for my daughter (2.5 yrs old). Since using it, she’s developed a red bumpy back. I just stopped using it, but don’t want to buy the store lotions with all the junk in them. Can you recommend an alternative emulsifier for the lotion instead of beeswax? Thank you in advance.

    • Beeswax is a rather unstable emulsifier anyway. How long did you use the lotion after you first made it? If you refrigerated your lotion immediately after making it, you could probably safely use it for up to 2 weeks (max.). So if you were using beyond that time, it is more likely that contamination from mold, mildew or bacteria is what caused the rash on your daughter, rather than propolis in the beeswax. You could use a different emulsifier such as lecithin, but you could leave out the emulsifier altogether and just shake the product before use.

  39. Angela says:

    what do you do for toothpaste as that is my main problem right now.

  40. leslie says:

    I’ve had an angry red rash on my (left) hand for six plus years (allergic contact dermatitis) that sometimes gets better but never fully goes away, and i finally got the dermatology/patch testing this week. I discovered that like many of you, I am allergic to propolis/beeswax, and I found that this is in the expensive Norwegian Gold/Daily Omega fish oil pills i take… it seems weird that something I take internally would affect my (left) hand only, but i’m hopeful that if i stop taking my supplement, my skin issue might clear up. It’s so tiresome–not to mention itchy and sometimes painful–to have a more or less permanent rash. (I also wonder if the pens i write with might contain beeswax, since I’m left handed, and that’s the only thing I hold consistently in the spot where i have my rash.) anyone know about pens/pencils containing propolis or beeswax?

    • Rashes that result from substances taken internally typically manifest bilaterally. I think you are smart to consider what your left hand may be coming into contact with. Can any readers help Leslie figure this out?

      • Hey Leslie!
        You should consider getting a patch test for balsam of peru allergy.
        I had the same problem on my hand, and it was due to tomatoes! I worked in a kitchen and I cut a fair number of them. 🙂 Tomatoes weren’t the INITIAL allergen – I became sensitized to the cinnamic aldehydes in tomatoes (and all other highly acidic fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes). Once you become sensitized to the allergy, you have to cut everything out with any fragrance at all – your shampoo, soap, dish soap, lotions…everything. Mine was only one hand as well. Eventually the allergy got so bad that I began breaking out in hives if I ingested the wrong combination of products. After one day in the sun when I used a sunscreen that was chock-full of benzoates and fragrance and I ate a fresh lemon granita, I broke out in hives the next day. That finally prompted me to do an allergy test instead of trying to guess what the allergen was. I could never have known on my own because the Balsam of Peru allergy is so complex.
        It does get better though!

        • Vanessa, thank you so very much for your comment here as well as the ones on the other post: Readers, please check out Vanessa’s comments on the other post as well – very helpful info.

        • jena says:

          I know this was posted many years ago, but I have just discovered this page and blog while investigating my recently diagnosed patch testing allergies to propolis and balsam of peru, and both fragrance batches. 🙁 Super interesting about tomatoes and the cinnamic aldehydes… I’m learning quite a bit today! Been eating a ton of tangerines that have ripened on our tree over the past month or two as well. I use all super clean products and will now have to go back and reread everything! Just noticed my very favorite lip balm (the only one I’ve used for about 10 years) is unscented Dr. Bronner’s… and it has beeswax! Boo! Very interesting to learn about how the beeswax can be contaminated with propolis… that’s the main question I googled when I was brought to this site! Thank you all for your shared experiences and hope you’ve found relief and less reactions!

          • Hi. Yes, I originally posted this many years ago, after researching my own allergic reactions. At that time, there was not as much information about propolis/beeswax allergy that I could fins easily. I am so happy to know this post is still valuable for so many people. Just to be clear, beeswax is a beautiful ingredient for skin care – so long as you aren’t allergic to it. There is nothing inherently bad about beeswax or propolis. It just sucks for those of us who are allergic to it.

  41. Whitney says:

    I have been struggling with perioral dermatitis for almost 2 months. I was diagnosed by the dermatologist. My first mistake was using a cortisone cream called Alclometasone cream 0.05% around me mouth, originally intended use was for eczema. Was not getting relief fast enough from ketoconazole 2% cream intended for mouth. The cortisone cream helped so much, but after one week break the perioral dermatitis came back. I read shortly after cortisone creams can help for fast relief, but can cause it to come back ten times worse. Which is what happened in my case. I now use Cetaphyl gentle cleaner, CeraVe pm and am moisturizers, and originally prescribed ketoconazole 2% cream twice daily and then vaseline on top after it has had a few minutes to sink into skin. I use Jason flouride free natural toothpaste. I was using Toms toothpaste but switched to flouride free thinking it might help.

    I used to use Burt’s bee Chapstick 2 months ago daily, but stopped once I was diagnosed with perioral dermatitis and only use Vaseline now. I try not to lick my lips. I noticed it bothers me the most when I’m hot or eating a meal. The perioral dermatis is still there after following directions from dermatologist for almost 3 weeks now. It’s not as red, but still there. I have my days when it’s not too bad and other days when it burns like the dickens. I am ALSO taking an oral antibiotic called Doxycycline 100mg twice daily. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t know what else to do. I have a follow up appointment in July and they will asses the situation and do a patch test. Sigh…

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story! Yes, sudden withdrawal of cortisone creams can cause a rash to flare worse than prior to the cortisone use. I try not to push the use of Zi Zai products too much (as this blog is for educational purposes, not an advertisement) but you really may want to try our Beeswax-Free lip balm. I specifically added herbs that soothe red, inflamed skin for all of us who have been suffering from this rash around our lips/mouth. I think patch testing may help, but you will want to do it while you have the rash – the results will be less reliable if the testing is done when you do not have an active rash. Good luck. Please write back if you find out more about your situation.

  42. N says:

    I am suffering with the same situation. It occured when I used the Victoria Secret “Beauty Rush” lip gloss and got a really bad reaction. My lips were so RED, swollen, itchy, and burning. I tried chapstick, lip balm, vasaline, it didn’t help. But I did find Blistex Medicated Ointment, it seems to heal my whole lips, including the skin, sourounding my mouth. It’s like a constant tug and pull with my lips now, I went to a allergist and he patch tested me for 60 common allergen and only 1 came positive, “NICKEL”. But I didn’t think nickel will be present to any of the other products?! It’s so frustrating. So, since I figured Blistex seems to work, I tried another product of Blistex (medicated lip balm- the container is green) I had a bad reaction to that. So my doctor compared the products, and the Blistex lip balm had 2 types of sun screens, but that’s impossible. We need sun screen. The doctor doesn’t seem to know what else to do with me, he told me that I have a weird case of contact dermitits. I don’t know what else to do anymore. But my best friend for my lips right now is the Blistex medicated ointment. Also I tried the campho-phenique, that was a horrible experience too. My lips got so red, and huge I look at myself in the mirror and wanted to cry.
    As soon as I find out, what causing this, I will definetly let you guys now.

    But, I do suggest to try the Blistex medicated ointment, it might work for you as well. Just a quick FYI, it will BURN, A LOT! But as soon as you look at your lips in the mirror, you will see the difference.

    • Anything that contains menthol, winter green oil, camphor or similar ingredients will burn like hell and probably make the rash worse. As far as sunscreen is concerned, use only products that contain zinc dioxide and titanium dioxide. These are minerals and less likely to cause a reaction on your skin than chemical sunscreens (such as avobenzene, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, or oxybenzone). You may want to try a product on your lips that doesn’t contain sunscreen at all, just until the rash clears up. If you reintroduce a sunscreen and the rash returns, you’ll know that cause. Good luck and stay in touch if you find out more!

      • Cris says:

        Hello Leslie,
        I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks. I’ve been dealing with the same problem (exact symptom). My rash started two months ago (Dec) coincidentally after a small bee stung me under my arm. The venom went down to my elbow and that was the part that suffered the most (severe inflammation and redness and itching), and later that day i developed these two bumps on my upper lip (fever blisters). I applied Abbreva, took Acyclovir, and it got worse and worse every time, until there were no more fever blisters but instead I developed this rash around my lips with burning sensation, itching, and some blisters as well. The little blisters would burst and yellowish fluid oozed out and formed a nasty yellowish scab. Then the scab thinned out and became flaky, which it is still a little but not as bad as it was before. I know I am driving my dermatologist crazy. He first told me it was Impetigo, then Herpes, then he did a culture and it is not bacteria, infection, or virus. He thinks it is an allergy but doesn’t know to what. And now he wants to do a biopsy but I do not want to do that yet. Since I discovered this blog I stopped using lipsticks and balms and it is much much better. It is healing, though I still have redness and the skin is tender, at least it is not scabby any more. Do you think the bee sting has anything to do with it?
        BTW… I just ordered three of your free beeswax lip balms. I hope this work.
        Thank you for all your information. It has been very helpful.

        • Gosh, without examining you and asking questions it would be irresponsible of me to suggest what might be going on here. You do not say how long after the sting the rash first appeared. If you are lips are still very raw, our newest product RawRedemption (herbal lip oil) might help more than a waxy balm.

    • JudyStoneGoldman says:

      Nickel has cross allergies with some foods. Have you checked those? I know tomato and some green leafy vegs are in this category. I’m so grateful I was o.k. on nickel, but tomato is a cross-allergen with Balsum of Peru (and it causes terrible outbreaks for me…) Good luck.

  43. Beth says:

    I’m glad to find out about HOW beeswax can be an allergen. I’m fairly certain I have an allergy to something in Bert’s Bees products–the few times I’ve used their lotion I developed hives on those areas and I’m pretty sure the weird (kind of cool but disturbing) sensation I feel on my lips when I use their balm isn’t normal. Since I am going to try to make my own skin products in the next week or so, I wanted to see if I should try to use beeswax in any of them or avoid it. I’ll get a small quantity to test, just in case, and give it to my mom if it really is the beeswax/propolis. Thank you!

  44. JudyStoneGoldman says:

    It is such a relief to see these comments and hear of others’ experiences. I have had misery with my lips on and off for years and nonstop for the past six months. My eyes have also been swollen and drippy. I had the patch test last week and came out allergic to propolis, Formaldehyde, fragrances (including Balsum of Peru) and a few other additives. It’s quite a project to find safe products.

    Question I would like answered: is natural vegetable wax ok for us? Someone above mentioned candilila wax. What other waxes are o.k. if we cannot use beeswax?

    • Excellent question. Candililla wax is what we use in Zi Zai’s Beeswax-Free Lip Herbal Lip Balm. It does not seem to be much of an allergen. Carnauba wax, however, tends to be a problem for some people with propolis allergy.

      • Just wanted to jump in and say that I too am very allergic to Balsam of Peru (I’m an earlier poster, see above), and I LOVE my Zi Zai’s Beeswax Free lip balm. I’ve been using it since June and so far, no reaction at all.

        Also – Judy – it will get better! This is just my personal experience – but I followed a very strict diet for about 6 months, and was extra careful with every single lotion, shampoo, deodorant, etc. that I used… the inflammation/reaction had long since disappeared (probably w/in a month of beginning this) but I kept at it for nearly 6 months…. after that I was able to add most things back into my diet, and now I drink red wine, eat tomatoes, ginger… lots of things that are off-limits because they cross-react with BOP. I think once the initial reaction to the BOP allergy had settled down, my body stopped attacking the cross-reactants. So at least in my case, my whole life wasn’t permanently altered by this allergy – and my dermatologist/allergist said that was fairly normal and that most people can “beat” the allergy by strict avoidance for an extended period of time.

        Good luck!

        • JudyStoneGoldman says:

          thank you so much, Vanessa, for your reply. When you eliminated the Balsum of Peru did you follow all the other names for it, like benzyl benzoate, etc.? I keep thinking I’m going to miss some of them.

          • Hey Judy,
            I eliminated as much as I could. With food, it was easier than I thought it would be – it just mostly meant eating a lot of fresh food and almost nothing packaged, because even organic snacks, etc often have “natural flavor” added, or honey or vanilla, both of which I was avoiding. LaraBars were great, actually – they saved my life. I actually wrote them a letter and got them to sponsor one of my tours because it was only packaged snack I could eat on the road. 🙂

            For cosmetics & personal care products, it was harder… benzoates are really difficult to avoid. To clarify – benzoates aren’t exactly the same as BOP. This is a great link that explains BOP in a little better detail:

            What’s frustrating is that it’s not a fully understood substance (science hasn’t even identified 30-40% of its chemical makeup!) and yet it’s approved for use all over the place.

            Anyhow – in my case the main problem was to break the cycle of inflammation. I think if you put a good effort into avoiding all fragrances and natural flavorings, and stick to a basic diet for a few months, you’ll see a difference. I used Dr Bronner’s Baby Mild soap for almost all of my cleaning, and a fragrance-free lotion. I don’t really wear makeup so that was an easy one, but in the few instances I had to or wanted to, the makeup didn’t seem to cause problems. I used a lot of garlic, olive oil, and salt as seasonings when I cooked (trying to avoid the spices listed)… I ate a lot of salads without tomato. 🙂 I ate a good amount of fish and meat, and came up with some pretty good tomato-free sauces for pastas and the like.

            If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly. I struggled with this about 4 years ago, and I couldn’t find ANYTHING on the web about it, so I am so glad that this post exists… I hope it’s helping others.

          • Sorry, wanted to point out one more thing….
            BOP will almost never be listed as such. I’ve seen it twice EVER, and both times was a medicinal balm that listed it as “peruvian balsam.” I’ve never seen it listed on a food product (it’s always called “natural flavor,” though something called “natural flavor” may not necessarily contain BOP… you just have to avoid NF regardless since it’s so non-specific).

            The only flare up I’ve had in the last few years (which led me to this blog, in fact) was after a particularly bad cold, during which I used a lot of Vicks vaporub and was sucking on Ricola’s like they were going out of style… I later switched to Halls lozenges… but in any case, at some point my mouth began itching (I know the tickle very well by now) and my eyes did as well… it wasn’t until I re-visited that very helpful link from above that I was reminded that it’s often found in medicinal products… bugger!!!

          • I find it interesting that Balsam of Peru, Propolis (found in beeswax), Carnauba wax (cross-reaction with those who are allergic to propolis) and Jojoba oil (actually a wax, not a true oil) are each sensitizing substances. I am no chemist, so I am not sure what the common chemical/molecule/etc. is that is the cause of the allergic reactions, but I would avoid all of these substances if you have any allergy to a single one of them. And thank you Vanessa and others who are sharing your stories here. I know you are helping others by being so honest.

          • JudyStoneGoldman says:

            I didn’t understand about Jojoba Oil although I saw it mentioned somewhere (I think I was purposefully ignoring…didn’t want one more thing to eliminate. But I do appreciate this source of information.

  45. Katherine Georges says:

    Everything connects and must be considered. Several years ago, I noticed potassium spikes after eating fish farmed in Korea. The package label did indicate potassium as a preservative. I was taking Heparin blood-thinner and noticed burning sensations in my veins after drinking Smart Water porducts. I called the manufacturer who indicated that electrolites are added to some of their products. After extensive research, I found a study conducted by a medical facility in Italy which concluded that over 600 patients using Heparin short-term experienced significant increase in potassium levels and decrease in sodium levels. I emailed the physician who conducted the clinical trial. His response indicated that I was at higher risk than patients in his study due to the long-term use of Heparin in my bloodstream and the high dosage. This was an important indication that related to my symptoms.
    With additional research I discovered that fish from Korea was injected with a blood thickening agent for preservation in ice while shipping. I stopped eating fish products from Asia as a result however I do continue to eat fish. Oddly, when I stopped and restricted my use of Heparin as a blood-thinner, I experienced memory issues which was directly related to mercury in my brain. I knew this after craving cilantro in large quantities. A sales consultant at the local health food store made this connection due to the detoxifying process that cilantro plays in heavy metals in the brain. Tracking these cause-effect relationships of food chemicals and pharmaceuticals can prevent complications if taken seriously. Katherine

  46. So I have mentioned before that didgeridoo players can be affected by this type of allergy because the mouthpiece of their instrument is formed from beeswax (a special blend of beeswax AND propollis to be more exact). But other musicians can develop mouth and lip rashes due to many different substances or trauma to the tissue. Learn more about contact cheilitis in musicians:

  47. Sash Powers says:


    I have a situation and I dont think it is due to allergic reaction to beeswax but your advise or suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
    In the past I have used Dermalogica solar lip shield and had a horrific reaction to it, had my lips swollen, rashy at least 3 times its original size. Now this time, I applied a neutrogena sunblock to my face as I was on the beach and it started to tingle maybe 45 mins after. I washed it off but I had been having sea food all day including conch (my first time having it) and my boyfriend didnt feel well after having the curried conch as well. By the late night to the following morning, my entire mouth was in rashes, my lips were sore, my cheeks and forehead had minimal amount of rash. It hurts, is very uncomfortable and hurts to touch. Could this be from the sunblock or the conch or even kissing my BF who also needed a shave. I am quite sensitive too. Help!!!!

  48. Love Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, especially the Fennel flavor. But I have accidentally purchased the Fennel Flavor toothpaste that has propolis in it on more than one occasion bc the packaging looked so similar to the version that does NOT have propolis added. Very glad they changed their packaging to make it more obvious:

  49. Becky says:

    I guess it is true that misery loves company! I share the same pains as you all do..and it’s nice to know that I am not alone!
    Out of nowhere, when i was 28, I woke up with the most intense, inflamed, red, and bumpy lips. I put on chapstick religiously before bed my whole life, so I figured it was just time to throw that tube away. I tried to bear the pain and help myself with medicated lip balms..but what a mistake! The only time I felt semi-relieved was when I was rubbing olive oil into my lips to get rid of built up junk. I eventually ended up going to an urgent care center and they diagnosed me as having impetigo. They gave me Mupirocin Ointment USP, 2% as a topical. All I would taste from sun up to sun down were disgusting chemicals, which eventually started messing with my throat. After applying the ointment to my lips for about 2 weeks, I was pretty much healed.
    Because I thought this was caused by OLD chapstick, I went about my business wearing every lipgloss and chapstick. Two months passed and what do you know, the horrible rash with all the bells and whistles came back. I went back to urgent care and this other doctor told me it had to be an allergic reaction to either the dyes or some certain chemical. This was actually horrible news for me. I am a burlesque dancer, and what is a burlesque dancer without red amazingly sparkly lips?! I was put on a Z-Pack of crazy steroids which helped alongside of the leftover ointment I had previously.
    I totally stopped trying to experiment with glosses and chapsticks, because the reactions I would get, that lasted weeks at a time, were just not worth it. Embarassing enough, when I would have shows or go to weddings, I would die my lips with a q-tip and koolaid powder. I am now putting all my eggs in my basket again and going to try the beeswax free herbal chapstick on this website. Fingers crossed!

    • Misery may love company, but on this blog we use our misery to help each other get out of it 🙂 I hope you have figured out the source of your rash. Please so let us know how it goes. Good luck and keep dancing!

      • Becky says:

        I love the support on this page! I have been on multiple blogs about this subject, but this seems to be the most informative. Not only can we discuss our issues, but there are ideas and options to help eachother figure it all out. It really is trippy to be so severely allergic to something then have to go through the crazy trial and error process.
        On a side note..I got another tattoo last Saturday, and have been putting Bacitracin on it to help with the healing process…low and behold..I am allergic to Bacitracin as well! I have little red itchy dots all over the outside of the tattoo where the cream was on my skin. I think it might be time to go see an allergy specialist : Woof. haha

  50. Annie says:

    finally there is an answer for me. I suffered from really dry, peeling and crack lips. It bleeds from time to time as well. When I started using EOS lipbalms, i was having the same rash reaction. So i tried different ‘natural’ brand cuz i figured it would be better for me. And i had an allergic reaction to all of them. The only ones that I did not react to was the petroleum based lip balm. But they make my dry and cracked lips even worse. This past summer, I suddenly acquired a new interest in ingredients-reading and finally connect the dots by reading all of the ingredients lists of all the lip balm that I tried. It’s really a shame because I find the natural lip balm condition my lips much better albeit the rash. >.<

  51. JudyStoneGoldman says:

    Any chance you Zi Zai could make a mascara without propolis? Even the Cleure brand has various waxes in it.

  52. micheles says:

    I too have the same problem and through trial and error found out it was beeswax. I thought I was alone in this. Most lipsticks (and other cosmetics) contain beeswax and it’s really hard to find one without. People at cosmetic counters think I’m crazy when I ask them if their products have beeswax in them. MAC has one line of their lipstick that doesn’t have any (but it’s a limited color selection) and some of the Clinique ones don’t either, but that was after a lot of research. I’ve found a few vegan lip balms over the years, but the selection is poor and actually I haven’t found the perfect one yet.

  53. efrainsmole says:

    i do have some reaction to beeswax to, my lips are tender n dark spot around my lips,so i need to stop using it

  54. Amanda says:

    This site helped me so much! About a month ago I woke up one morning with swollen lips and what felt like hives around the edge of my mouth. It eventually turned into small blisters which leaked (kind of like skin does after a bad sunburn). They continued to pulse, swell and itch…I was so miserable! I thought it was from a new toothpaste I was using so I stopped and treated it with Carmex, and it got better.
    Then about 3 weeks later I used Burtsbee’s lip balm, and within a few hours lips swelled and it was back!! I treated it the same way and determined it must be the lip balm and Beeswax is the first ingredient. These pictures are the spitting image of my reaction. Thank you for helping me determine my allergy! No Beeswax for me!

  55. Kivan says:

    My most sincere thank you for your blog and PICTURES! I have battled this peculiar lip swelling/rash for the past year, and have gone down a deep path into trying to control this with diet – as it was diagnosed as candida. As a result, I’ve had a very restrictive diet and suffered waves of depression and anxiety that I could not control periodic flare ups despite all of my heroic efforts (and some significant – and NOT WANTED! – weight-loss as a result of the diet). When I finally saw your post, your pictures were like a revelation. This is EXACTLY what my lips look like! I use only organic/all-natural products and have cycled through dozens of lip balms (thus the belief that it was not contact dermatitis, but something systemic). Today, I saw my naturopath who confirmed it was beeswax. And I almost sang the whole way home! I have a vegan lip balm (The MErry Hempsters) in my pocket and my fingers are crossed for a successful clearing up of all symptoms! I especially am thankful for those pictures…if I had merely read your blog I may have bypassed it as one of the many rash complaints on the web, which are unrelated to my issue. So thank you for taking time to make a difference! You really did!

    • You are welcome. It is funny – I never intended to write about that rash while it was happening to me. If I had had the foresight then, I would have taken many more photographs (and higher resolution ones). Glad the photos I did save for use on the blog were helpful to you. I am happy you have found your solution so your lips can be free again! Zi Zai! (That means to live free of restrictions and limitations).

  56. cheesegirl says:

    After years of perming, weaving, braiding my hair I got tired and cut it. I wanted a natural look so I last week I went to my stylist to do dread locks. I woke up the next day with a bad rash on my face (eye lids and nose). I thought it’s the new facial cream I was trying so I stopped using it. I used eight hour cream for the rash and it went away after two days. Some of the dreads came loose so yesterday I went back to have them fixed. As I’m typing this it’s 2 am in South Africa, I woke up because I had this burning, itching sensation on my ear. When I checked in the mirror I saw a similar rash I had on my face about a week ago. So I immidiately thought beeswax and my stylist had only touched the hair just above my right ear. I immidiately got up and googled and came accross this blog. I’m so grateful because I would have carried on dreading my hair not knowing I am allergic to beeswax. What’s more, as I was reading the comments a lot of things made sense. I have never been able to use lipbalm, lip gloss or lipstic because my lips always got really dry, chapped and cracked after applying lip products. I discovered eight hour cream about two years ago and that’s the only thing that has worked on my lips. I’m glad I know it’s the beeswax on all those products because I thought something was wrong with my lips. Thank you for this blog, it’s very informative. Now I can go back to sleep:-)

    • Oh, I hadn’t even thought about the balms used to form dreadlocks (like Knotty Boy and Dread Head)! Beeswax is the #1 ingredient in those. Thank you so much for sharing. I would then also add mustache wax to this list of products to avoid.

  57. Emily says:

    I have recently found out that I am also allergic to beeswax as well. I tried to look for lip products without beeswax and some products have Candelilla wax instead. Do you know if Candelilla wax would have the same affect? I’m afraid to try it out!

  58. Kim says:

    I recently had this problem due to beeswax combined with stress at work. I found apple cider vinager stopped the reaction. I used a cap of ACV and a cap of water, then dabbed around my mouth. It immediately dried it out and stopped the reaction. I was then left though with horrible dry skin (better than red tting that burned!). Since I couldn’t use even a vegan lib balm (maybe the oils since my skin was already irritated?) so I started using petrolium jelly. This did the trick and healed my skin 100%. It was the only thing I could use.
    I don’t know if I will dare use beeswax again, probably not, at least on my lips!

  59. Lynn says:

    I stumbled upon this blog looking for a solution to the same problem! About a month ago I had a respiratory virus, urinary tract infection and then my lips developed a rash just like yours! I went to my oriental medical doctor. She gave me acupuncture and treated me for internal toxic heat in the lung and kidney meridians. She told me that my lips were a result of the “heat”. I went back every week for a treatment and she said that the heat needed to still clear out of my system.

    Well, my sickness is gone, still dealing with urinary issues a bit (it is better, though) and my lips have stayed the same. I too make my own skincare products ( and was slathering on lip balm, moisture balm, healing balm, etc….like crazy! Well, when I read your post, I wondered if the lip thing was an allergy! I use beeswax in most of my products as well. So, last night I got out my vitamin E oil and put that on my lips instead of the usual products that contain beeswax. I used it all evening and before I went to bed. Well, I woke up in the middle of the night with burning, itching PAIN surrounding my lips. Even the top of my hand where I rubbed the excess oil into my skin was itching like crazy….so, now I’m wondering if it’s the vitamin E oil and not the beeswax!? The lip balms I make do NOT contain vitamin E. The moisture balm and healing balm DO. Those are the two products I have mostly been using….

    SO now I’m a mess. My lips are not only raw, red and burning, but this morning are HUGE. My kids looked at me this morning like, “dang lady, you look weird!” I am going back to see my Chinese medical doctor this evening. She had given me an ointment that I wasn’t using (because I figured my stuff was better…lol) so I am using that this morning to get relief. It’s a tiny tube and I know it’s petroleum based because I can smell it. I had used it once when one of my kids had pinkeye. It feels good when I put it on. I also had some cortisone cream I put on this morning to see if I could reduce the swelling, but it felt uncomfortable so I washed it off….and after reading all the posts here, I will not use it at all.

    I will post again with an update after tonight if I have anything to add…and I will keep you updated.

    Anything you can add regarding the vitamin E oil would be helpful too. Thanks! Great blog!!

    • Vitamin E oil can be derived from many sources. The 2 sources that I think may be a problem are wheat germ oil and soybean oil. If you are allergic to wheat or soy then Vitamin E oil derived from these sources may cause a reaction. I would suggest just using Vaseline. I know, I know, it is petroleum but very few people actually react to it. So for now I would suggest dab a few water droplets on your lips then cover with a THIN layer of Vaseline. Be patient bc if this is a contact dermatitis, it will take several days to calm down and your lips will eventually feel tight and then peel. Keep us updated.

      • Lynn says:

        I look freakish today! I look as though I have been hit with a blow torch around my mouth. I did some research on the vitamin e oil….duh! Here’s the link to the one I use in my products and the one I slathered all over my lips:

        It clearly states that when used undiluted, can be caustic! So, I am dealing with a burn here! I got acupuncture and cupping last night. She said that I was clearly dealing with stomach heat and she gave me herbs to help it clear. I’m calling the company about the vitamin e oil to see if they can give me more insight. I’m happy to send pictures if you are curious about this. I’ll keep you posted….

        • Thank you so much for sharing this info! Even I had no idea that vit E oil was caustic in undiluted form. Mountain Rose Herbs is a good company with excellent customer service and high quality products, so please don’t hold them responsible. I am going to amend this post with this new information. I am grateful to you. I hope that your rash resolves when you discontinue the vit E oil. Caustic substances can be counter-acted with vinegar. You may consider dabbing a bit of apple cider vinegar (mixed with water: 30 – 50% vinegar and the rest distilled or filtered water) on the rash to calm it down. It will sting temporarily.

  60. Karin says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I have been fighting this for months. When it flared up I went straight to my all natural bees wax lip balm….. Uugh! It was awful!!! I am currently using Calendula cream to keep my lips moist. However yesterday when I was picking my son up from school in -11 degree freezing cold, out of habit I reached for my beeswax lip balm… Within 1hour my lips were red, inflamed and itchy. Now that I have read this I am so happy to have an answer!!! Thank again!

  61. kristen says:

    I am so glad I found this blog and your website!!! I have been having this problem since June! To make a long story as short as possible… I have a history of fever blisters. I only get them occasionally and over the counter medicine always does the trick. About eight months ago I got one and wasn’t able to fight it off… For about a month I battled them and nothing I usually did helped. I tried everything I knew of to help with fever blisters and nothing was working. My ob/gyn thought maybe hormones were part of the problem, as I was six month pregnant the time. We finally resorted to high doses of Valtrex, which helped dry out the large blisters, but didn’t help the itching, pain, tingling. Then I started having these little tiny tiny blisters along with a red rash all across the very edge of my top lip. I assumed it was still the cold sores, because it felt just like they do, although there was a lot more itching and burning than normal. My ob/gyn sent me to a dermatologist as she wasn’t sure what else to try since the Valtrex wasn’t working. This is when the dermatologist suggested it was contact dermatitis. She treated me with Cordran lotion, which helped but was only intended for short term use. We tried Elidel and EpiCeram, neither helped. I changed face soap and moisturizer, no improvement. I just prayed that things would go back to normal after having the baby, but she was born in October and nothing has improved.
    So I stumbled across your blog, and started thinking maybe the beeswax is the issue. I never knew you could develop an allergy over time…. Sure enough after checking, my old chapstick and the aquaphor both have beeswax in them. Any the one lysine cream I bought for fever blisters, which set off the rash in the beginning has both beeswax and propolis extract in it… I am sure hoping I found the cause of this horrible rash.
    I have not put anything on my lips in two days… They are killing me! No improvement yet, but I’m hopeful. My question… I see the different names for beeswax, but what about the propolis. Will it be listed as such, or should I be looking for something else.
    Also, I’m curious if anyone else’s rash feels like the onset of fever blisters. I think for so long, I was sure that is what it was that it took me longer to accept it might be an allergy or reaction to something.
    Thanks again so much for this blog! It has been helpful and I’m hopeful I can figure out my allergy soon!

    • Hey Kristen – Aquaphor doesn’t have beeswax in it (ceresin is an alternative to beeswax), so it’s safe to use while your lips are healing. I try not to overuse it because of the petroleum and lanolin but it helped me immensely when my lips were in their extremely dry and cracked and irritated stage (FWIW, I also used it on my hands because this allergy tends to appear in little patches on fingers and hands – the allergy to balsam of peru (which cross reacts with beeswax) manifests as chelitis (basically eczema of the lips/mouth) but also as eczema/dermatitis on the hands and feet). My lip symptoms matched your description exactly for nearly two years.

      Anyhow, I would say to all of you – remember that it may not JUST be beeswax that is causing you grief. Beeswax is a major cross-reactant with Balsam of Peru (see my earlier post way at the top, maybe use CTRL+F and type in Balsam of Peru to find it)… Anyhow, if you cut out the beeswax and you don’t see an improvement, DON’T add the beeswax back in yet. First cut out all other cross reactants (mostly citrus oils and fragrances) and see if you improve. Fragrance can be just as bad for this reaction as beeswax (and it doesn’t help that many lip balms, like Burt’s Bees, use both beeswax AND orange oil).

      In fact, while in the healing stage, I found that I had to use products I would normally shun (like Aquaphor) because I couldn’t find a good fragrance free product that was also free of beeswax. It’s one of the frustrating ironies of this new wave of cosmetics… everything is “natural,” but not everything that is natural is good for our skin, especially not in high & repeated doses. I try very hard to follow a fragrance free life and as a result my allergy/sensitivity has 100% cleared up – I believe ultimately that was as helpful as cutting out the beeswax.
      Good luck!

    • Propolis will be listed simply as “propolis” or “propolis cera”. And yes, contact dermatitis can burn and tingle like fever blisters or HSV. Though typically it will feel more superficial because the deeper nerves are not involved as they are in HSV. Good luck to you…I bet you are on the right track.

    • kristen says:

      Thanks for the insight ladies. This blog is great and has a lot of really great information… I’m still trying to eliminate various things and figure out what is triggering my rash. I do notice that foods tend to aggravate it. I’m trying to look more into what cross reacts with what. It can be complicated. I did double check my Aquaphor and it does list “beeswax” as other ingredients. Mine is Aquaphor Lip Therapy, so I’m going to try and find some plain Aquaphor. For now I’ve been putting a tiny bit of petroleum jelly when I get desperate. I switched my toothpaste to Tom’s just in case. I have noticed a big improvement. So that got me thinking, maybe it was something in my toothpaste.
      Then a few days ago I had sore spot that looked like an ingrown hair or something. So I got out my Melaleuca Oil (tea tree oil) and put a little on it. I have been using the Melaleuca Oil for a long time and it’s been like miracle oil for us on so many occasions. This time however, I have developed a horrible itchy, burning rash exactly around where I dabbed the oil the other day. It feels like the skin is raw and looks similar to my lips when they were at their worst!!! Could it be the tea tree oil??? I have never reacted to it in the past. But sure enough, my toothpaste which I have been using for about 6 years also contains the Melaleuca Oil, as did my old chapstick and many other household products we use… I started purchasing soaps, cleaning items and some personal care products from the company Melaleuca about six years ago when we were battling eczema with my son. It was so good for his skin and within about a month of switching, his eczema was gone. We did no longer have to use the Protopic and other prescriptions on him. We had been battling his eczema for the first two years of his life and in a month it was almost completely gone. He is eight now and still has dry/sensitive skin, but rarely has any problems with eczema. Anyway, many of their products include the tea tree oil, and I have been using them ever since. I liked that they were more natural and contained fewer chemicals than over the counter cleaners and personal care items…
      So it’s got me wondering if I have developed an allergy to the Melaleuca Oil, or if maybe it is a cross reactant with whatever I am allergic to. Just curious if anyone has any knowledge on this topic. For now, I’m certainly going to avoid using anything I can live without. What is strange is my lips started to feel better, and then after I developed the horrible rash from the oil (on my leg) my lips flared back up a little… Could it be connected, even though I have not put anything on my lips/face in over a week? I am seriously considering allergy testing. I’m so tired of not feeling like my normal self. I’m just concerned the testing will be really expensive. Maybe I can tough it out a little longer and try to figure this out on my own, but it’s so overwhelming.
      I am however so glad to have this blog to read through. And I’m certainly sure now that this is an allergy to something. I’m really looking forward to trying the Beeswax Free Chap Stick from Zi Zai. Thanks again and sorry for the long reply…

      • Tea Tree Oil is a cross reactant to the Balsam of Peru allergy… same as the beeswax… I totally avoid it, even though I know it does have many beneficial health properties… my grandmother kept telling me, “but honey is so GOOD for you!” … but it’s not good for you if you’re allergic to it. 🙂 Tea Tree Oil is actually pretty intense and could absolutely be triggering your reaction.

        These sites have a great list of everything to avoid until your flare ups subside:

      • kristen says:

        Thanks for the resources Vanessa… Out of curiosity I decided to dab a little of the Melaleuca Oil on the inside of my arm, to see if it caused a rash again. It didn’t flare up right away, but two days later it was horrible. Itching, red and covered in these tiny little blisters. It started as a rash about the size of a dime, just where I dabbed the oil and over the week following that it got larger every day. It ended up about the size of a baseball before it started clearing up. So I’ve given up all my products that contain the Melaleuca Oil, and I’m considering eliminating all the products and food sources related to Balsam of Peru allergy… It’s going to be hard though. The links you provided should be very helpful. Thanks again!

    • Karla says:

      I too am thankful to have found this blog. When I went to my Dr. a few days ago she was sure I had cold sores, but being a cold sore expert, I was sure not, but it was similar. Then she took a swab for staph infection. I have been struggling for months with this horrid red rash around my mouth and sore lips, and at first was told it was a sun reaction, and to wear lots of sunscreen. So I bought the healthiest versions I could find – several different ones by Badger, and a few others – and slathered them on constantly when in the sun. I got worse and worse, and I may indeed have a staph infection now – will know tomorrow. Went to an allergist a few days ago and he told me to look at all the ingredients in everything I was using on my lips and cross check as I am on histamines and couldn’t have allergy tests. Sure enough, beeswax was in everything. On antibiotic cream and a bit of steroid from my Dr for three days and its quite a bit better. Since I saw the allergist yesterday morning I’m off all those other products and its better yet, though my lips are still mighty tender. So happy to have the beginning of an answer, and looking at all these posts with great interest. This blog is a huge service for those with this horrible disfiguring painful condition. Am going to order the Beeswax free balm and pray it works for me. But, I’m a golfer and also need a good sunscreen for my lips, hopefully will be able to find.

      • Glad you may have found your answer here! We are working on formulating lip balm with SPF but it is not yet available because we have not perfected the formula yet. In the meantime, I recommend the following vegan (i.e. beeswax-free) lip balm with SPF: That being said, there are flavors added to that line of lip balms, so I would only use them as protection when your lips are exposed to the sun and not all the time. To help soothe your lips as they are currently still raw/tight/sensitive/reactive, I recommend our CSFreedom lip balm or even our CSFreedom herbal oil. The herbs in these two products were originally chosen for their benefit in reducing cold sores, but the herbs have excellent anti-inflammatory properties. The CSFreedom lip balm and oil are both free of beeswax, so rest assured. Once your lips are back to normal, you can maintain moisture with our BeeswaxFree Herbal Lip Balm. Best of luck to you!! Seek Health…Find Beauty.

  62. Cass says:

    Hi that sounds horrible! I had a similar reaction to that except mine spread around the outside around my mouth a bit more and was fire engine red for around four months. No one knew what had happened or what had caused it, and It started when I had an allergic reaction to my formal dress. I got hives and was hospitalized. Now I have found out that I am allergic to balsam of Peru, and beeswax is a component of balsam of Peru which I am also allergic to. I can’t use Bert’s bees lip products or maybelline baby lips or anything, other than Lucas paw paw ointmen and white petroleum jelly.
    This website helped me a lot with finding out what I can and can’t use:

    Thanks for sharing your story with me 🙂

  63. sandra says:

    I have the same lips! What is happening to me, is that I have had an eczema outbreak on my face and neck and eyes for about 4 months (after about 40 years relatively eczema-free). The only thing that changed in my life was that I’ve used glaucoma drops for several years and had cataract surgery a year ago – my body hasn’t been the same snce! I react to so many things, including vaseline. So, I made some “unpetroleum jelly” with beeswax and olive oil – no chemicals, so no problem, right? Ha! I now have lips (and the area around them) that are red, itchy, tingling and burning. Any suggestions are welcome – right now I am putting nothing in my eyes or on my face. I have an appointment with an allergist in a few days. Anything I should ask him?

    • I have read of a few cases of people reacting to olive oil, but I would suspect that it is the propolis in the beeswax. Patch tests for allergies typically include propolis, but I you might specifically request that if the allergist plans to do a patch test. Do you wear mascara? Many mascaras contain beeswax or carnauba wax (a cross-reactant for those with propolis allergy). The thing about eczema (if it is atopic dermatitis) is that the atopic person can react to many substances that a less-sensitive person would not react to. So this might take some detective work to figure out what triggered the rash on your eyes and neck. Be sure to read through all the comments on our other post: How I Healed the Rash Around my Mouth

  64. Sarah Z. says:

    Thank you for your insight on this topic. I have a similar allergy to beeswax, and a breakout can be very painful. I recently learned that colloidal silver drops can seriously speed up the healing process. I absolutely recommend it to people who deal with lip rashes or herpes. Just last week I suffered from a breakout. I applied a tiny drop and noticed a difference immediately. I just want to spread the word. 🙂

  65. Linda M. says:

    I’ve had badly chapped lips this winter and have been using lip balm like crazy. Bert’s Bees seemed to make it worse (I thought it was the peppermint oil) so I switched to something else which didn’t hurt but didn’t really help. Then I tried Aquaphor Lip Therapy but had the same itchy angry reaction, so I literally wrote down the ingredients in both products and compared them. Bazinga! Beeswax! Which led me to your very helpful blog, thank you. So it’s back to the plain petrolatum-based Aquaphor Ointment and/or Blistex Complete Moisture (but not Blistex Medicated Lip Therapy, which also has beeswax). I also occasionally get red itchy patches on my eyelids and yes, my mascara has beeswax. Sheesh. Thanks for the helpful information.

  66. Sam Sharp says:

    Hi! Thank you for this wonderful blog, as it was very enlightening. Here’s my story: I developed contact dermitis to my makeup in January of 2012. A rash slowly formed around my lips and eyes, and then eventually (because not knowing what it was, I kept covering it with more make-up) it spread rapidly and swelled around my eyes and lips. I finally saw a dermatologist, who told me to throw out all of my make-up and schedule a skin test. I couldn’t afford the skin test, so I have sense done my own research on and off. I’ve tried at least ten mascaras in the past year (taking time to apply steroid cream and heal the rash on my eyes between each try), and each of them have left my eyes swollen and itchy. I made a list tonight of all ingredients from each of the mascaras, from the drug store brands to the organics, and I think I’ve found the culprit. Beeswax! (Some of them also contained Iron Oxide, Titanium Oxide, and Mica. Not all.) It seems so harmless, but it’s in every make-up I’ve worn from eyeliner to mascara to lipgloss. One year later, I’m still devastated that after years of theatrically painting my face every day, I can’t do that anymore. Have any of you with a make-up/beeswax allergy managed to find make-ups that won’t break your skin out?

    • Ugh, frustrating, right? Readers have written in to share similar stories and it seems there isn’t any one cosmetic line that works for everyone. Some people have said Clinique does not cause them a problem, others have suggested Origins also works fine. I use the foundation powder form Glo Minerals with no issues. And I use Cover Girl’s cheapest mascara (Super Thick Lash) which does not have beeswax in it. A colleague of mine with very sensitive skin uses Jane Iredale mineral makeup (made in the next town over from Fort Collins, CO where we are located). If you find something that works well for you, please share with us!

      • I use Bare Minerals foundation and Diane Young Converall Undereye Concealer (I use anywhere on my face as a general concealer). No problems with either – and I’ve got very sensitive skin. Haven’t been able to use mascara for years so am excited to try the Cover Girl Super Thick Lash you recommend. Just as an aside, Diane Young makes many serums and moisturizers for mature skin, and many of them are irritating to me, so I’m not able to recommend the brand as a whole.

        This is such a wonderful thread. I was diagnosed with propolis allergy after a patch test (along with formaldehyde and fragrances), and it’s been so helpful to hear others’ experiences. But the changes in my skin are amazing since I’ve eliminated these allergens.

      • I am currently trying Tates Natural Miracle Conditioning Lip Balm which I purchased locally. The website is I am waiting for a response from the owners to verify that it does not contain any beeswax (cera alba) or bees glue (propolis) or other bee bi-product.

  67. Quick question – you mention the Cover Girl Super Thick Lash mascara. Is that the same as Cover Girl Professional Super Thick Lash?

  68. The only makeup that I recommend is Estee Lauder Double Wear. I do not use sponges or brushes to apply, only clean finger tips. It will adhere to nailpolish and takes time to rub off so try to avoid this. Make certain that your face is well moisturized before applying because Double Wear lasts all day, through fitness work-outs, and swimming. I can apply it around my eyes and lips without concerns. I use blush and bronzing powder before putting on Double Wear. This eliminates the need to powder after. I am allergic to many products (bee, maple, thistle) and foods (sugar, syrups, honeys, meats, chocolate, dairy, and fruits except citrus). Double Wear helps protect my skin. My lips have been a problem for over a year – after trying Burt’s Bee Products. I didn’t even consider that I would have a problem with beeswax though I am alergic to honey. In the last few days – I have finally found relief from pealing, irritated lips – by using Tates Natural Miracle Conditioning Lip Balm. So far, it really does appear to work miraculously. There are no bee products in the ingredients. I am waiting for a response from the owners to verify.

  69. andreana says:

    This has so much great information!!! I’m in the process of tethering out A LOT of allergies and am currently on a rotation diet. While I’m eating foods that don’t produce an allergic reaction in my body, I’m still taking a number of vitamins that contain things like beeswax. There’s no contact dermatitis, just a few other bodily reactions that I’m trying to decypher. My initial google search was “If I’m allergic to honey am I allergic to beeswax”. While I didn’t necessarily get the answer I was first after, I did get a lot of other great information – your link to the histmaine diet site is my next stop. Thank you!!!

  70. Annoyed says:

    My recent bout of Perioral Dermatitis has lead me to your blog. This is all such great information as I was diagnosed with PD but the rash is mainly along my lip boarder, leading me to believe it is more of an irritation or allergy – but I suppose they’re all on in the same. I’m curious about how your rash formed and reacted. Mine has started out with a few small red bumps along the boarder of my lip that easily break open so I’m left with tiny weeping spots that crust and scab up. If I leave it alone completely it dries up and flakes away. This keeps happening when I come in contact with whatever is irritating my skin. My first guess would be fluoride as that has been connected with PD, next would be SLS.

    • Hey Annoyed. 🙂 Mine started out exactly the same way. I did cut out SLS entirely, but I don’t believe that was the culprit, but rather a complicating factor. SLS is a major irritant – it’s basically engine degreaser – and it causes tiny microscopic abrasions in the skin (or gums, if it’s in your toothpaste)… it takes the body 48 hours to get rid of it, so since we all brush our teeth at least once a day, or wash our hands, etc., it’s always present in our system… Anyhow, cutting out SLS helps, because it means whatever the irritant actually is (beeswax, a fragrance, whatever)… the actual irritant is less easily absorbed into the irritated skin. For example, when I got rid of SLS, my mouth ulcers went away completely (and I had suffered from them for almost my entire life).

      Anyhow, my lips were exactly like yours, and an allergy to balsam of peru was the culprit. I’d advise cutting out all beeswax, topical or ingested, and do some googling for the BOP allergy, which is a major trigger for perioral dermatitis.

      • Annoyed says:

        Thanks for the fast response! Good to know someone’s skin acted the same way, I find it very frustrating reading everything on the internet only to confuse myself more. Sometimes it seems like I have PD and other times it seems like it might just be something irritating my skin. I go back and forth daily.

        I just did some research on BOP and I wouldn’t doubt that might be a factor. However, it seems like BOP is in A LOT of products/foods/etc. how in the world do you cut out everything. I was reading it’s in a lot of dental stuff, and I recently had a lot of work done so I found that interesting. How would you get around the dental cement though? This is posing to be difficult.

        Some other factors I have taken notice to over the years and when it flares is low humidity (anything overly drying really), my boyfriends stubble (if we’re rubbing faces to aggressively), and fluoride. Now that I think about it maybe it isn’t fluoride and actually the BOP?

        You can probably see how confused I am with this lol I guess it’s just trial and error till you find out what is really causing it.

        • Yes, it is a lot of trial and error when it comes to allergic skin reactions. Even the best allergy tests can give false postitives or false negatives, though they may be helpful. Good luck and if you figure it out, please do share your findings here. Good luck!

  71. Natalie says:

    I was experiencing the same rash around my mouth for about 8 months before I figured out what was happening. I thought it was a sunburn so I used Burt’s bees lip balm religiously and would constantly reapply hoping it would help heal the rash. I started using carmex and it started to heal so I started using Burt’s bees again. The rash came right back! After some Internet research I realized it might be contact dermatitis from beeswax. I stopped using products with beeswax and its healing nicely. Ladies who are experiencing this and think it might an allergic reaction- check your lipstick labels too as many lipsticks (like my fav shade by MAC) contain beeswax!

  72. Kerri Beirne says:

    I turned 47 in January and I also gave up smoking at that time. Since that time, I have been experiencing ugly red patches that appear in varying sizes either side and below my mouth. After appearing they become very dry, flaky and red and impossible to conceal. I thought it was the stopping smoking that was causing it but now after reading your article, I’m beginning to think I have developed a beeswax intolerance. My friend even gave me some beeswax lip balm for my birthday! I have spent the last 24 hours brushing my teeth with listerine mouthwash and avoiding toothpastes and beeswax balms and there is a definite improvement already. I am using Vaseline and Nivea to as it is still very dry but not so red.

  73. AJ says:

    I’m so glad that I found this thread. I’ve been at my wit’s end trying to figure out what’s causing my lip problems. I’m pretty sure that I have a 2-part problem. Part 1: I started developing some sores and cracking on my lips after taking a supplementary part-time job at a jewelry counter last fall. It could be contact dermatitis from some of the metal jewelry and/or dehydration from the store environment. Part 2: I started developing the “Fruit-juice rash” around my lips after slathering on more and more lip gloss to alleviate Part 1. It would eventually dry up and flake off, as mentioned above. I just checked my lip gloss, and sure enough, it contains beeswax. So now I can see if eliminating beeswax lip products will help with Part 2.

    By the way, I’ve never been able to use Burt’s Bees products, because they all seem to have a lot of mint in them. I discovered years ago that if I use hair or skin products containing mint, I’ll develop blisters after the 3rd or 4th use.

  74. Mandyb says:

    I believe my lips be allergic to beeswax also. If that is the case could I also have a reaction to raw local unfiltered honey?
    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories! It has made coping with my lip issues more bearable knowing that I am not alone.

  75. youtu.Be says:

    Hola! I’ve been following your blog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent work!

    • Hello from Fort Collins, CO and thank you! I have been insanely busy lately, so I have been slacking on the upkeep of the blog. I intend to make more time to share more info in the upcoming weeks. Thanks for your support!

  76. Amanda Pratt says:

    Thank you for writing this! I have had a rash for a year around my mouth and kept putting Blistex on it! I have placed an order for your beeswax free balm and can’t wait to try it!

  77. Amanda Pratt says:

    Oh! Is there any other common items that contain beeswax or foods I should stay away from if I have this allergy? Thanks.

    • Avoid propolis in any supplements, toothpaste and topical lotions. Beeswax is in ointments, lotions, sunscreens (especially all-natural or made for kids), and mascara. It often will be listed as “Cera Alba”. I find small amounts of honey eaten are fine for most people, but avoid it topically for now.

      • Amanda Pratt says:

        I eat honey almost every day and never noticed an issue with that. Wow I didn’t realize mascara had that in there! I guess that explains why my eyes always get so irritated. Anyone know of any good mascara that is free of propolis?

    • Christine says:

      Jelly beans and some other candies are coated with beeswax. I saw a sign at Whole Foods that their apples have beeswax on them. I cut up my apples rather than bite into them and am fine (my allergist suggested that).

      • Yes, thank you for sharing that. I would also avoid lip sticks and lip glosses for now, too. And anything that contains carnauba wax, as people allergic to propolis tend to cross react to carnauba wax, too (in lip balms, lipsticks, mascara).

  78. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for posting those pictures! In the past, I would use Burt’s Beeswax constantly throughout the day. I even kept a tube on my nightstand! Last month, I broke out in a rash that appears identical to your pictures. Initially I though it was mere dehydration, but then I happened upon this page. I have since stopped using products with beeswax and it appears that the dry skin is finally going away. I purchased a couple of tubes of your beeswax-free balm today! So excited to use something other than petroleum jelly. I had never even heard of developing an allergy due to over exposure before reading this blog.

    • So glad you found the information helpful. I have found that ever since I stopped using beeswax products, the only time my lips ever get dry is if I sleep with my mouth open (like when I have a stuffy nose) or when I spend the day out in the cold dry winter air (like skiing or snowshoeing). Otherwise, I apply the BeeswaxFree Lip Balm before I go to bed and that is often all I need! Your order will ship out out tonight (as soon as I am done seeing patients for the day).

  79. I just received the Zi Zai BeeswaxFree Lip Balm and the tinted limp balm! Thank you so much for creating these products. I tried them out and of course it was wonderful to trust that the product would be safe. Beyond that, it was such a treat to be able to put on a touch of what felt like makeup. I haven’t been able to wear eye makeup or lipstick for a long, long time, and only in the last year–with patch testing–did I learn about my allergies (including propolis, fragrance, Balsum of Peru, and formaldehyde. Eliminating nearly all the products I was using and offending foods has made a big difference. I look and feel better, but I miss being able to “dress up” my face a little.

    Pretty soon I’m going to try one of the beeswax-free masacaras recommended and see if my eyes are ready for that. I would love it if you would venture into the mascara business!!

    Thanks for the support and information on this blog.

  80. Amanda says:

    Can you recommend any beeswax and carnauba wax free mascaras? I can’t find anything that doesn’t have one or the other.

  81. tracy bridge says:

    I understand all too well the side affects of beeswax products ,having used a product called “the bees knees” body butter made by a good friend of mine. Excellent for holding in moisture in the cold winter months, I used the product on my face and hands.My skin was so soft but then it became red and bumpy.Then I used it on my feet to keep them soft, but they became swollen , itchy and red. Unfortunately im part of the 6 percent of the population that sadly cant use the wonderful beeswax products.

  82. Jaynie says:

    You have absolutely no idea how excited and relieved I am to have found this blog post. I’ve suffered from SEVERE allergic reactions to lip products for TEN YEARS! In the past, I’d used various lip products for most of my life with no issues at all. Then after using a hemp lip balm from The Body Shop and Burt’s Bees lip balm (a common culprit it seems, after reading the tons of comments here!), I had a terrifying reaction with painful swelling, blistering, weeping, and crusting. I haven’t been the same since that initial reaction. Over the past several years, I’ve experimented BLINDLY and tried out countless lip products, praying to find good lipsticks and lip glosses to use without causing reactions. I’ve failed utterly, feeling like a freak with overly sensitive lips. Reading your post here and seeing your photos makes me feel like I’m not alone, and somewhat comforted, knowing that this problem isn’t rare. Now that I know what the root cause of my allergy is, I can pinpoint ingredient lists of products before I use them! I’m sad that it took me this long to find the answer, but SO THANKFUL to you for sharing your experience, and in turn, giving me some hope for my situation. THANK YOU!!!

  83. Safira says:

    Thank you, this post is really helpful! I have exactly the same rash like yours. I have suspected my Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lipbalm since the first time the rash appeared because that was the only thing I put on my lips at that time. But I have been using it for about 3 month-ish before the rash first appeared, so I thought maybe it was because the lip balm that I’m using is no longer in a good condition, so I purchased a new one. I tried using the new one (it’s the same Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip balm, just new) and it made my lips red and itchy too! After that I am convinced that it’s the lip balm that irritate my skin around the lips.

    What I’m not sure is whether I have allergic reaction to beeswax, menthol, or lanolin in it? (Burt’s Bees Beeswax lip balm has all those ingredients). I tried using regular lipbalm from nivea, the one in the white tube and it helps my skin heals. I suppose it doesn’t contain whatever irritant/allergen that caused my reaction. But my lips (not the skin around my lips) was not as soft as it was when I was using the Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, and I do really like the minty tingly feeling the Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lipbalm has. I’m trying Moo Goo lipbalm right now (contains beeswax but no menthol or lanolin) in the hope that I won’t get rash (If so I might not be allergic to beeswax).

    I remember being stung by a bee the other day (I think before I get the rash around my lips). Could it be causing allergy to beeswax? Please help!

    • Allergies to bee stings is not the same thing as an allergy to beeswax (you can have one or both, but they do not cause each other). The propolis in beeswax, the menthol, or the lanolin could be causing your rash – they have all been known to cause allergic reactions. There is an awesome herbal patch used to treat bruising and pain that I give to many of my patients with injuries, but it contains menthol and in sensitive individuals it can cause a rash that looks like poison ivy. I’ve seen it often.

  84. Texas Jennifer says:

    Thanks for all the info! I recently developed new allergies after giving birth to my now 3 month old daughter (who is allergic to milk & soy- that’s fun too!). I used dr palmers cocoa butter creme on my eyes and face for 4 days. Didn’t react until the 4th day but my eyes got really swollen and I was itchy all over. After 4 days on benedryl, it finally went away. This past weekend I put on the same sunscreen from the same bottle I used before I was pregnant. Within an hour I was itching & starting to puff. Looked at the ingredients & beeswax! I got rid of that reaction the same day, but I woke up this morning looking puffy. I was reading the comments people have left and someone said its in ssome teroid creams. OMG, it IS in Cortizone10 creme with Aloe. I had to look it up on their website since its not onthe tube! That’s what I’ve been using for my baby girls severe ezcema from when she was on the milk formula. I’ll be wearing gloves from now on!! Thanks for letting people comment- I was going crazy!

  85. Jennifer says:

    HEY, READ THIS!! I got a rash every time I used that popular EOS lip balm or whatever. It was the honeydew kind. I’m now using the raspberry. I would also get it because of kissing my cat. Apparently, I’m allergic to animal saliva. I put Clarkia on my lips and it went away within 2-3 days. Clarkia is a parasite medicine, but I think it was the tea tree oil that helped my lips. Has anyone else tried this?

    • Yes, saliva of any kind (including your own) can cause a rash. Many readers have written to me to extoll the virtues of tea tree oil (an essential oil) and while I think it can be helpful for some people, other people can actually have an allergic reaction to it, so I caution readers to be aware of this in case you try it and your rash gets worse. Artificial flavorings and dyes are common skin allergens – thank you for bringing that to our attention. If you have a lip/mouth rash, avoid any lip balm that is flavored or uses artificial colorants. (FYI, all of Zi Zai’s lip balms are 100% natural – no artificial colors, fragrances or dyes)

  86. Karin says:

    RELEIF!! Finally I have an answer! Thank you to everyone for posting……Please tell me that you ship to Canada??!!! I couldn’t get the shipping calculator to work…. like everyone else, I have been searching for an answer for months now…. I would love to try your lip balm and tinted lip balm.
    Is it only CARNAUBA WAX that reacts with propolis or does CANDELILLA WAX react to propolis / beeswax as well??
    Thank you for all the information…. Please ship to Canada!!

  87. Karin says:

    …… forgot to mention… I have been applying ‘Thompson’s Calendula Ointment’… that seems to be helping… what is your opinion on this product?
    Thank you again!!

  88. Shelby says:

    Can anyone tell me anything about beeswax in candles? I just went to the doctor to confirm an allergic reaction, to some chapsticks I was using w/ beeswax. It takes about a week for the lips to calm down and stop itching. Then I reacted a couple times with itchy/tingly tongue/throat to honey. And now the last 2 days in a row my husband burned a candle and a couple hours later I started coughing and couldn’t stop. Yesterday i thought maybe I”m coming down with something, but after an hour or so it went away. Just a tickle in my throat (actually it felt tight all the way down, like heartburn) but just keep coughing like I swallowed down the wrong tube only I didn’t. Same thing happened today a couple hours after burning the same candle. Can’t find any information online about the ingredients (Sam’s Club Aromatique candles) but that’s my guess. I’m wondering when to call 9-1-1. I don’t have an epipen, I never felt like I couldn’t breathe, just that it was a little laborious and loud going in and out (not wheezing). I was trying to put off an epipen as they are $300 a piece, but now I’m thinking I should get one,especially as I’ll be travelling/flying in a few days. 🙁 Coming to grips with developing an allergy in my mid-30’s.

    • Ooh, that is a pretty severe allergy. I had not considered breathing in of wax to be an issue, but it certainly could be. First off, stop burning beeswax candles in your home. Perhaps try soy candles? And since you may find yourself in a restaurant or friend’s home where candles are being burned, an epipen sounds like a wise investment.

  89. Cymantha (Cy) Governs says:


  90. Cymantha (Cy) Governs says:

    Also, someone above said they treated it with Carmex. Just looked online and Carmex has beeswax in it! I had a reaction to a mainly beeswax lip balm a couple years ago and just had it again. I think it must be my nightly Carmex (breaks my heart–I love it, but I’ll probably go straight vaseline.

    • Cy,
      I am using all Aveeno products now made with oatmeal. I use it on my lips and no longer need lip balm. That made a significant difference. Being allergic to honey, syrups, and sugar for years, I should have known that Burt’s lip balms would be a problem but it was too late by the time the reaction developed – which lasted for months. I hope this information helps you.

      • Cymantha (Cy) Governs says:

        Thank you! I’m very sad. I love my Carmex, but I’m glad to know there are other options. I appreciate your suggestion!

  91. Tee says:

    Oh, I cannot thank you enough for this information. I was in tears over this… I was convinced I was about to get my very first set of cold sores! But the area around my mouth looks exactly like yours… I am so relieved to know that I am not alone in this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  92. leslie says:

    I just purchased some propolis to help with other health ailments…. now, I am wondering, if I will be allergic to it, when it comes. I am allergic to pollen, but not bee’s or honey……

    • Most people are NOT allergic to propolis. And an allergy to pollen does not translate into an allergy to propolis either. In fact, one known treatment to desensitize a person to local pollen is to eat local honey and chew on local beeswax. I wouldn’t worry about an allergy to propolis unless you develop symptoms once you start taking it.

  93. Erica says:

    I cannot tell you what a relief it was to find this blog and FINALLY people who can relate to what I have been going through! I have been a chapstick addict for about 15 years. First, ChapStick brand, then moved on recently to the EOS pods. About a year or so ago, I developed dry skin around my lips, and my dermotologist told me it was dermatitis. He prescribed Locoid, a topical cream to apply to the affected areas. It helped very little, so I agreed to a patch test. He found that I am allergic to Balsam of Peru and to look at the items in which it is contained that are related to my mouth. So, I filtered out some toothpastes I was using, several butter products containing benzoates, Trader Joe’s tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner, and my Clean & Clear face wash containing benzyl peroxide. Still no relief after four weeks. The doctor advised me to use Aquaphor on my lips to help them heal, but I have still had no relief. Sure enough, I look on the back of my Aquaphor, and I see “beeswax.” It has to be it. I would like to hear anyone’s recommendations for beeswax-free lip products. I don’t think I’ll be able to cease using chapstick. Will there be side-effects?

    • vanessapeters says:

      Dear Erica,
      I’ve been following (and commenting) on this thread for a long time, thought I’d pop in and offer some feedback.

      1. If you’re looking for beeswax free lip balm, the founder of this site, Diana, makes a fantastic one. Just head to the very top of this page and go to her online store. I’ve been using it for more than a year and I love it.

      2. Aquaphor doesn’t have beeswax it in… at least mine doesn’t. I still use it occasionally and it’s one of the few mainstream products that doesn’t have ingredients that react with a BOP allergy. Which aquaphor product are you using? I use the advanced therapy healing ointment and it’s definitely beeswax free. I think their older products might have used beeswax so make sure you have a new container of it. Here’s the link on the EWG database (and AMAZING resource for researching ingredients):

      3. Do a CTRL+F on this page with the word “balsam” to see some of the earlier discussions… Unfortunately once you have been sensitized to BOP, you often have to watch what you eat for a while as well.
      These sites have a great list of everything to avoid until your flare ups subside:

      Take care and don’t give up – it will get better!

      • Jodi says:

        Aquaphor lip product does have beeswax. I was in CVS today and checked the ingredients on the package. I used to use it (along with everything else) but I stopped once I found this blog. My chemical testing also revealed the balsam of Peru allergy and my allergist told me to stop eating mango. I also have a problem with kiwi but all other fruit seems fine. Once these allergies develop, there seems to be no turning back!

      • Erica says:

        Thank you both so much for your comments and insight! This makes me feel so much better. I had picked up Aquaphor on two different occasions — and just realized the difference and perhaps why I was not finding relief. The Aquaphor in the tube with a lip-friendly applicator is dubbed “Lip Repair” and that in fact has beeswax, but the other traditional tube does not. I went to Whole Foods and picked up a few different balms yesterday (Alba Botanica seems to be my favorite right now), but I will definitely look at the author’s balm.

        I truly appreciate your support and resources. I will be keeping a very close eye on what I eat to see if and when I feel reactions.

        Thank you!!

      • Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Vanessa!

    • If you truly are allergic to the propolis that can be found in beeswax, Chapstick will keep causing the rash. Try the BeeswaxFree herbal lip balm from Zi Zai Dermatology. The Chinese herbs in the balm are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Available in original formula or tinted (a lovely light wine color), buy it here:

  94. H Green says:

    After three years of rashes exactly like you described I finally came across this post and figured out what was happening. I was suddenly reacting to beeswax in the Neutrogena lip balm I had used for probably 15 years. I never thought it was an lip balm or makeup allergy because it would come and go. I figured if I was allergic to my lip balm the rash would always be there. It got so bad this last time I could barely smile and eating was painful. That’s when I spent hours researching because my doctors couldn’t figure it out. I have been using plain Vaseline lip therapy and like you I only need it in the morning and at night after needing my lip balm everywhere I went for years. Thank you so much.

  95. Julie says:

    Wow! I Think You Helped Me Find The Cause Of My Lip Irritation! I Have Been Struggling With It On And off Since June! Mine Would Flare Up Often and Sometimes Last For A Week Or more. It Must Be A Total Coincidence That I Had Filler Injection In My Lips Exactly One Month Before I Started Having issues. Thank You So Much!!!

    Quick Question: When The Rash Would Flare Up Were They Very Tiny Blistery Bumps? And Then After That Clears Up Peeling For Days?

    • The tiny blisters (called “vesicles”) are a common symptom in allergic contact dermatitis. Once thy open up and ooze, or dry out, then the skin will feel dry and tight and might peel. This is typical.

  96. lea says:

    I found this information very helpful. Thank you however I could not access the list of foods high in histamine

  97. Jody M. says:

    I’m so glad I found this information! I recently found out I’m allergic to propolis (on Friday), however, I’ve only been putting vaseline on my lips for months now (as directed by my dermatologist). Although my rash has healed up quite a bit (it looked EXACTLY like yours)… my lips are still bothering me. I still have redness and they tingle often. I do have honey with my tea each morning, I’m wondering if I could be allergic to honey as well as propolis? I’m getting frustrated. I guess I need to be patient and switch out my toothpaste, try different makeup, cleansers, etc. I have no idea how to figure out what is irritating my lips so much! Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Skip the honey in your tea until this resolves and your lips heal fully. Unfiltered honey will likely have propolis in it. Your lips MAY no longer react so strongly to oral ingestion of honey once they are fully healed, but until then, it will aggravate them. For some people even oral ingestion of honey is not possible without a skin reaction, so proceed with caution in the future.

      • Jody M. says:

        Thanks for your reply and advice. I’ll be sad to give up honey, but I’m glad to know it could be part of the problem. I wasn’t sure if it would have propolis in it, so this is good to know.

        • Katherine says:

          Also check your toothpaste for propolis in it. Some natural toothpastes contain it. Regarding the honey, once your lips completely heal, try honey again to see if you react. If so then you know how you react to it. If not, then the reaction may have been because your lips had not completely healed before. Last week I had a reaction to beeswax in a lip product. 6 days later I tried a new lipstick and it gave me a minor burning sedation. I was so bummed because I did not know what was in it to cause that since it was beeswax free. I decided to try the new lipstick one more time yesterday and had no reaction. I believe it was because my lips had fully healed 😉

  98. Sarah says:

    Have you ever experienced a reaction from candelilla wax? I am looking for an alternative to use in my cosmetics. I was recently treated for an eyelid infection that lasted for months, and caused a lot of discomfort. I came to find out that almost every reasonably priced mascara contains beeswax. I stopped using my regular (beeswax) mascara and it cleared up within a couple days. I am hoping that candelilla wax will be a much less irritating choice of ingredient. Any insight is much appreciated! Thanks 🙂

    • I personally have not had any negative reaction to candelilla wax, nor have any of my customers or patients reported any negative reactions. We use candelilla wax in our BeeswaxFree Lip Balm and in our CSFreedom Lip Balm (for cold sores) as well as our Little Red Rash Ointment. We chose candelilla wax instead of carnauba wax because there have been some reports of propolis-sensitive people cross reacting to carnauba wax. Carnauba wax is in a lot of mascaras, so look out for it. The cheaper mascaras tend to use paraffin wax, so look for that instead of beeswax or carnauba wax if you cannot find one with candelilla wax.

    • Jody M. says:

      Hi Sarah,
      I have the same allergy (to propolis). My Mom is making me some cosmetics that have candellila wax in them. I’ll let you know how it goes!. (Although, of course, everyone is different in terms to their reactions to various substances). But, I’m in the same boat – wondering if Candellila will be a good substitute for propolis-containing beeswax.

  99. Melissa says:

    Thank you for your post, which seems to be a gift that keeps on giving by way of helping others with valuable information. Because of your post, I may, just MAY have figured out my very bad lip/mouth rashes. After reading your blog, I checked my lip balms and realized several have beeswax as a main ingredient; but the main culprit, I suspect, is my dental floss, which is coated in beeswax. I made the connection only because my index finger would also get a rash (the finger I wrapped the floss around).

    What’s strange is I use “un-petroleum” jelly (which also has beeswax in its list of ingredients) and don’t seem to have a problem with those. Maybe it’s because the beeswax is not as concentrated?

    Does anyone know, can an allergist patch test for a beeswax allergy?

    Warm regards.

  100. Ellie says:

    For all of you who seem to have the same rash, just leave it alone. Don’t put anything on your lips so the skin will peel quicker. In the past two years, I’ve had the same rash a few times and at first I moisterized my lips but it seemed to make it worse and when i let it dry up and flake it actually iced and burned less. At first I thought it was my neighbor’s dog, mangoes, menthol, or artificial floors but then I made my own lipstick and reacted to the coconut oil in it and because there are coconut oil allergies I my family it made perfect sense. But now I’m avoiding both coconut oil and beeswax and i haven’t had any problems since. But i did get that rash several times and I now know what to do. Let your lips dry out as quickly as possible so the skin can peel and once it does, let it. At most the rash will last a week and a half, and you can get on with your life, which is extremely liberating. Good luck to all of you!

  101. Kelsi says:

    Hi.. I don’t know how old this thread is but maybe I can get a response from someone.. My son and daughter are three and one year old. They just came back from their grandmas house today with a horrible rash on their backs and legs ..some is even on my daughters face .. They were using burts bees all natural baby wash which I have never used kb them .. I don’t know how to help them or maybe I should just take them both too the dr. tomorrow .. I am positive this burts bees wash is the cause of this.. I don’t know why mom would even use it in the first place.. What can I do to help their rash any advice?

    • It may or may not be the Burts Bees wash. Although technically it is possible for young children to be allergic to propolis, no one is born allergic to it and it takes repeated exposure to develop the allergy. So if it was Burts Bees wash, it may have been a different ingredient or it may have been a different substance altogether. It seems that since they both developed it at the exact same time, it would be likely it was something that they both came into direct contact with. You can get poison ivy any time of year, so that is something to consider if they were playing outside. If you consider the location of the rash, it may have been laundry detergent used to wash bed linens if they slept over. I would suspect fragrance in laundry detergent is a more likely suspect than the body wash. As far as helping the rash resolve faster, this will depend on what has caused it. I highly recommend every household with children keep our Little Red Rash ointment on hand for just such these urgent cases. Bathing them in lukewarm bath water with 2 to 4 cups of oatmeal in it will help reduce inflammation and itching as well. Good luck.

      • Sarah says:

        Hi! Concerning the rash after using Burt’s Bees wash, I had also experienced a similar reaction to a body product containing beeswax. I had been using a body lotion for about a week and noticed that my hands were becoming increasingly dry and somewhat achy, a symptom that I don’t usually experience from bath products. On a whim, I began to read the ingredients list on my lotion and found that it contained beeswax. I immediately stopped using it and the aching was gone in a couple days. It seems to me that beeswax is being used more frequently in personal care products. In my case, I find that avoiding beeswax altogether has greatly diminished these uncomfortable skin irritations. All the best!

    • G.H. says:


      Regarding the Burts Bees baby wash, they have regular/scented and unscented, but in my experience the unscented one is not easy to find in local stores, so it’s likely that your kids’ grandma had bought them the scented one.

      I used a little bit of the Burts Bees regular/scented baby wash recently to wash my hands, and I experienced terrible stinging and redness. Even though the product was on my hands for only maybe 15 seconds, the burning sensation lasted for more than an hour afterwards. To try to get it off, I washed my hands several more times with a neutral handwash (that I have used for years and does not give me any trouble), and applied lotion several times, but that didn’t stop the burning.

      (I can’t imagine how unpleasant my reaction would have been if I’d been a little kid who was placed in a bathtub full of this bubblebath for 10 minutes or something.)

      I thought that my experience probably was from the artificial “fragrance” that is in the regular/scented version of this baby wash but I’m not sure.

      I have the same experience from niacinamide, a B vitamin which is in so many soaps, body washes, face washes, lotions, and makeup. (It’s even in so many “sensitive skin” and higher-end formulas.) I triple-checked the Burt’s Bees baby wash ingredient list to see if there was any niacinamide, niacin, Vitamin B3, etc. in it, but the label didn’t list it.

      I actually called the Burt’s Bees customer service line to tell them about my unpleasant reaction — not that they could do anything about my personal reaction, of course, but I think it’s good for them to hear this customer feedback.

      Their phone number is 1-800-849-7112.

      [Note: The original grassroots, health-food-store-product company (started by an actual Burt who kept bees; in Maine, I think) was bought a number of years ago by a big conglomerate, and it’s now owned by Clorox (yes, I think it’s the Clorox bleach people), so if you call that number and it the automated message says, “Welcome to Clorox” or something, don’t be confused.]

  102. Gina says:

    Finally! I suffered for over a year! Multiple visits to primary doctor, dermatologist, dentist and then back to dermatologist. Treated for bacterial skin infection, yeast infection and finally contact dermatitis. My husband was the one to postulate the idea of beeswax but I didn’t want to believe it bc it is so great! So happy to find this blog and know that I am not alone. Happy to know about propolis. Too many posts to read. Does honey have propolis bc I like it in my coffee?
    Thank you!

    • Unfiltered honey has propolis in it. Avoid it, at least for now. Once your skin is fully healed and does not react so quickly to the allergen by quickly becoming inflamed/itchy, then you might try adding the honey back into your diet. But be aware that your skin MAY react to it again, even though you are ingesting it, not applying it to your skin. Good luck!

      Also, have you read the newest blog post that lists all the most common allergens that lead to lip rash/inflammation? Check it out here.

  103. Melissa says:

    Hi All, If a mascara has “synthetic beeswax”, do you think this might cause the same kind of contact allergy that beeswax does? I wonder, is it “safer” in terms of less likely to be rash causing?

    • It could be something else in the mascara. If a synthetic wax is causing the rash (not likely), it would also be allergic contact dermatitis but it would not be the same as that from beeswax because synthetic wax will not have propolis in it, which is a natural product that bees make. Try a different brand. And check the ingredients in your eyeLINER.

  104. Jessie says:

    I have a worse reaction to any bee product my mom bought me a home made lip bam and my lips doubled in side cracked and bleed for 2 weeks I can’t have any food with honey or beeswax in it or I have a reaction makeup no beeswax or a reaction I mean it’s bad I have to read everything I get and I have to ask if there’s honey in food I order a a restaurant any tips to help me out

  105. Melissa says:

    Does anyone here with a propolis allergy also have problems eating apples? I occasionally get tingly lips after eating apples and, although I know some people are allergic to birch pollens, I suspect- for me- that it is not the birch pollen that I am reacting to but rather the (bees) wax coating on the apple. On apple labels, it doesn’t say what kind of wax they use to coat them.

  106. jlw says:

    My lips look exactly like your pix.
    I was thinking it was because I ate a giant bag of dried mango in a short time and it was the sulfites. Will re-think the beeswax… thanks.

  107. Amy B says:

    I found this post when, after suffering with all the inflamed lip symptoms for months, I woke up one day to find my tongue swollen a bit. Allergy! Up until then, I thought it was just winter dryness. Even the doctor was stumped. I tried lanolin and Shea butter…but I was still using the lip balms in my car and my desk drawer on occasion. So my lips would flare up. The night before my tongue swelled up, I was using a ?Bert’s Bees stick from my car. Found your post online when I googled the symptoms with beeswax.
    Since getting rid of any lip balms with bees wax, I have been symptom free for more than a year. I still come across lip balms that have beeswax, and if I use one more than a few times the symptoms begin to appear again. I used those balms for many years, and do miss some of the ones I really loved. But for me now it’s the CVS brand in every pocket.
    Thanks! I pass on the info to anyone I know…and even to some folks who make products from beeswax. Love the bees, love the wax, but not on my lips.

    • Me too – love bees, love their wax, just a bummer I cannot use it myself.

    • Sadie says:

      Amy, are you saying the CVS brand doesn’t contain beeswax? I’m going through the same thing….used Bonne Bell Lip-smacker for about 10 years, no problems. Two months ago the rash developed and am still dealing with it. Used Aquaphor, Vit.E, and even Neosporin. When the lips started to recover, of course I would apply my Lip-smacker and flare-up again! Silly me, didn’t make the connection, but went out and bought other lip balms (beeswax!!)and got the same results. So, which CVS product exaclty worked for you? Thanks.

  108. Jenny says:

    So sad:( my lips are also allergic and i can’t use the lip balm forever:((
    As i am afraid my lips will be stimulated by beewax and i keep away from lip balm, it makes my lips crack!! What should i do ? And how do i treat the swollen lips cuz i am now suffering from allergy QAQ

  109. mary says:

    Just a note on propolis. I had some pure propolis from a beekeeper friend and decided to try an experiment. Last night I packed it around some teeth that have weak receding gums. This morning I woke up with an entirely swollen mouth, and numb, kind of like how dental novocaine shots feel. I look like I was punched in the mouth! It is obviously very powerful stuff! If any further reaction occurs, I will post here.

    • Oh the idea of that horrifies me! But only because I know I am allergic to propolis. I doubt that kind of reaction would occur in a person who was not allergic to the substance, as propolis is not known to be an irritant. Hope your discomfort clears quickly!!

      • mary says:

        4 days later– my mouth still feels kind of itchy after two days of swollen mouth and tongue, especially in the morning, and then just general weird feelings, and now I am breaking out in HIVES! I have never had hives in my life! Lends a whole new meaning to the term “bee hive”!

        I hope this helps people searching for info about propolis allergy. It is seriously powerful stuff!!

  110. Caesa says:

    Hello Diana 🙂 very great information you’ve written! Btw is the allergy to beeswax on the face can be just in several part? Because yesterday I had something strange and itchy on my face but idk why. If I was allergic to beeswax, all of my lipbalm contains beeswax and I’m ok with that. I’ve been using Embryolisse for 2 weeks and it’s ok until yesterday my face became red and all itchy. I’ve seen the doctor but he said it’s not allergic. Is it bcs of beeswax? But the redness is only on my cheek and all of the others are itchy but fine. Thanks before 🙂

  111. Miss E says:

    I’m so lucky to have come across this as I did, after reading everything here wow! I only had to deal with this rash for a month!
    About six months ago I got into making my own all natural skin care products for myself mainly. Loving every bit of it and researching things and trying new recipes for myself.. anyways I made this lip balm one day right before the 4th of July and I just happen to be out of sweet orange essential oil to make the same lip balm again for the second time I substituted tangerine essential oil, Ya! I regretted that! I thought I got a photosensitive rash all on my lips, but I didn’t really get a reaction right away, I used it all day in the sun outside on the 4th, and a week after, before I put it together. My lips got chapped and tight like one day I woke up and couldn’t open my mouth very much, I couldn’t laugh or smile or have an expression! it was weird. Then they just got worse and rashy and then one morning they were swollen! I put a cold towel on them. I was kinda freakin out. I didn’t go to work! I tried so many different things I had at my house that were all natural and everything just seemed to burn or do nothing..but of coarse they all had beeswax in them.
    I went and purchased a few different chapsticks at the store, I also bought benedryl cream for just around the outer part of my lips where the rash was, and that burned so I immediately washed it off. I didn’t want to use Vaseline, even though I did try it but it didn’t help much. The only thing that didn’t burn was Aquaphor, (even though I now see it has beeswax in the ingredients) So for a month I used that, it would flare up in the morning and subside a bit later in the day..but soo annoying and embarrassing.
    Finally after not using any of my own products and ingredients and only the Aquaphor lip balm they began to heal. (I realize I made them worse by scratching the flaking skin off every morning! So DO NOT PICK THE FLAKING SKIN! Let them go through the healing process do not interrupt! Yes it’s miserable but bear with’ll heal faster.)
    So after they healed, a few days later after thinking I was going to be ok and this wouldn’t happen again..(hoping). I was out and had missed placed my Aquaphor that I had been using to keep my lips moisturized, I only had this one completely different lip balm that I had made a few months ago, and never noticed any reaction from prior…I used it because i had been licking my lips and they began to peel around the outer area of my lips, and knew I shouldn’t be licking them! so used it a few times that day, and then that evening…out of no where I felt these blisters begin to come out on my lower part of my lips..I kinda scratched it while I was just watching tv without thinking and man that started the reaction was horrible my lips blistered that night and the next morning scabbed up and when I woke up they were so bad I took a cool damp towel and lightly rubbed off the scabs ugh that was not good. They flared up bad. I didn’t know what to do at that point so I tried to call dermatologists and a doctor.. everyone was busy..I was able to speak with a nurse over the phone and she recommended taking benedryl internally, so I did, felt weird from that, but I can’t really say if it made a huge difference. I tried taking it twice before I came across this website though..and then immediately eliminated beeswax. I tried the benedryl cream again I had purchased and yea it burned again, but I only put it around the outer part of my did shortly after applying stopped burning, then I noticed the redness wasn’t quite as bad..okay so I gave it another try that day and night..
    I ended up making a cream of rose hydrosol, macadamia nut oil, meadowfoam seed oil, rosehip seed oil, shea butter, vitamin E, rose essential oil, and substituted the beeswax this time for an emulsifying wax. I used that the second time it happened, which was just 4 days after I started to actually heal and look I made that cream and used that to moisturize my lips, next day they were way better looking, almost healed again.. DANG! If this really is the problem, it’s just strange to me that this only now happened, and I was buying my beeswax from Mountain Rose Herbs! Also will this happen on other areas on my skin? What I’m not sure about is that I also noticed shortly after having the reaction with my lips noticed just under my eyebrows above my eye my skin got a little red rash and I’ve noticed my skin on my face in the delicate areas of the mouth nose and eye area my skin feel rougher and scaly, and I’ve never had that problem.
    I of coarse now will be removing beeswax and using a carnauba wax instead in my facial creams and lip balms. But my question is why only the lips or face area does the reaction happen? Have you noticed it anywhere else? I don’t want to completely eliminate beeswax because of it’s good qualities. And what about honey? I use that some times when I wash my face or give myself a facial, mixed with other ingredients. Is the propolis only in the beeswax? and not the honey?
    Anyways, Thank you so much for your advise. When I read this I knew immediately without even getting myself tested for anything that this could be it. I’m still going to proceed cautiously into my crafting 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing the details of your exoerience, Miss E. Propolis can indeed be found in honey 🙁

    • Also be aware that people who react to propolis may also cross react with carnauba wax…big bummer. And you can react anywhere on the body. The lips, around the eyes, and most of the face just happen to be much more sensitive so these areas react faster/earlier. But if you are allergic to propolis you can get a rash anywhere the beeswax contacts. And you can get a rash around the mouth/lips or eyes even when the propolis is applied elsewhere on the body.

  112. Jessica says:

    I must say that after finding this post, you gave me hope to figuring out what has been going on with me for MONTHS! I experienced the same symptoms you have plus , as well as angular cheilitis and some internal mouth symptoms (i.e. tongue & lip swelling, rawness on the roof of my mouth, cheeks and gums which was so painful and sore). I tried any cold sore balm I could get my hands on, vitamin B-oil on my lips as well as a few Eucerin products (Aquaphor Lip Therapy and Advanced Healing Ointment)… NOTHING! Actually, some of the cold sore products made my lips burn and hurt even more. Finally, since my wedding was fast approaching, I went to my primary care who thought it was a Vitamin B deficiency. I started a daily B-complex – no change. I went back for a follow-up and was treated for an oral yeast infection – I was prescribed Fluconazole (150MG tablets) and Nystatin Oral Suspension (5ML four times a days for a week) – and was referred to my Dermatologist if the problem persisted. Well, it did so I called my derm. He too was a bit perplexed but thought it was dermatitis. He prescribed the following:
    (1) Doxycycline Monohydrate (100 MG tablets twice a day for 30 days – I only took for 2 weeks as I was directed to stop a few days before we were leaving for our honeymoon in Hawaii)
    (2) A topical cream compound (containing Hydrocortisone 2%/ Salicylic acid 0.5%/ Clindamycin 2% (ingredient labeled “Clina 2%” – I think this is Clindamycin) and a fourth ingredient that is labeled as “Acidman” – I have no idea what this is.
    This was not covered by insurance thus my husband paid $73.89 for this!

    He also recommended CortiBalm which is an OTC 1% Hydrocortisone lipbalm (which I purchased and started using immediately) and that I stop using mouthwash and to stop using my teeth-whiting toothpaste and just use a regular paste.

    My mother-in-law is a nurse and knows that I never have medical issues. She believed this problem was due to stress from planning a wedding plus begin overwhelmed at work. She prescribed me Xanax (5MG tablets once a day). I took the Xanax and that seems to help me more than anything else. I continued with the Doxycycline Monohydrate and external compound prescribed by my derm and used the CortiBalm as my lipbalm.

    The wedding and honeymoon came and went without any “flare-ups.” I got a chest cold on our honeymoon and had to go back to my primary care doc who prescribed Methylprednisone for one week.

    Since I hadn’t had any ‘flare-ups’ in about 3 weeks, I thoughts I was in the clear. I went back to life as normal. Then it came back! The external mouth symptoms + the rawness feeling on the roof of my mouth. I starting using the compound and CortiBalm and it felt better in a couple days. The following week, same thing! That night, after I applied the compound around my mouth and CortiBalm on my lips, I turned to Google (I know you’re not supposed to but I hadn’t been able to find any answers!). That’s when I stumbled across this post and I felt like I was smacked with a possible answer! I remembered that I used my Burt’s Bees lipbalm earlier that day before it started to ‘flare-up’ at work. I have used Burt’s Bees lipbalm for years!! Could this be it?! I happened to have a follow-up derm appointment the following day and I discussed this recent finding with him. I have discontinued using Burt’s Bees and have continued using the Doxycycline Monohydrate and external compound and used the CortiBalm as my lipbalm. So far so good! If things turn sour again, my derm wants to do a skin allergy patch test. I am praying that the beeswax is the culprit so that I can move on!

    As a side, the external cream compound and CortiBalm lipbalm have been very helpful in recovering from the painful symptoms.

    Thank you SO much for not only posting all the details in this post but for including photos as I could quickly relate to your experience. I truly appreciate!

    • Jessica says:

      I should have checked my original text before posting – it was terribly written as I was so excited to share my journey and say THANKS!

      One correction is that I tried using a Vitamin E oil (not Vitamin B oil) on my lips early on in my journey.

      Thanks again!!!!!!!

    • Be careful coming off the Cortibalm. I’m assuming by the name that it is a topical corticosteroid and you should reduce use over time as opposed to stopping suddenly. If you stop suddenly, you can get a rebound reaction.

  113. Kelley says:

    THANK YOU for the super informative post. I have been battling a HORRIBLE lip allergy of some sort for over a year now, and no one can figure out what it is to. I am having patch testing done soon, but am hesitant because I believe it is an allergy to propolis (due to patterns in outbreaks). Patch testing doesn’t cover propolis! Guess I’ll never know for sure. Your outbreak looks similar to mine. Mine was HORRIFYING at its worst (as shown in the image below). The only product I can currently use on my lips without fear of breakouts is pure A&D ointment.

    • Kelley says:

      Update: I had the patch testing done and I am indeed allergic to propolis. When my dermatologist told me the patch testing didn’t include propolis, she meant “beeswax” in general and was being excessively technical. I blame years of using Burt’s Bees products! Overexposure.

      • For the record, Burt’s Bees is not really to blame. It would likely have developed no matter what brand of lip balm you used if it contained beeswax. But now you know and now you have new product options so you can avoid the products containing beeswax. Hooray!

  114. Rachel says:

    I tried to go to your post on how you healed your lips but it looks like it’s not there or the link is broken? Would love to get some help with healing my lips after a reaction to beeswax! Thanks so much!

  115. Linh says:

    Is there any chapsticks you would recommend that is cheap ? I am 14 years old and it’s embarrassing in school! Mine is similar to Kelley’s, It’s that bad 🙁
    I think I am allergic to many things for example, I play the clarinet and my lips gets really red and when I eat meat my lips get red and itchy. I went to go to my doctor and he said everything was fine, but I don’t think so…

  116. heather says:

    So my 13 year old daughter has a terrible rash around her mouth that just will not go away! It started last winter, we went to a dermatologist for a diagnosis & were told it was either a form of eczema (which she very occasionally deals with) or a fungal infection. He gave us ointment & cream prescriptions but not wanting to use those we got alternatives at the health store like sovereign silver gel, which worke! About two weeks later all was well again! Fast forward to at least a month ago & its back, silver gel is not working this time & its so much worse than before, she’s actually cracked so bad she’s bleeding 🙁
    We found your post & realized everything she was using (all the natural stuff) had beeswax in it so when decided to stop using it all just 3 days ago. At 1st it seemed a little better but then because it started bleeding I told her to use the silver again with only coconut oil (we are waiting on your balm we ordered to arrive) & now this morning the corners are worse than ever, so cracked & bleeding! Any ideas??

    • Tough to say what’s going on from here. But something to understand about lips is that in some cases of cheilitis (lip inflammation/irritation), the symptoms can become chronic, no longer responding to any topicals that may have helped in the past. Additionally, atopics (people who have atopic asthma and/or atopic eczema) have a strong tendency to develop allergies to substances very easily. So they begin reacting to things that never used to bother their skin. I cannot say what the case is here. Write back again if our balms do not help.

    • Myrna says:

      Stanford University solved my lip rash (and body rash — mine was an acute case). Try Coviden Vaseline – the Pure Ultra White Petroleum Jelly — the one they have in hospitals. No more lip balms for me!!! I was so adverse to Vaseline, but now I know it is my only safe option. Every other lip balm – even vegan ones – irritate me. I am rash free for 18 months now after suffering for 5 years!

      Best of luck!
      Phoenix AZ

  117. Jean says:


    I too recently discovered I am allergic to beeswax. However, I am also allergic to something else, but I am having trouble determining what it is. I have had an ongoing rash on my face, with hives that gets better and worse, but never goes away. I have been trying to use natural products, but there are so many ingredients.

    Another thing that I have found that makes it worse is eating cinnamon. And I can’t wear rubber gloves without a cotton liner or I get hives on my hands. (Even if they are latex free).

    I was curious about the jojoba oil. Do you think that is a common allergen for people with a beeswax allergy? I would be curious to hear about your experience with it.


    • Jojoba oil can be an allergen, though more often (still uncommon, though) it acts as an irritant (causing irritation but not usually hives). The problem with “all-natural” products is that people can easily develop allergies to natural ingredients over time and so “all-natural” does not equal “hypo-allergenic”. My guess is that you are developing sensitivities to new substances. I have no idea what what materials/substances your face is coming into contact with, but here is a great article about skin reactions to gloves of various materials.

  118. Hui says:

    I developed this allergy when I started using Burt’s Bees chapstick when I moved for college, and eventually my brilliant mother associated the cause of this terrible allergy to the chapsticks I was constantly using. Even the dermatologist had no idea. I also healed my lips using vitamin E oil! I wished I had googled this earlier, but I thought it was just a really weird allergy that I developed since no one around me had heard of it before. Thank you for such an informative post!

    I tried plant based wax lip balms and it also gave me a severe reaction. What are your experiences with wax alternatives to beeswax giving the same reaction?

    • Your mom IS brilliant! People with an allergy to propolis can also react to carnauba wax. Candelilla wax is less commonly reported as an allergen. I have not worked with other plant waxes, though I find waxes and resins, in general, to be culprits in allergic skin reactions. If other waxes still cause you trouble, try using just oil on your lips. I think you have inspired me to make a lip “gloss” – no waxes. Stay tuned!

      • Hui says:

        A wax free lip gloss would be amazing! I look forward to it!

        I tried candelilla wax balms a few years before and it gave me a mild reaction- I just recently confirmed this when I tried one my friend so kindly made for me (and the reaction was really really bad this time).

        Thanks again! I’ll be sure to stay tuned. 🙂

        • Myrna says:

          Stanford University solved my lip rash (and body rash — mine was an acute case). Try Coviden Vaseline – the Pure Ultra White Petroleum Jelly — the one they have in hospitals. No more lip balms for me!!! I was so adverse to Vaseline, but now I know it is my only safe option. Every other lip balm – even vegan ones – irritate me. I am rash free for 18 months now after suffering for 5 years!

          Best of luck!
          Phoenix AZ

  119. Alkemyst says:

    Thanks Diana for this report.
    Have exactly the same problem after making DIY Lip Balms using Yellow Beeswax and Coconut oil. Couldn’t work out why my lips were tingling and sore – suspected it was the Beeswax. May try again with a smaller quantity of White Beeswax.

  120. Robert M. Bell says:

    Thanks for the confirmation. Ocuvite (eye vitamins), that I started taking for posterior vitrial displacement contains beeswax, and this happened to me.

  121. Andrea says:

    I was diagnosed with angular cheilitis this summer after suffering with it since about March (2015). I live a very natural life and also make alot of my own products for personal use. I had started making lip balms, using more essential oils, etc. I wasn’t getting any relief from any treatments whether from the doctor or natural remedies. I finally had a patch test done and found I was allergic to propolis however I was having a hard time finding it in any products I use. Until tonight. I have now found many articles linking beeswax (and carnauba wax) with propolis. The problem with me is I have not put anything on my lips except aquafor, Shea butter, or coconut oil on my lips in the last month and I have yet to see an major improvement!

  122. Myrna says:

    I had a full body rash for almost 5 years that left me unable to work or function. It was painful and I looked like I was 80 years old because my entire body was on fire, wrinkles and peeling. I tried everything and only Stanford University Teaching Hospital found out what it was: Propolis. Mine was an extreme case, obviously.

    I stay away from anything associated to bees, including honey which is hidden in many prepared dressings and other foods. I react to honey and beeswax immediately. So I don’t try anything without checking it out first. I’ve found a few moisturizers that I can use (Lush Celestial is my favorite) and only 1 lipstick: Clinique Butter Shine. No mascara or eye liner or shadows — even the vegan ones have something that irritates me.

    I have complete sympathy for anyone dealing with rashes and you can’t find the answer. Keep searching and eventually you will figure it out! Once you do, find all of the ways you are exposed and you’ll be surprised how many things may be affecting you!

    For dry lips (mine were such a sight!) I now only use Coviden Vaseline – the Pure Ultra White Petroleum Jelly — the one they have in hospitals. No more lip balms for me!!! I was so adverse to Vaseline, but now I know it is my only safe option.

    Good luck everyone!

  123. Adelle says:

    THANKS for this! I just recently came to the assumed conclusion that I am allergic to beeswax after trial and error and rash after rash. I finally started using only vitamin E oil and once my lips healed, would try a product. If it didn’t cause a reaction I’d keep it, and move on to the next. I could feel within an hour any product I was reacting to and after 5 or 6 trials beeswax was the main culprit. I’ve been beeswax free for two weeks and its the first time in a long time that I haven’t had overly chapped or complete rash break out on my lips. This article was a great confirmation to my own findings, thanks!
    In addition – I found that unfortunately one of my favorite lines, Arbonne – has beeswax in almost all of their new lip lines!

  124. paikra says:

    Thank you for this post. I ran across it trying to find a cause for the redness around my lips that feels like it’s peeling and cracking and unusually dry facial skin. I figured it was attributable to the antibiotics I just finished or 2 skincare products I just added to my routine. Both products contain propolis (!) so there you go.

    Thanks for mentioning the histamines as well. For the past 10 days, I have been eating a diet high in fermented foods to counteract the antibiotics. It would appear that this is not only contributing to the lip rash, but also explains the anxiety, throat-tightening, and nasal congestion I’ve been experiencing since I began powering down fermented foods. It looks like a good guess that I have histamine intolerance, which is a real bummer as the fermented foods have been great for my GI tract (which is always a mess -I’ve chalked it up to IBS.)

    I’ll try your suggestions to get rid of the lip rash

    • Check out this resource for more info on histamine and how to manage them:

      • paikra says:

        Thanks for the link. I’m assuming Royal Jelly should also be avoided, but do I understand correctly that it is your feeling that honey (in skincare products) is safe? It also looks to me like there’s no connection between propolis and jojoba – it’s just that you happen to be allergic to both?

        • If you are strongly reacting to beeswax or propolis applied externally, you will likely react to unfiltered honey applied topically or ingested as well. I’d avoid it. Jojoba oil can be an irritant to some people. I no longer think I was ever allergic to it; rather I think that at the time that I was reacting so strongly to propolis in beeswax, my skin was so easily triggered to develop inflammation that it reacted to lots of things.

          • paikra says:

            I guess that was wishful thinking on my part about the honey. I’ve been using the same skincare routine in the a.m. for years and love it. Unfortunately I’ve found that all 5 products contain honey, so to be safe I should replace them with something else. The reason I asked is that in your linked article, “How I Healed the Rash Around My Mouth” honey isn’t mentioned as a product to avoid.

            Fortunately, I’ve been able to clear up my lip rash in just a few days (mine wasn’t nearly as bad as yours – it looked more like your “after” photos.) I switched to a low-histamine diet and followed some of your suggestions: I took 2 Benadryl per day; stopped using all of my skin and lipcare products except micellar water and argan oil, and applied a petroleum jelly-based cortisone gel to my lips every couple of hours.

            I’m now going through my sizeable skincare and makeup collection and pulling everything out that contains bee-based ingredients. As a beauty product enthusiast and collector, this is no small task.

            Thanks again for posting this article, including the information about histamines. The link you provided to the Low Histamine chef (whose site is mostly dedicated to selling her cookbooks) led me to some better and more thorough information from Dr. Janice Joneja. Some of her articles can be found here:,

            Best to you and all the other sufferers.

  125. Michelle Short says:

    I finally figured out what the problem was after a couple of months. I found your blog post while doing online research to confirm that a propolis allergy is the culprit. I’m a beekeeper and experiment a lot with my own home made products. I SO did not want propolis to be the problem. It never was but seemed to be triggered after I got some cedarwood oil on my lips unintentionally. Afterwards my lip balm, which I was using to help, only made things worse. Because I use a lot of different cosmetic products like lipstick and lip gloss it too me a long time to isolate the problem. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s been very helpful.

  126. Lia says:

    What a great article, I wish i found this months ago.
    I have an identical story! 3 years ago on my vocation i got a severe sunburn, my lips were inflamed, dry, cracked, every symptom possible would just vary from day to day as I was putting different products on my lips.
    First doctor though it was cold sore and gave me treatment for that, it became so much worse and even painful. at the end of summer somehow it got better. Next spring it came back and took another 4 months to heal. This spring it started again and i thought i would go insane…the itching, stinging, inflammation was so bad i would cry daily because i could not even move my mouth and felt like ” cutting them off” my mental health started suffering. I saw 3 dermatologists and 3 regular MDs just taking chances hoping one would find out what it is. Like yourself I used every possible natural product (aloe, chamomile, calendula, rosehip oil etc) Then came in steroid, antibiotic creams that i was using daily with almost no result, last treatment that was given to me Protopic is known to cause skin cancer but i dimly did not care any more, I just wanted to wake up one morning and not to feel the inflammation and itching ( as summer , heat, sun came it was getting worse and worse).
    Like yourself i spend months eliminating food from my diet that i thought were causing it, actually I was positive it is caused ether by sodium or my body needs a cleanse to get rid of toxins so i did a cleanse and , like yourself, noticed that , indeed, some foods make it worse ( typical high acidity, shellfish, foods not recommended for anyone with eczema or psoriases) . But the problem did not go away. I also put in braces in spring, so i was starting to think I am allergic to those ( which also might be one of the reasons). So finally i gave in into idea that it might be the products i use on my skin, but it didn’t make sense to me because i rarely use make up, do not use lipstick, only lip gloss or lip balm and only as natural as i can find. One doctor did ask me about products i use and i mentioned beeswax lip balm along with other, he immediately got concerned about it, but i was so disappointed in doctors by that time that i ignored what he said ( considering he called all natural stuff i used – shit and told me not to bother with them). So one of the balms i got to wear at work was Burt’s bees lipgloss, because it had some shine and i looked like hell as it is, so i needed something to make me look ok ( i work in customer service). 4 days ago my lips were inflamed less then usual ( the heat was ton it was a rainy day) so i applied it before work and in 5 minutes my lips were itching and swollen again…so it finally sank it and threw it away immediately…its been 4 days! and my lips look as normal as they did 4 months ago!! ( I bought that lipgloss 4 months ago now that i thought of it). I am so hoping i found out the reason! I hope my sufferings are over. After reading your article i feel even better and will go test myself for the beeswax allergy ASAP. Hope this article helps people who suffered like myself and thanks for sharing!!!

  127. Miilani says:

    I’m allergic to Balsam of Peru and Glycerin. Do you carry facial products without these ingredients?

  128. Vanessa says:

    Hi Diana! When you use beeswaxed product on your hand, does your hand get rashy too or is it just your lips?

    I’ve noticed my hands would get similar kind of itchy bumps after using l’occitane hand creams that has beesewax in it… Sometimes even some hand sanitizers that lists miel (aka honey) in their ingredient list!

    • Not anymore but they did in the past. When my lip rash was at its worse, my hands also began to react to beeswax (I used a hand balm with beeswax in it). But once I figured out my allergy, and avoided the allergen (propolis), my lips returned to normal. After years of my lips being normal, I can apply beeswax to my hands without a reaction. Now, the only reason I apply beeswax to my body is because I often have to test out the products we make here at Zi Zai. Otherwise, I would avoid applying anything with beeswax to any area of my skin, lest I develop a quick reaction to the allergen again. So you could say my tolerance to the allergen has increased, but I am still allergic to propolis and I should still avoid it.

  129. marti says:

    I was wondering, since I make several products with beeswax, if it would make a difference if you used white beeswax, that has had all propolis removed??

    • Theoretically it should be a better option. All I can say on this matter is that MY lips reacted to pure white beeswax as well. So I would exercise caution with that ingredient if you suspect a propolis allergy.

  130. Jordan says:

    I’ve been applying vanilla infused goats milk soap to the infected areas and it was completely gone within 36 hours!!!

    But I have another question, when my lips became swollen and itchy, I also got a small red rough patch on the tip of my nose as well. No matter what I use it just keeps getting worse. Do you know what might help?

  131. Michelle says:

    My Mom directed me to this blog. I have a severe honey allergy. When ingested I can’t breathe. It has been a scary experience. I find too that I can not tolerate beeswax. When I use lip balms with beeswax in them my mouth will start to feel funny. So I have to avoid it all. The only lip balm I find that works good for me (outside of homemade ones) is Blistex DCT (Daily Conditioning Treatment). I have been wondering if burning beeswax candles would be dangerous for me as well. I can’t seem to find any supporting evidence online as of yet.

    • Rochelle Broder says:

      I have tried what feels like a billion lip balms, trying to find one that’s not irritating and that really moisturizes. So far, Korres Lip Butter works the best for me. I use the non-colored one. It’s a bit white, but I use it at night and don’t care. It moisturizes all night! They also make colored balms, but it’s a pot, so a pain to put on. Almost as good is Dr. Jaarts Ceramidin lip balm – only the one without mint!

  132. Ayesha says:

    I have had a similar rash during the last month, this was following application of lipstick. I guess has beeswax in it. I had a gut feeling that it may be due to beeswax, but, somehow was not able to convince myself on that. Tried several times, and ended up with dry, flaky and irritating lips. I have stopped applying lipstick for the last two weeks now. I am really glad that I came across this article which is very informative. I applied argan oil, almond oil alternating with vaseline and it did help in reducing the inflammation. I am already allergic to gluten and lactose. I do not know if I can find a lipstick that is without beeswax. Thank you for sharing this important information ZiZai

  133. Aric says:

    I recently made a simple lip balm using beeswax and had the exact same rash on the margins of my lips and corners of my mouth. I used a prescription cortisone cream to clear it up. Even with that it took about a week to completely heal.
    Great information! Now I won’t make the same mistake and it didn’t take months to figure out what caused it. I am aware some people have a sensitivity to honey so I had my suspicions and did a google search which brought me here. Although this sensitivity is caused from a different substance in the wax than honey, your great information confirmed my suspensions. Thanks

  134. Barb says:

    I self diagnosed that I may be allergic to beeswax all of a sudden and kept food notes etc. I had a terrible inflamed rash around my lips and it itched too. The local health food store doubted my diagnosis. After many months of not using the lip balm with beeswax in it, I recently started again. Guess what, it is lightly back. I will be sticking to Smith’s lip balm again. Nobody believed me when I said I thought it might be my lip balm. I have used beeswax lip balm for years. Why all of a sudden does this happen?

  135. Desperate says:

    My lip sensitivity began about five years ago after using EOS lipbalm. Ever since, my lips had “breakouts” on & off. I’ve also gotten a staph infection from it all. More recently, my lips get swollen, become sensitive, and burn with tiny red vesicles along the edges and on my lips as well, and weep clear or clear pale yellow fluid. My lips always feel “wet.” I’ve tried topical antibiotics with only temporary relief. Currently, my dermatologist prescribed “Eucrisa,” a recently FDA-approved non-steroid ointment for dermatitis. This worked for about two weeks then the same thing all over again. Two days ago, I used a chapstick with beeswax in it. The first application, everything went fine, so at night, I applied it a second time. Then it flared up again with the redness, swelling, weeping, vesicles, burning, and sensitivity. I’m convinced to try your beeswax-free lipbalm… but would you recommend me waiting until the flare up improves before trying the product?

    • G.H. says:

      I’ve noticed several people mentioning EOS lip balms on this thread, and I dimly remember that about 5 years ago, when I was in the middle of a years-long bout with cheilitis and perioral dermatitis and I was researching everything I could think of, I saw that there was a lawsuit against EOS because of something they had put in the lip balm which a LOT of customers were reacting to (it wasn’t just one of those “everyday” ingredients that a minority of people will always be allergic to, like tea tree oil, eucalyptus, etc.)
      The legal papers of the suit were available online and I recall that it contained a number of photos of people’s bad lip reactions to the problematic balm recipe.
      I don’t know what happened to that lawsuit in the end, but I’m sure information can be found online about it.
      It’s been a few years now since most of the comments were left on this discussion thread (I’m writing this comment in the summer of 2018), and I’m sure that the EOS company would have changed their lip balm recipes since then, but I’m just putting this here because maybe the commenters here, whose lips first started to have problems when they were using an EOS balm about 5-7 years ago, might be interested to look up that incident in a search engine and maybe they can learn more about what ingredient(s) might (or might not) have started the reactivity/sensitivity that their lips then developed.

  136. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this information! I was diagnosed by a dermatologist using a 30 panel skin with an allergy to propolis. I’ve eliminated or changed all products that could cause contact dermititis (lip balm, toothpaste, detergent, soap, lotions, …). However I still have flare ups. My question surrounds food allergies that can cause the same flare up. Do you know of foods that can cause the same affect? I assume I should stay away from honey, but anything else?

    Again, many thanks for sharing this. I’ve searched for months and haven’t found anything so informative as your site here!

  137. Juli says:

    All the information here gives me hope. I experienced burning, itchy, oozing red rash 2 months ago. My ND gave me propolis/hydrastis salve and it burnt but used for 2 weeks didn’t clear up so I started using sulfur 30C it helps the drying and swelling a little but I still look like a clown. I started using a combo of calendula cream or polysporin and Vaseline it helped, still dealing with it now for over 2 months I started a food journal and have looked at what soaps and creams I use hoping to find a connection, nothing stands out to me. Now for 2 days it so bad the burning and itching I cant sleep. Last night I wiped everything off and suffered through. now my lips are swelling up with oozing. I have an appt with my ND next week but don’t feel confident. My rash looks just like yours but scarlet red and more coverage. Any suggestions please and thank you.

  138. Juli says:

    This blog has been a god send for me, I have been suffering with this for months, depression was becoming a huge issue for me. After reaching out with what I was going through and finding here that Beeswax was the answer to my awful lip intolerance (allergy) I hope this gives other sufferers a fast resolve in the future. What worked for me, polysporin or calendula ointment on my face with Vaseline on my lips, then after a week I used cortaid for two nights it helped tons. The last step was Vitamin E amazing! everything cleared up within 24 hours. I still have 2 spots but they are fading fast. What I used in my last blog helped but its ointment thats the key. Borage non soap bar is a nice cleansing bar as well. Now that I’m healing its on to Zi Zai to shop for skin care that I know wont harm the delicate tissue around my lips. I cant thank you enough for all of the info here.

    • Quite literally TODAY we are making a brand new product – a lip oil packaged in a vial with a roller ball applicator – to help lips with these sorts of reactions. Our BeeswaxFree lip balm is awesome! But when the lips are still so raw, a balm (with butters and wax) is a challenge to apply comfortably. Hopefully this new product turns out as I expect and I will have it up on the webstore by Thursday morning.

  139. Nicky says:

    I have been having this same issue since the summer. I thought it was from the sun because it was happening so frequently and the sun seemed to aggravate it. My dermatologist has had me on Valacyclovir for oral herpes, which I have had since childhood. But when I get a “cold sore” on my lip its usually in one area on my lip, not my entire lip. This was originally only involving my upper lip, but this latest occurrence is involving both. It starts feeling chapped and dry, a little itchy and tingly, like winter chapped lips. Then my lip swells and gradually gets redder. It almost feels as if it is splitting. Then it gets scaly, yellow crusting. I went to the dermatologist again yesterday and they did a biopsy. He was saying lip lickers, or some rare disorder called granulomatous cheilitis, or actinic cheilitis. I am literally freaking out. I look like a monster.I can barely eat or drink anything my lips are so swollen. He wouldn’t give me prednisone, and I really think I need it. I have to wait a week for the biopsy to come back, but in the meantime I am a nursing student doing clinical and I had to miss a clinical round due to this. After reading this post, I am praying it is an allergy. My dermatologist did mention contact dermatitis. I have literally 20 different kinds of lip balm. Some have lanolin, propolis, beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter…etc…So it will hard to narrow it down. What kind of doctor will do a chemical allergy test? I want that..Praying for it to be an allergy and not that rare disorder.. I have been crying all night. Your picture looks like mine did during the summer when this was happening. I went a few months with no reaction, and then the past three weeks its happened twice. But this time my lips are 10 times worse than your picture, which makes sense if its an allergy, because the reaction is worse each time. Im grateful for these postings! They’ve given me hope! Ill keep you posted on the biopsy report. Thanks for listening… 🙁 …sad in Providence, RI.

  140. I try to use all natural whenever I can. A few years ago I tried all natural deodorant, loved it! It worked and smelled so great. After about 6 months my armpits broke out in a horrible rash, of course during the warm season. I narrowed it down to the deodorant and after a few weeks it went away. Since I just use baking soda and water, works amazing. Then I broke out from some shampoo, hives all over! Got that under control. Just recently I decided not to treat my lips with the usual carmex, due to my asthma, and reading that carmex was a big trigger. Makes perfect since, my asthma flairs up when I need carmex, never put it togheter. So I tired Burts Bees and liked it ok, soothed the lips, but I didnt care for the waxy feel. But stuck to it for about a week and a half until it looked as though I was getting a cold sore (never had one so want sure) then more patches on my lips. Never broke open or hurt, just very dry, cracked and blotchy. Sobest figure out what was causing me to break out. I dis some research beeswax was the common ingredient. I never would have guessed that? My lips are getting better after cocnut oil mixed with honey. I am going to stay away form beeswax now and look on your site for products! Thanks for the info

  141. Jule Berg says:

    I have a history of allergic reactions to perfumes, lotions, make up with glitter (silica?), essential oils, deodrants, etc. A few months ago I noticed horrible red, swollen, flaky eyelids. I was at the time using coconut oil to remove my eye makeup. I stopped that, used Cetaphil and seemed OK for a while. The redness and inflammation came back. I then noticed my lips were quite dry, bought more Burt’s Bees chap sticks, lip gloss and shimmers. My lips became worse! I then bought Aquaphor lip care. Ouch. After searching I found this site and you mentioning bees wax. The cetaphil, the burt’s bees, make up, aquaphor all have bees wax. Thank you! I hope I have found the problem. In the meantime, I’ve ordered your bees wax free chap stick. Thank you!

  142. Krista says:

    Hi. I found your article very helpful. So I found out I had a beeswax allergy after being stung one summer. I’m also illergic to honey. Resently I have found that lots of medications use beeswax in them. I’m just wondering if you have noticed reactions when taken medications? I work in childcare, resently has strep throat and now I’m coughing phlegm and wondering if the amoxicillin that was perscribed might have beeswax. Also I know working in childcare that people tend to get colds and what not.
    Thanks so much!

    • Matt Cooperrider says:

      Thank you! This is so helpful, I had exact same thing on lips, and just used more and more Burt’s Bees chapstick, making it worse and worse until I learned it was the Burt’s Bees that was causing the problem! I stopped using the chapstick and the issue resolved. Separately, I love raw honey, and started about awhile ago eating a few spoonfuls every day. I’ve also had some stomach inflammation/issues for the last six months that I can’t figure out. Now that I’ve read this article, I’m wondering if the raw honey I’ve been eating so much of could be causing allergic reaction in my stomach? Or is the propolis allergy usually just topical, like on lips when using beeswax lip balm, and wouldn’t cause any issues if ingested regularly? I’ll bet my stomach issues are unrelated to the honey, but curious if anyone has any insight, stopping the beeswax lip balm made a huge difference for me (healthy lips again!), I’d hate to give up eating raw honey, but may have to consider if this could be allergy causing too, for those sensitive to propolis. Thanks!

      • Stop ingesting the honey for 60 days and see how you feel.

        • Matt Cooperrider says:

          Hi Diana! Indeed I stopped honey cold turkey about a month ago and my stomach issues have progressively gone away to the point where they are now gone! And that is after seven months of issues! Wow, you never know for certain, but if my high daily dose of honey was causing that it is quite a discovery! First I got my healthy lips back from stopping Burt’s Bees and other beeswax product, now maybe I got my stomach health back too. If it’s the true cause it’s sad not to have honey (I love honey!!!), but much better than the allergic reaction. This is too cool. Thanks so much!!

  143. Jean R says:

    I first had a rash on the top part of my lip last winter (2017). Using my homemade lip balm (Olive Oil, fresh beeswax (block form from a local beekeeper), vitamin E and EO) thinking that would help.

    The rash essentially “went away” after the winter months…Then it came back again with a sore along the left side of the mouth. I researched, thinking it was bacterial, so I was using Bacitracin, didn’t budge it after 5-7 days. Researched again, thinking it maybe fungal. Starting using lotromin, worked for several days, but still didn’t cure. Sore/cut on side of mouth was small but brutal…

    A light bulb went on one day when I mentioned to my co-worker “Can I be allergic to beeswax when I’m highly allergic to bees?” So I researched again…and ALAS! I AM!

    With the photo you posted, that was me (with a bit more red and swelling).

    I started using apple cider vinegar 50/50 with water and wiped my lips 3 X a day (it did sting the first day) after 5 days, the rash was gone.

    Only using Aquaphor 3 X a day now as well… Maybe this will help someone else!

  144. Sarah says:

    Thank you sooooo much! I struggled with this allergy for the past 5 years and could only wear vaseline and a taupe pencil lip liner (cheap brand so now I’m guessing it doesn’t have a lot of pure products in it). I ordered your regular beeswax-free lip balm and a dark tinted beeswax-free lip balm from another company that I found while researching the allergy online. They both arrived yesterday and I tried the dark one first and immediately had a reaction. Then I tried yours a few times but stopped because my lips continued to have a reaction. Today I am back to vaseline trying to heal my lips- as I want to fully heal and then try your lip balm again. I am wondering if that means I am also allergic to candelilla wax as both your products have that? I am praying that I am not allergic to your lip balms 🙂 but the other one had many more ingredients than yours and is a darker color. I’ve reacted to dark lip liners compared to the taupe one I usually wear so maybe it’s the red dye or something related to that? Have you heard of this problem before? I don’t see anyone commenting about a candelilla wax allergy here? Thanks so much!!!

    • My guess is that right now your lips are very reactive to just about anything. Give it a couple of days of just Vaseline and try our lip balm again once they are calm. FYI, we make a tinted lip balm without beeswax, and we have a new lip oil that has no wax of any kind in it, in case you need something more to help your lips heal right now. we offer your money back if you don’t absolutely love our products, so no risk in trying them out. And while candelilla wax CAN be an allergen, it is not common. Avocado oil might be slightly more likely the culprit if you truly are having an allergic reaction to our lip balm (but again, my guess is just that almost anything would cause an inflammatory reaction right now).

      • Sarah says:

        Thank you! I really, really hope I am not allergic to your products 🙂 I plan on allowing my lips to fully heal and trying your lip balms again (I did get the tinted one too!) My lips are much worse today so I will get some medicine based on what is recommended here. I will also order your lip oil ASAP. Thank you!

  145. Brenda says:

    I’m so glad I found this site…I’ve been dealing with this lip rash issue for almost TEN years. I’ve tried numerous lip balms many containing beeswax. I thought I was having good luck with one for awhile but it seems to have backfired and made the issue worse than ever. Currently I am using just a little vaseline or Aquafor while I wait for your products to arrive…please send them asap as this rash is so uncomfortable. I’m also in the middle of allergy testing and will ask at my next appointment if they can test for propolis allergy to confirm my suspicions. I’m praying your products work for me!! Thank you. Brenda H

  146. G.H. says:

    Dear Diana,

    I have just found your blog for the first time and this was the first blog post and comments thread that I have read through.
    I have about 4 more of your posts open in other browser windows (ones that you gave links for in some of the replies that you made on this comments thread) which I will read through next.

    I really appreciate the information you have put up here, and everyone’s responses too. Even though I don’t think, amongst the huge list of stuff that I am allergic/sensitive to, that beeswax is one of them, at least not yet, I did have cheilitis and intractable perioral dermatitis for years, and I’m going through some (different type of) facial dermatitis at the moment, so all the thoughts and experiences and facts of the commenters here have been great to read through. I have taken note of several suggestions that I will look into further, as I try to figure out what is causing my current dermatitis. (It seems to be something in shampoo/conditioner. I’ve tried ALL the “hypoallergenic” specialist brands that I can find, and I’m still reacting, so it’s a puzzle.)
    Do you have any blog entries about shampoo/conditioner allergy/sensitivity reactions? I will look around your site to see if you do.

    On this thread, I have written 3 replies to other people’s comments, and as soon as I would press the “submit comment” button, my comment would disappear and there would be no pop-up saying that it had been received or was being held for approval or anything. Maybe they went to a spam folder, or maybe all the ad-and-tracker blockers that I use on my browser somehow kept them from being properly recorded on your end (that happens to me sometimes). Well, I hope that they got through, and that this comment does too. 🙂

    One thing I wanted to suggest to you (Diana) —
    In one of your replies to a comment here, you wrote,
    “Zi Zai! (That means to live free of restrictions and limitations).”
    That information is interesting, and it adds to the reader’s appreciation and understanding of your blog, so I would recommend that you actually put that explanation of the meaning of “Zi Zai” on your “About” page, which currently does not explain how you named your blog/company and what the meaning is behind it.

    Was your training in China conducted in Chinese? Had you already known Chinese before you went? That sounds so challenging! In 1999, it was also pretty uncommon for westerners, especially women, to study there – that is amazing! So brave, and fantastic that you did that.

    Your studies in the UK sound more my speed – and more my level of foreign language ability, chuckle. 🙂 I did a year of undergraduate and a master’s degree in the UK. (Not in medical field.)

    • Thank you for your suggestions! I had no idea you did not get notification that the comments need to be approved before they are published. I’ll have my web guy fix that.
      My training in China was with Chinese doctors via wonderful translators. It was challenging but my translators were fantastic. I went back last year (2017) and my translators were not as good so I learned less. Studying in London was MUCH easier!

  147. Tatiana says:

    After using the very best unrefined (raw) Shea butter in just about everything I make in skin care products for myself and clientele, I’ve found that I have a reaction to the Shea butter itself. Have been in denial for the past couple of months, and after experiencing a tingling sensation each time I apply a product with Shea butter, I finally applied the Shea directly from package to lips and the tingling feeling was immediate. I’ve used an extremely high grade of beeswax (yellow as well as white) for the past 3 years in everything I use and it wasn’t until adding the Shea to these recipes that I realized it must be the latter causing all the issues with rash and irritation. While Shea butter is great for most people, it does contain natural latex, which I react to with a rash developing soon after application. From what I understand, cocoa butter and mango butter also contain natural latex. Bottom line, by omitting Shea and the other butters, I am now on the fast track in healing my skin. It wasn’t just my mouth that was affected, and though my arms did have a tingle upon using the moisturizer containing Shea, the skin on areas aside from my lips is more tolerant to any radical type ingredients my skin battles. I love beeswax and what made me think I am not allergic to the propolis or any other part of this wax is the fact that I let honey bees crawl on my arms and fingers when near honey bee habitats, and occasionally get stung with no reaction. Lucky you if Shea butter is in your personal mix! Wish I could tolerate it but there are other great skin care product ingredients to use as a substitute. Thanks for the great info here Diana. Hope I can add to the list of helpful tips and considerations when choosing natural products.

    • Oh, what a bummer for you! I totally feel you, though – I make so many products with beeswax and I cannot use any of them myself since I am allergic. Sad. So far shea butter is not one of my allergies. Thank you for sharing your experience here. I am sure this will help many other readers of this blog! If you want to learn more about how these sorts of allergies develop, read this:

      • Tatiana says:

        Here we are more than a year later, the culprit wasn’t Shea butter after all. It’s the propolis in bees wax causing inflammation around my mouth and sensitivity on my lips. This has proven true, since recently using my original homemade lip balm containing bees wax. After my first reaction two years ago, it took several months to heal the rash. I avoided beeswax, and reached for the Lansinoh lanolin cream as a lip moisturizer. The idea that Shea butter was the root of my problem, proved wrong. I came to the conclusion that after applying the Shea butter when the irritation on my mouth was at its peak, gave me the impression it was the cause. It masked the actual problem, that being the propolis in the beeswax pellets I used for making my own lip balm. It’s so disappointing to know I won’t be able to use the lip balm I make for others. On the other hand, it’s good to finally discover the culprit, and I now use Lansinoh lanolin cream regularly for soft moisturized lips. And best thing is I can continue with Shea butter for my regular skincare routine. Thanks again for this valuable information.

  148. Kayla says:

    I suddenly developed dermatitis on my lips a few years ago from all wax-based lip products. It got so bad that I developed a staph infection and had to get antibiotics to get rid of it altogether. I had been using beeswax lip products for years and never had an issue. Once it developed, I tried every kind of all-natural lip chapstick I could find, including non-beeswax, vegan chapsticks. Every kind I could find had either beeswax or candelilla wax, and they all made the problem continue. My dermatologist recommended standard Vaseline or Aquafor lip balm, which I’ve been using ever since because it’s the only thing that works. I hate using it because it contains petrolatum. Do you have any other natural ideas for a wax-free lip balm?

    • All lip balms will have some sort of wax to give it firmness. You can try coconut oil or just plain natural oils (olive/safflower/sesame/sunflower seed oil, etc.). There MIGHT be a lip product out there that is only cocoa butter instead of wax, but I do not know of any off the top of my head. Vaseline is really not horrible for lips if it is your only option for something with more “staying power” (oils absorb quickly). I don’t like it because it comes from the petroleum industry, but the fact is that very few people have a negative reaction to it when used on the skin. But petroleum jelly is merely a barrier – it prevents moisture from escaping the lips…it will not add moisture. And it prevents oxygen from reaching the tissue, so I do not like it for long-term use. You may choose to try our RawRedemption Herbal Lip Oil to help your lips get back to a healthy state where you maybe won’t need to use lip balm so much in the future at all.

  149. Karen says:

    I see this post has been up for some time!

    I found it looking for why I’m allergic to the natural deodorant I’m using and ended up solving my lip rash mystery! Thank you!!
    For now I’m guessing I must be allergic to the beeswax. I’m so sad I can’t use this deodorant anymore – it works better than anything in the stores, even clinical strength. Do you have any suggestions for beeswax free deodorant, that actually works??

  150. Donna says:

    Thank you so much for this info – ordered your lip balm and no more swollen lips! Question I have is now that I have confirmed beeswax sensitivity to lip balm – do I need to immediately stop using hand cream or other products with beeswax – even though I have no symptoms from my hand cream?

  151. JC says:

    Happened to stumble upon your website because of the same problem. However, I think mine isn’t an allergy to beeswax, but to peppermint oil. I only react when using Burt’s Bees original (the one with peppermint oil) but I don’t have the same issue when using their other flavors. It’s annoying and it’ll take weeks before the issue resolves. 🙁

  152. Julie says:

    Thanks for this! I have made my own lip balm for years and just started having trouble with my raw beeswax formulation (which was sadly my favorite). After ruling out essential oil sensitization, I was a bit stumped. I figured it was the beeswax because there are literally two ingredients in my lip balm and I definitely don’t have a problem with olive oil. However, I don’t react to my other formulation which uses refined beeswax. Propolis sensitivity seems very logical. The raw beeswax is very thick and sticky and amazing. I’m sad I can’t use it anymore, but glad to have an answer and also glad I can still use refined beeswax.

  153. Dawn says:

    Thank you thank you thank you so very very much for sharing!

  154. Julie says:

    I cannot thank you enough for posting this info. For YEARS my lips peeled. Like layer of skin from sunburn every day kind of peeling. I always bought what I thought were the best lip balms and lipsticks and to no avail… they’d peel and crack. Hands and feet and elbows were other culprits. They’d be so dry that they’d crack and bleed. I found this post a couple years ago and never gave it a thought that I could be sensitive to beeswax or a component of it. I’m ridiculously allergic to bees, so it would naturally follow that there could be a contact allergy to any bee product. Since I removed all beeswax and lanolin containing products from my skin care cabinet, I am proud to say the majority of my skin problems have cleared up. Amazing. Thank you again.

  155. Judith Grayson says:

    You have helped me tremendously! I went through cryotherapy and the skin cancer cream treatment over the past year and I was still experiencing little, itchy, red bumps. I was worried that the dermatologist would want to do a biopsy. I was using only Aquaphore advanced therapy but one day I used an all-natural lip balm before going to bed and when I woke up I had a rash. So I changed back to Aquaphor, but had a small Aquaphor lip therapy in my purse I used when I was out and the rash got worse. I googled “allergy to lip balm” and came across your website. I found out that both the Aquaphor lip therapy and the all-natural lip balm contain beeswax. I have contacted my dermatologist to do a patch test for propolis.

  156. Karalyn says:

    Thank you!
    All my lip balms have beeswax. I usually use Lypsyl and have been for years. I haven’t been able to loose this rash for months!! I started thinking it was my mask, but it would be all over my face if that was it.
    I have an aloe plant thank goodness, I’ll try that right now. I’ll have a look through your site but what do you recommend now?

    Thank you

  157. Q says:

    I’ve finally found the solution to why my lips get swollen and itchy with tiny bumps whenever I use a lip balm made from natural ingredients. Thanks for this informative post. I know that I should avoid beeswax around my lips now.

    Thank you, Dr Hermann!

  158. Brenda says:

    I recently used black drawing salve on my face for a blister. I knew I was allergic to beeswax but I was not thinking that it could be in this product boy was I wrong. I’m paying the price now🤦🏻

Leave a Reply