With the growing use of "natural" products by patients who believe such preparations to be harmless therapeutic alternatives, an increase in hypersensitivity reactions with sometimes unusual features has been noted. In addition, patients tend to neglect reporting the use of such products when their medical history is taken. Among others, the bee glue propolis, known since ancient times for its antiseptic, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties, has found its way into cosmetic products and pharmaceuticals for topical use. We recently encountered a patient with erosive dermatitis of the lips and adjacent oral mucosa, strongly suggesting a clinical diagnosis of pemphigus vulgaris. However, repeated questioning and subsequent patch testing established the diagnosis of an allergic contact dermatitis to propolis.
Thomas P, Korting H, Przybilla B. Propolis-Induced Allergic Contact Dermatitis Mimicking Pemphigus Vulgaris. Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(4):511-513. doi: