What is it?
Colophony, also known as rosin, is the sticky sap that comes from coniferous trees, such as pine and spruce trees. Its “stickiness” makes it useful in a wide range of cosmetics, topical medication, and industrial products.

How do I avoid it?
Skin contact with colophony is required for it to cause a rash. Discontinuation of exposure to products containing colophony should result in improvement and/or resolution of your dermatitis. Products made in the U.S. for topical use have the ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of your skin care products for this ingredient.

If there is not enough information, ask your pharmacist. At work, request a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure.

Avoiding contact with colophony may be difficult because of its widespread use. Exposure can occur from many different sources.

Inform your health care provider and dentist that you are allergic to colophony and ask for preparations that do not contain colophony or any of the other allergens to which you are likely to react.

  • Skin Care/Cosmetics:
    • Mascara
    • Lipsticks
    • Eye shadows
    • Concealer creams
    • Foundations
    • Nail varnish
    • Depilatory waxes
    • Hairspray
    • Rouge
    • Transparent soaps
    • Hair removing wax
    • Dental floss
    • Sunscreens
  • Adhesives and glues: sticking plasters, salicylic acid plaster
  • Asphalt products
  • Cements, glues, putties, caulking (lens coating, rubber, shoe, thermoplastic tiles)
  • Chewing gum
  • Cleaners, solvents, and soaps (clothing, leather, office machines)
  • Clothing (pre-washes, tackifier)
  • Corrosion inhibitors
  • Dentistry: cements, impression pastes, dressings, cavity varnishes, topical medications, antiseptics, sealants in root canal treatment
  • Grease and lubricant thickener, axle grease
  • Household items: grease removers for clothes, shoe wax, polish (floors, cars, furniture), laundry soaps, fly strips
  • Inks: printing, ceramic, marking pens, felt tip, water-fast artist pens
  • Linoleum, floor coverings, tiles, adhesive bedding, cements
  • Machine belts in industry
  • Medicines: wart removers, cold sore creams, diaper creams, hemorrhoid creams, sprays, disinfectants, insecticides, ointments, plasters, preservatives, first-aid ointments, blister creams
  • Oils: core oil, cutting oil, tall oil
  • Ostomy products
  • Paint, enamels, varnishes, lacquers, mastics, sealants, stains Colophony (Rosin)
  • Paper products: one of the largest single uses of colophony is in the manufacture of paper and paperboard (used for sizing, coating, finishing), especially newsprint and magazine, listing paper, glossy paper, photographic paper, price labels, stickers
  • Plastics (surface coating) and polyethylene
  • Recreational: sport racket handles, athletic grip aids, golf club grips, bows for stringed instruments, fireworks, ski wax, match tips, modeling clay
  • Sawdust, firewood, and resin from pine, balsam, spruce trees
  • Soldering products, welding flux
  • Tape: insulation tape (electric and thermal), jointing tape, medical tapes
  • Veterinary medications: adherents, drawing salves, hoof ointments and softeners, blister creams, first-aid ointments
  • Waterproofing agents
  • Waxes: car, tree grafting, floor, furniture, physiotherapy, sealing, shoemaker, ski
Other names for colophony:
  • Abietic acid
  • Abietic alcohol
  • Abietyl alcohol
  • Abitol
  • Colophonium (cosmetic name)
  • Dercolyte ZS
  • Dertomal 18
  • Dertophene 18
  • Foral 105
  • Granolite SG
  • Gum Rosin
  • Hercolyn D
  • Methyl abietate alcohol
  • Resina terebinthinate
  • Rosin
  • Rosin gum
  • Staybelite 10
  • Tall oil
  • W-W wood rosin
Potential cross-reacting/co-reacting substances:
  • Abietic acid and its derivatives
  • Abitol (hydroabietyl alcohol mixture)
  • Balsam of Peru
  • Dihydroabietyl alcohol
  • Fragrances, essential oil
  • Maleopimanic acid (in maleic-modified rosins)
  • Oil of turpentine
  • Other plant materials including chrysanthemum
  • Pine resin
  • Spices (nutmeg, paprika, mace, cloves)
  • Spruce resin
  • Wood tars, especially juniper tar (oil of Cade)

How safe is it?

Hang tight. We're thinking.