What is Patch Testing
As part of our goal to provide comprehensive care for all of our patient's skin conditions, our office is happy to offer patch testing. Patch testing is used for patients who have a suspected allergic contact dermatitis. Patch testing can be life changing in those with allergic reactions to various substances and products.
What is allergic contact dermatitis?
Allergic contact dermatitis or ACD occurs when you touch or come into close contact with substances to which you are allergic. Common substances that cause ACD include shampoo, soap, makeup, aftershave, jewelry, medications, and items of clothing. Rashes caused by ACD appear as red, inflamed, and scaly rashes in the area of exposure. These rashes are usually very itchy and can dramatically decrease quality of life.
What is patch testing?
At our office, we are able to provide comprehensive patch testing to give you an accurate diagnosis and improve your quality of life. Many offices use the T.R.U.E test that test for the 35 most common allergens. We use a more comprehensive series that tests for 80 of the most common allergens, dramatically improving the likelihood of finding the source of your allergic reaction.
To perform the test, panels containing the suspected allergens are place on your skin, typically on the back. The patches are left in place for 2 days and then removed. The skin is assessed for any reactions at that time and a second read is done 2 days later. If an allergen is discovered, you will be given detailed information about the allergen including guidance on which products or substances to avoid and which ones you can still safely use.
Who should have patch testing?
Patch testing should be done in patients thought to have a high probability of having allergic contact dermatitis. Typical patients with ACD include those with rashes in locations likely to be exposed to allergens such as the hands, face, eyelids, and neck. Patients who are exposed to chemicals at work such as hairdressers, florists, factory workers, health care workers, etc are good candidates for patch testing. Patients with chronic rashes in any location that fail to respond to standard therapies are also good candidates.
If you suspect you may have allergic contact dermatitis, contact our office today. Prior to testing, your dermatologist will take a thorough history and assess your skin to see if you are a good candidate. Even if you are using the same products you have always used, manufacturers can change ingredients without you knowing, so patch testing can still be helpful. We have seen patch testing greatly improve the lives of many of our patients, so don’t keep living with that itchy rash and schedule an appointment today.