Skin AllergiesPatch Testing for Skin Care and Jewelry Allergies
If you have ever tried a new skin care product or worn a new piece of jewelry only to later discover a red, itchy rash — then you have experienced contact dermatitis. If you commonly experience skin rashes, patch testing is a safe and painless procedure that can help you determine the cause.
Patch testing can offer a definitive answer to your itchy skin questions, and can save you the time and money you might otherwise spend trying out countless alternative products.
What causes allergic contact dermatitis? What are the symptoms of contact dermatitis?
Some contact dermatitis is caused by common products, such as soaps or cleaning products. But allergic contact dermatitis results from a true immune response to substances that come in contact with the skin, including everything from poison ivy to your new moisturizer.
Common causes of allergic contact dermatitis include:
- Metals like nickel and gold sodium
- Topical medications, including neosporin and bacitracin
- Plants, including poison ivy
- Preservatives used in cosmetics and skincare products
- Substances used in diapers, baby wipes and clothing dyes
Contact dermatitis is often uncomfortable and the signs can include:
- A red, itchy rash
- Bumps or blisters
Symptoms may appear a few hours after contact with the allergen, or they may appear.
How does patch testing work to diagnose a skin allergy?
Patch testing is a simple, safe, and painless procedure used to determine what substances may be causing your contact dermatitis.
During a patch test, a series of small stickers (called “patches”) are filled with potential allergens and are then applied to the upper back. The patches need to be left on for about 48 hours, then removed at the office for a preliminary results read. After another 48 hours, you will return to the office for the final read — an important step for skin allergens that often cause delayed reactions.
While the test is not painful, it can be a bit uncomfortable. Reactions to the allergens may be itchy, and you must keep your back dry while the patches are on — no showers or excessive sweating is allowed.
Patch testing is incredibly versatile, and your allergist can test for many substances at one time. At Hudson Allergy, patients are encouraged to bring in skincare or cosmetic products they suspect are causing their contact dermatitis to be added to their patch test panel.
Contact our office to ask about patch testing today.