What is patch testing?
Patch testing is a series of applications applied to the patient's skin to find out whether their skin condition may be caused or aggravated by a contact allergy. A wide range of substances can be used for this testing. Here at Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin, S.C., we have some of the most complete, extensive patch tests available in the Midwest. We start with the North American 80 Comprehensive Series and add additional specific tests when appropriate to the individual.
Who should be patch tested?
Anyone who suffers from:
- Frequent rashes
- Recurrent rashes
- Atopic eczema with frequent flare ups
- Rashes than have not cleared up, especially with the continuous use of steroids. These flare ups are frequently caused by contact allergy to personal care products, medications, or things you come in contact with daily.
Why should I be patch tested?
Knowing what you are allergic to will help you to know what to avoid and can help in the treatment of your condition.
When you arrive at our office, your first appointment will last about half an hour. Tiny quantities of 80 antigens will be placed on your back in thin chambers. The back is marked with a black felt tip pen to identify the test sites. Tape will be applied over the top of the chambers to assure proper occlusion. These chambers will remain on your back for 48 hours. It will be very important to keep the area that is being tested dry and free of all products during the entire testing phase which is approximately 4-5 days.
When you return in 48 hours, the tape and the chambers will be removed so your physician can examine the area being aggravated. You will return again in another 24-48 hours for a final evaluation.
The results will help you avoid your allergens and reduce or prevent your rash. Your dependency on medications will be reduced and your quality of life will improve.
Allergic contact dermatitis is a lifelong problem so you should write the name of any allergens on a small card and carry it with you. Every product you use which comes into contact with your body must be checked for the allergen and strictly avoided to prevent recurrent dermatitis.