General Dermatology – Patch Testing
A person’s body can produce different types of rashes depending on the trigger and how the immune system responds. Irritation, hives, and allergic contact dermatitis are examples of very different, but common rashes.
Allergic rashes can be successfully managed and resolved if the offending allergen can be identified and avoided.
WHY PATCH TEST AT DAYTON SKIN CARE?
Dayton Skin Care is the only dermatology clinic in Dayton performing patch testing with the standard series of 80 substances known to cause skin rashes. In addition, we have access to over 200 allergens that can be special ordered for diagnosis of complex cases. Other clinics offering this service typically test for only 36 substances and may miss identifying a significant number of allergic triggers.
Patch testing may identify the cause of or a significant trigger for a variety of rash based conditions. Rashes can occur anywhere on the body, including the face, eyelids, scalp, hands and feet.
WHAT IS PATCH TESTING?
Patch testing is used to identify the cause of a specific type of rash: allergic contact dermatitis. Many substances can cause persistent skin rashes. People can develop allergies at any age to ingredients in everyday products such as preservatives, fragrances, make-up and haircare products, insect sprays and topical medications. Chemicals and dyes in clothing, rubber and leather, jewelry and metals can all be a source of skin reactions. Allergic responses can manifest with itchiness and redness, swollen eyes, blistering, dry hands and feet, or other skin reactions.
Patch testing is performed using standardized concentrations of chemicals that come in to contact with the skin on a regular and recurring basis. The 80 substances tested are known to cause contact dermatitis and were identified through extensive research and testing. Patch testing does not test for nasal, sinus, or respiratory allergies. And although specific food allergies are not tested, some of the tested substances can be found in foods.
Anyone with a persistent skin rash that is unresolved or that recurs after temporary relief should consider patch testing.
HOW IS PATCH TESTING PERFORMED?
Patch testing involves a series of four appointments. Four appointments will be scheduled over a seven-day period on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Some reactions will take place within the first 48 hours following application. However, allergic contact dermatitis is often a delayed response and a reaction can take 4 to 7 days to present.
Visit #1: Patch testing allergens are arranged in panels and applied to the skin of the upper back. In some cases, such as significant scarring or tattoos on the upper back, the allergens may be applied to alternate sites. The allergen chambers will be secured with tape and must remain dry and in place for 48 hours.
Visit #2: (48 hours after initial visit): Tape and panels will be removed and initial reactions, such as redness and swelling, will be documented.
Visit #3: (96 hours after initial visit): Patch test sites will be examined and documented.
Visit #4: (1 week after initial visit): Patch test sites will be examined and documented. Dr. Carpenter will discuss the significance of the results, and you will be given information about the substances that cause the skin reaction. You will also receive a printout from the American Contact Dermatitis Society Contact Allergen Management Program (CAMP) outlining products you can safely use.
WHAT IS ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS?
A person’s body can produce different types of rashes depending on the trigger and how the immune system responds. Irritation, hives, and allergic contact dermatitis are examples of very different, but common rashes. A rash to poison ivy is a classic example of allergic contact dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis can also happen to ingredients in personal products, jewelry, clothing, shoes, household or workplace materials and chemicals and can look identical to a poison ivy rash. People who have a personal or family history of eczema (atopic dermatitis), asthma, or nasal or eye allergies are more likely to develop allergic contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis can be successfully managed and resolved if the offending allergen can be identified and avoided.