Skin Contact Patch test
What is contact allergic dermatitis?
Contact allergic dermatitis is surprisingly more common than patients realise. It is a skin condition that results in an itchy and weeping rash typically for a few days after direct contact with an allergen. It is not life-threatening but it is incredibly uncomfortable. Well, known contact allergens are nickel, chemicals, plants such as Grevillea, cosmetics, perfumes and ointments.
When is patch testing indicated?
Patch tests are used to help diagnose allergic contact dermatitis.
Substances tested include nickel, fragrances, parabens and a range of other allergen components commonly found within jewellery, metal, cosmetics, skin care products, soaps, fragrances, hair shampoos, conditioners and dyes, topical medications, creams and ointments, adhesives and bandages, fabrics, inks, household disinfectants and industrial products, and other everyday material.
What does patch testing involve?
Patch testing involves applying a small number of various allergens to small squares on a larger patch or patches onto your skin. Patches are placed on your back and worn for 48 hours. The test area will be examined for signs of an allergic reaction at 48 hours and 72-96 hours following initial patch applications.
How do we interpret results?
Positive reactions become red and itchy at the test site and usually become apparent by your third visit. Occasionally reactions can take longer to develop - up to 2 weeks. If you do develop an unusual late reaction contact the clinic.
Is patch testing painful?
It is common to experience burning and itching sensations on and around the test area, nevertheless scratching and rubbing the test area should be avoided. Topical steroids creams and oral steroid tablets should be avoided for 2 weeks prior your test and during the review period.
important practical points
To ensure the most accurate interpretation of your patch test, it is important to minimize exposure of your test area to moisture. Avoid wetting the area when showering and participating in activities which may cause you to sweat excessively. Please note that some substances may stain the skin; this is normal and will wash off after a couple of days. There is no need to scrub the area
How do I start?
Our doctors will assess your rash and decide if contact patch testing is appropriate. Our Skin clinic Doctor will diagnose your condition and offer a variety of treatment options. If laser or IPL treatments are recommended by your Doctor, they will prescribe a treatment course and review your progress.