Contact dermatitis is a rash that occurs due to a substance that comes directly in contact with the skin. The compound can just irritate the skin or it can induce an allergic reaction. For example, allergies can occur to jewelry, fragrances and preservatives in cosmetics and rubber compounds in gloves and shoes. Irritant and allergic reactions in the skin can look identical. The method used to differentiate between the two conditions is known as patch testing.
With patch testing, individual allergen compounds are applied to the upper back with tape. The patches stay on for 48 hours when an initial reading is performed. A second reading is done at 96 hours. If a reaction occurs at some of the individual sites, we can then delineate exactly to which ingredients the patient had an allergy. We can advise them specifically what to avoid in the future so they never have the problem again.
At Adult and Pediatric Dermatology, we are a referral center for local and state physicians for this type of testing. While most dermatology practices have just 24 allergens, we have over 200 different allergens available for testing. If you are interested in having an evaluation for your condition, please contact our office for an appointment.