The Benefits of Skin Allergy Patch Tests Performed by Dermatologists - Westchester Center For Dermatology
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The Benefits of Skin Allergy Patch Tests Performed by Dermatologists

Published on October 23, 2014

A skin allergy patch test is a diagnostic tool used to help a dermatologist identify contact dermatitis. Patients who experience an unexplained localized rash or irritated area of skin can work with the dermatologist to figure out which substance is causing the allergy with a patch test. For many people, the chemicals found in items like makeup and detergent cause an allergic reaction.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis is a reaction on the skin to an item someone has been exposed to. This reaction is a type of allergy, and the result is usually a rash, itchiness or skin irritation in the area that was exposed to the substance. Contact Dermatitis rashes can last for several weeks, though they aren’t usually dangerous.


When the area of skin with the rash is obvious and the patient knows what they were exposed to, the dermatologist can diagnose contact dermatitis by simply talking to the patient and examining the rash. In situations where it is not obvious what caused the allergic reaction, the dermatologist may recommend using skin allergy patch testing to determine which substance caused the problem.

Patch Test

The skin allergy patch test is a simple procedure that requires the patient to go to the dermatologist several times for a painless test. A patch is applied to the skin with small amounts of different possible allergens inserted in different areas of the patch. The patient comes back several days later and the dermatologist removes the patch to examine the results. A skin reaction will be present in the areas where the offending allergen was located.

Following Up At Home

Once the offending substance is found, the dermatologist will talk with the patient about avoiding that substance in the future. In most cases, this is all that is needed to successfully keep contact dermatitis under control. Most allergens are easy to avoid in everyday life by simply cutting the offending substance out of the patient’s daily life.