Contact dermatitis is a common skin problem that happens in 15 to 20 percent of Americans. There are two types of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic. Irritant contact dermatitis is often caused by repeated exposure such as in a work environment, while allergic contact dermatitis is caused by a delayed allergic reaction to something that has come into contact with your skin. In order to get the appropriate treatment, you should see an allergist for patch testing to get an accurate diagnosis of contact dermatitis.
What Is Patch Testing?
Patch testing is a type of allergy testing that is designed to determine if the skin is being affected by exposure to an allergen. Small discs or chambers of allergens are placed on the back and left there for several days. If there is a sensitivity to the allergen, a skin reaction will usually appear within two to four days, although it can take up to one week. Your allergist will give you specific instructions while you are at home and schedule follow-up appointments to see the results.
At Your Appointment
Your allergist will first try to determine what allergens should be tested by asking you questions about your lifestyle, your career, and the things you come into contact with each day. Common allergens that cause allergic contact dermatitis include cosmetics, clothing dyes or detergents, foods, rubbers, poison ivy, or other skin irritants. It is a good idea to bring in all of your personal products including cosmetics, facial treatments and lotions, detergents, and soaps so that your doctor can determine if any of these products are causing the contact dermatitis.
If you have been suffering from contact dermatitis and you are unsure of the cause or need treatment, contact us today for more information or to schedule your initial appointment.