Contact dermatitis is a skin condition in which patients break out in an itchy rash after coming in contact with a substance they are allergic to. There are a variety of substances that can cause this sensitivity, but some of the most common are: jewelry, hair care products, poison ivy, cosmetics, perfumes, detergent, cleaning solutions, and latex. Patch testing is one tool we use to help determine the potential trigger for a skin reaction.
Patch testing allows us to help determine the cause of your reaction and does not require the use of any needles or injections. Patches containing traces of common causes of contact dermatitis are placed on the skin and typically left there for two days. When the patches are removed, areas that react to the specific patch will be irritated and help identify the suspected cause.
After learning what the allergen may be, patients can avoid that substance and make changes to products used to reduce the likelihood of a reaction in the future. Most contact dermatitis can be treated with topical creams and medications.