Allergic contact dermatitis is responsible for approximately half of all contact dermatitis cases. Patients who have persistent, unresolved contact dermatitis can suffer for years with a poor quality of life and increased medical treatment costs. However, the condition can be well treated after an accurate diagnosis has been obtained.
Patch testing is the first step in detecting allergic contact dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is the medical term for a skin inflammation that has been caused from contact with substances. It affects millions of people and is the most common skin condition requiring medical attention.
There are many natural and synthetic substances that can cause contact dermatitis. The following are some of the most prevalent but the list is not exhaustive:
- soaps, perfumes, after shaves
- household and industrial chemicals
To try and ascertain which substance you are allergic to, a ready-to-use patch test system made up of 3 pieces of surgical tape (panels) containing 29 allergens are applied to the back for a period of five days. These samples are the most well-known causes of contact dermatitis.
The test can determine whether or not you are allergic to any of the substances on the test panel. The concentration of each allergen is high enough to cause a reaction but low enough to minimise the risk of a reaction.
The dermatolgist will look for the following:
- a rash with swelling, redness and tiny blisters
If you are allergic, the Dermatologist will give you some information on where you are likely to come in contact with the offending substances and can tell you how best to avoid these.
Dr Nick Craven, Consultant Dermatologist, has a weekly clinic at the Spire Regency Hospital, Cheshire and specialises in allergic dermatitis. You can make an appointment to see Dr Craven regarding patch testing by calling our customer services department on 01625 505 412/406.