Patch testing

Patch testing for causes of irritation or inflammation to the skin.

Patch testing is used to determine what is causing the irritation or inflammation to the skin.

Why you might need it

If you are suffering with eczema or dermatitis your dermatologist may suggest you undergo patch testing.

Patch testing is used to determine if specific a substance is responsible for causing the irritation or inflammation to the skin.

Find a Spire hospital offering this treatment

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

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Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

There are approximately 40 standard substances which are frequently in contact with the skin, perfumes, plants, pollens, rubber and preservatives are just a few examples. Your consultant will discuss with you prior to the patch test which substances you will be tested for.

Your skin will be prepped and marked to identify the test area. The patches are left in place for 48 hours. To ensure that the testing strips stay in place during the time period, it is important not to get the area wet or play high energy sporting activities. Undergoing patch testing shouldn’t prevent you from going to work.

At the end of the 48 hours the tests are removed and the skin will be examined to see identify if a reaction has occurred due to any particular substance. Additional test may be required to help confirm if the result is not conclusive.

Should any allergies be identified your consultant can then advise you on the next course of action.


Aftercare advice may vary dependent upon the results of the patch testing. Your consultant or nurse will discuss this with you and provide advice accordingly.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.

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