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Can Patch Testing Help With Dermatitis?

Patch testing New York, NY It’s no secret that winter can wreak some serious damage on your skin— leaving it red, dry, and chapped. And although a little bit of that may be due to the dry temperatures, they are also signs of a condition called contact dermatitis. So, what is contact dermatitis and how can it be diagnosed? Let’s take a closer look.

What Is It?

There are two types of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic. Irritant contact dermatitis is caused by harsh substances such as laundry detergent, industrial solvents, cold weather, and even household cleaners. Typically, patients with irritant contact dermatitis suffer from red, itchy, dry skin which usually subsides after the substance has been washed away.

Allergic contact dermatitis is a little different. Rather than developing a rash, allergic contact dermatitis usually results in skin inflammation and occurs after having direct skin contact with something like fragrances, preservatives, or nickel. Unlike irritant dermatitis that goes away after your skin has been washed, patients with allergic contact dermatitis may suffer from symptoms for several weeks. Many of the patients we see develop allergic contact dermatitis from skin products, makeup, hair products, jewelry, and perfume.

How Can It be Diagnosed?

For some patients,  diagnosing and treating their contact dermatitis can be as simple as using a new skin product, getting a rash from it, and stopping use right away. For a more thorough diagnosis, however, Dr. Barry Goldman likes to use patch testing. Patch testing involves taking common allergens, mixing them with a diluent, placing them on a patch, and then taping these patches on your back. The patches are then removed two days later and your skin is checked for any reactions. The duration of the test can range from three to four days, and your back patches will need to remain dry for the entire test. Some patients experience a bit of itching, but the test itself shouldn’t be painful. After you come back to our office, we will be able to give you either a negative or positive diagnosis.

Patch testing can be very helpful in diagnosis a patient with contact dermatitis. If you want to learn more about patch testing, schedule your appointment at our NYC office today: 212.962.1115.

Posted in: Patch Testing