Crystal Lake specialists connect the dots between skin irritation and substances with targeted patch test
You may be a candidate for patch testing if contact dermatitis is suspected.
What are some signs of contact dermatitis?
You may have this condition if:
- You have red bumps, rashes.
- These irritated areas become scaly.
- In severe cases, blisters may form, burst, and crust over.
- Itching to the affected area may also be severe.
As with other types of allergies, your body may over-react to a substance. When it responds to the perceived harmful substance, it sets off a reaction, which includes the release of chemicals responsible for your symptoms.
Contact dermatitis may be non-allergic. In fact, the most common type is “irritant contact dermatitis.” This inflammation happens after the outermost layer of skin is damaged from contact with the irritating substance.
The Mayo Clinic reports there are thousands of known allergens and irritants that produce this skin inflammation. In some cases, substances produce both irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. Sometimes, all it takes is exposure to the irritant or allergen one time to produce annoying or uncomfortable symptoms. Other times you may develop symptoms with repeated exposure to even a mild substance.
Since contact dermatitis is distinct from other types of allergies and allergic diseases such as food allergies or chronic hives (urticaria), a unique type of test is used to diagnose this condition.
This test is noninvasive. Unlike blood testing, there is no need to obtain a sample. Unlike skin-prick testing, there is no need to puncture the skin with a needle. With patch testing, a small amount of the suspected allergen is applied to an adhesive patch. These patches are then applied to your skin. Usually Drs. Noga Askenazi and Eugenia Hahn will apply these patches to your back or arm where they’ll remain for a couple of days.
During that time, your skin may start to have all the hallmarks of contact dermatitis — the redness, scaling, blistering, itchiness, and so forth. This is beneficial as, when our specialists remove the patches and see this inflammation, they will be a step closer to determining the cause of your problems. The closer they get to a cause, the closer you are to relief in the form of effective treatment.
As with other types of allergy tests, the doctors may suggest you avoid certain medications in the weeks leading up to your first visit. You will also need to take care not to do anything on the days you wear the patches that may weaken the adhesive, including swimming or strenuous exercise.
From their office in Crystal Lake, our specialists can use patch testing to check 20 to 30 potential allergens at a time. Schedule an evaluation by calling 847-888-8802.