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Patch Testing for Skin Allergies

By Andy Dean, PA-C

Patch Testing for Skin AllergiesOne of the many things that sets KMC Dermatology apart from other offices is the extensive testing we do for skin allergies. It’s called patch testing, and is the most accurate way to determine specific preservatives, fragrances, dyes, metals, rubber, hairdressing products, and many others that you may be allergic to. We offer some of the most comprehensive patch testing in the Midwest.

Who should consider patch testing?
If you have ever discovered that certain products irritate your skin or cause it to break out in a rash, you might be a good candidate for it. If you have ever thought, “I just can’t wear sunscreen, makeup, jewelry etc. without it breaking me out,” it would probably be a good idea to be patch tested to find certain specific brands of these products that you can wear without having to worry about such breakouts. If you have a history of eczema or atopic dermatitis, or have always had sensitive skin, you may want to consider patch testing. If you have reason to think you have an allergy to metals and need to have a joint replacement, you definitely should be screened for any metal allergies before your surgery.

So how is patch testing actually done?
It’s not the same type of testing that an allergist might perform; it almost never involves needle pricks or scratches. It consists of strips of tape that each have small discs on them. We place a small amount of an allergen on each disc and then apply the tape strips to your back.
After 48 hours, we remove the tape and note any positive reactions (such as red, raised, itchy or blistered areas) with the help of a numbered list. We then examine your back in another 48 hours to see if a delayed reaction has occurred. The allergens we check for are not random or chosen by us; they are carefully selected by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Some things to consider
if you have patch testing done:
You need to keep your back dry from the time we apply the tape (a Monday) until we do the final reading (Friday of the same week). This means you can’t shower, though sponge bathing is fine. As much as you can, you also need to avoid situations in which you might be sweating. You should not take any steroids (prednisone, Medrol dose packs, etc.) for at least 2-3 weeks before the testing, though antihistamines are OK to take at any time. We also will want to consult with you before actually doing the tests to learn more about your problem and determine exactly which tests will be best for you.
If we find that you have reacted to certain allergens, we enter the information into the ACDS’s CAMP database (Contact Allergen Management Program). This database filters out your allergens and provides a lengthy list, organized by category, of specific products and brands that are safe for you to use. We either print this information for you, or there is a simple-to-use mobile app that is much less cumbersome than a 150+ page list!

If any of the above information applies to you, please call KMC Dermatology at (913) 631-6330. We look forward to helping you!

Legends: 10940 Parallel Pkwy. Ste. M
Shawnee: 6333 Long Ave. Ste. 360
Leawood: 11301 Nall Ave. Ste. 205
Overland Park: 12850 Metcalf Ave. Ste. 210
with locations in Topeka, Lawrence, and Manhattan

844-KMC-DERM   •   KCMPA.com

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