Contact dermatitis can be such a major pain to live with. If you have no idea why your skin keeps breaking out, then you'll keep wondering what it is that you are encountering that you shouldn't. You can go around your own home feeling uncomfortable. Instead of enjoying your day off, you may end up walking through the house worrying about what household items you could be reacting to.
Most people use so many different products throughout the day that figuring out what is causing the contact dermatitis can be very difficult and, in many cases, people never get to the bottom of what they're allergic to until they see a dermatologist. One way the dermatologist can go about helping to find the cause of contact dermatitis is to perform a patch test. You can learn the basics of this type of test here.
The patch test basics
Preparations: A patch test is generally done on the back because this is a large and smooth surface of the skin. You won't want to be wearing products when you go in for the test, such as sunscreen, lotion, or body spray. The dermatologist may also request you to not take certain medications before you come in for the patch test.
Process: The patch test is performed by applying different allergens to an adhesive sheet that will then be placed on your back. The patches will stay on your back for about 48 hours to give your body ample time to react to the allergens that you have negative reactions to. You won't want to get the area wet over these two days in order to give you the most accurate results. The patches will be removed in the doctor's office and a marker will mark each patch to keep track of the allergens.
Conclusion: When you return to the office for your final evaluation, areas where you have a positive reaction will determine which products or materials you should refrain from being around or using in the future. The itchy and reactive areas will be treated with a topical steroid to help get rid of the itchiness.
The changes to be made
Once you know what it is that you are allergic to, you are going to want to remove those things from your home or have them put somewhere you won't have to come into contact with them. Pay attention to products you purchase from that point forward to ensure they don't contain things you are allergic to in the ingredients. Keep an antihistamine on hand that you can take should you accidentally encounter allergens in the future.
For more information, contact a patch test service in your area.