A patch test is a noninvasive way of discovering which allergens are causing a reaction on your skin. At Allergy Associates of Utah in Murray and West Jordan, Utah, Andrew Smith, MD, MS, and Tara Sarin, MD, safely provide patch testing for metal allergies, latex allergies, fragrance allergies, and more. If you experience a skin reaction and want to identify the cause, call the office nearest you or book your appointment online today.
What is patch testing?
Patch testing is a way of identifying the allergens that are causing your reactions if you’re uncertain where they’re coming from. Specifically, patch testing is a great option for identifying allergens that cause skin reactions, like contact dermatitis.
At Allergy Associates of Utah, Dr. Smith is a fellow of the American Contact Dermatitis Society and provides state-of-the-art allergy testing. During your patch test, he or Dr. Sarin apply small amounts of the substances in question to patches, which they place on your skin. Allergens identifiable using a patch test include:
- Metals (e.g., nickel)
Dr. Smith and Dr. Sarin keep track of the locations of each sample on your skin. They check your skin for inflammation and irritation after you wear the patch for 48 hours.
What should I expect during the allergy patch testing process?
The patch testing process requires several visits to Allergy Associates of Utah over several days. At your first visit, Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin places the patches with multiple possible allergens on your skin. For 48 hours in total, you should avoid removing or moving the patches. For accurate results, you should:
- Avoid direct sunlight on your skin
- Keep the patches dry
- Avoid excessive movement, which can lift the patches from your skin
- Try your best to avoid sweating
Since certain medications can affect your test results, Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin may ask that you adjust your dosages or stop taking certain medications for the duration of the test.
After the patches have been in place for 48 hours, you return to Allergy Associates of Utah. Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin removes the patches and looks for reactions. They mark the spots and send you home. Since some reactions take a while to appear, you return for a final appointment a few days later to review your results.
How should I prepare for patch testing?
You need to take some steps to prepare to ensure that your patch testing results are as accurate as possible and that you can subsequently get the treatment you need for your allergy. You should avoid sun exposure for one to two weeks and stop using medicated ointments and creams in the area of your back where the patches are placed.
What happens to my skin after the patch test?
One or more of the potential allergens on the patch may leave you with a small area of irritation, which indicates an allergy or sensitivity. Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin can treat this reaction shortly after completing your test using a topical steroid, which calms inflammation.
If you experience a skin reaction and aren’t sure of the cause, call Allergy Associates of Utah, or book an appointment online today.