2465 Research Parkway, Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
 (719) 265-0100
(719) 265-0101

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Mountaintop Dermatology is conveniently located in Colorado Springs, CO and is committed to serving the dermatologic needs of patients throughout the greater Colorado Springs area!

Skin Allergy

Skin Allergy (Patch Testing)   

Skin testing for allergies or Patch Testing is used to identify the substance or substances that are causing your allergy symptoms.

What is Contact Dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is a localized rash or irritation of the skin caused by contact with a substance that is recognized as foreign to the body.

Substances that commonly cause contact dermatitis include plant sap, metals, cleaning solutions, cosmetic additives, perfumes, industrial chemicals, and latex rubber additives.

How is Contact Dermatitis diagnosed?

Sometimes a dermatologist can recognize a certain pattern of dermatitis and be able to attribute a cause based on the pattern or distribution of the rash (for example allergic contact dermatitis to the nickel coating on the back of a metal button).  Often, however, to determine the cause of allergic contact dermatitis a dermatologist may recommend a procedure called patch testing that helps identify specifically which allergens a patient reacts to.

What is Patch Testing?

Patch testing is a test that requires 2-3 office visits over one week.  Allergens are applied to the patient’s back, under occlusion, with hypoallergenic tape at the first visit. The allergens and tape remain in place for 2 days and then are removed. A final reading is performed 3 days after placement.

The dermatologist assesses the site where each allergen was placed for redness and swelling. Based on these variables, the patient is judged to have an allergic reaction, and irritant reaction, or no reaction to each allergen. Our dermatologist will then integrate the results of patch testing with the patient’s history, exposures, and physical exam to determine if the positive allergic reactions are clinically relevant.

Is Contact Dermatitis curable?

Contact dermatitis is one of the only types of dermatitis that is completely curable. This means if specific allergens are identified and appropriate strategies are implemented for allergen avoidance, many patients will no longer require physician visits and prescriptions. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that patch allergy testing has a positive impact on the quality of life for our patients.

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