Patch Testing Service.
We are delighted to announce that the Harley Street dermatology clinic has now opened its new patch testing facility. This is a specialist unit designed to ascertain if there is an allergic contact cause for your skin disease. In addition to patch testing, we can offer a full spectrum of blood allergy testing to see if there is an allergic component driving your skin disease.
The new unit is run by our brand-new team of highly qualified dermatology specialist nurses and physicians assistant with many years of cumulative experience in providing patch tests for skin patients. Our clinic is very happy to see any patient who has been referred by a consultant dermatologist (UK registered). If you have not seen a dermatologist and worried about contact allergy, then please book to see one of our consultants and we can facilitate your testing, investigation and treatment.
Remember, there is currently no test on the market other than a patch test that is able to identify a contact allergy. Blood tests are available for allergies, but these tend to be to identify inhaled, airborne or ingested allergens, not contact allergens.
What is patch testing?
Patch testing is undertaken to try and identify if there are any substances which are causing or aggravating your rash by coming into contact with your skin
Patch testing involves having sticky patches stuck to your back (or sometimes to other areas of non-affected skin like arms or legs). Underneath the patches, small compartments hold common household chemicals pressed tightly against your skin. Examples of these include fragrances, colouring, preservatives found in creams, hair dye, metals et cetera. These are all common chemicals found in every day life and none is toxic
Patch test can check for between 20 and 70 allergens at any one time.
The testing requires THREE visits to the clinic over a five or six day period:
- the patches are applied and the areas marked with ink.
- 48 hours later the patches are removed, readings taken and the areas further re-marked with ink
- A further 48 to 72 hours later, final reading is undertaken
Any fees charged for patch tests are inclusive of all visit and patch testing, but will not include a follow-up visit with your consultant should this be necessary If any relevant allergens are identified that might be contributing to your skin condition, these will be discussed and information leaflets given to you. Hopefully avoidance of the allergens will result in a great improvement in your rash.
Sometimes patch tests can be negative, and a contact allergy excluded.
“Dos and don’ts” during patch testing.
Keeping the patches dry is the most important aspect of accurate patch testing. Water or moisture of any description will often cause the allergens to dissolve out of their chambers and often make results difficult to interpret.
For the whole 4 to 5 day period whilst the patch tests and ink markings are on your skin:
- Get the patches or markings wet in the bath or shower
- Work up a sweat by exercising too hard
- Get the patches wet by swimming
- Wear pale or valuable clothing as the ink may stain it
- Expose yourself to sunlight
Take immunosuppressive medications (If you already taking these, patch testing is not likely possible as the results will be suppressed).
If the area becomes itchy, try not to scratch.
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