allergic contact dermatitis

What is Allergic Contact Dermatitis?

Allergic contact dermatitis is a skin condition caused by a reaction to a contact allergen. The reaction does not occur upon first contact but after a second or repeated exposure over time to the same allergen. Common contact allergens include ingredients in fragrance and cosmetics; preservatives; rubber; plants; nickel, gold, and other metals; and many others. Allergic contact dermatitis can take many forms: a red, itchy rash; dry and cracked or scaly skin; bumps, blisters and lesions; and swelling and tenderness. Once you have developed allergic contact dermatitis, it is likely to recur. A personal or family history of other allergies may increase your chance of developing this skin condition.

The most effective treatment for allergic contact dermatitis begins with identifying the substance that has caused your rash and then avoiding it. In some cases, such as with poison ivy, diagnosis may be straightforward. In others, patch testing may be required to determine which specific allergen is causing your dermatitis. With strict avoidance of the allergenic substance, healing may take several weeks or longer. To treat your symptoms while your skin recovers, you may be prescribed corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory agents, antihistamines, barrier creams, and moisturizers, as well as medicated shampoos and oral medications.

Our expert team is experienced in diagnosing the many causes of allergic contact dermatitis, and we are a leading proponent and provider of patch testing. Once a diagnosis has been made, we provide personalized consultation and customized educational materials on allergen avoidance and skin care.

What is Patch Testing?

Patch testing is the only medical test that can identify a delayed allergy. Unlike “immediate” allergies like you hear about to peanuts, pollens, and dog dander, “delayed” allergies to things like perfumes or other ingredients in cosmetics can cause a form of eczema over time. A patch test may include between 36 to 85 allergens. In some complex cases, expect over 100 allergens.

In addition to paying for 2 or 3 office visits, the patch test allergens often cost $9. An average test may cost around $1000 but often patients pay much less out of pocket. Experts agree that for many patients with out of control eczema and rashes, patch testing is very likely to save you time, money, and trouble in the long-run.

The allergic form of eczema is often a life-long disease. While this test seems very expensive, it is much less than the total costs of monthly prescriptions, specialist visits several times yearly, and loss of work or vacation time. Without a proper diagnosis, patients may suffer needlessly or even pay for unnecessary treatments for decades. The other problem is that patients can become allergic to many of the creams used to treat eczema. If you have eczema that can’t be controlled, you deserve to know if you could be allergic to the ingredients in your prescription and over-the-counter eczema creams.

Patch Testing

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Same-day appointments and friendly service at (602) 914-4267

Same-day appointments and friendly service at (602) 914-4267