Skin Patch Testing

People with allergies do not always have the same reaction to their environment. Skin patch testing is a good way to figure out your allergies. An allergist will develop a plan to help you feel better and get relief.

What is skin patch testing?

Skin patch testing is a procedure to help diagnose allergies. The test checks your reactions to a range of things, from pet dander to dust mites.

Examples of irritants that are used in patch testing are:

  • Latex
  • Medications
  • Fragrances
  • Preservatives
  • Cosmetic chemicals
  • Hair dyes
  • Metals
  • Resins

Who gets skin patch testing?

People who have seasonal allergies, hives, and skin rashes can get patch tested. Patch testing does not test food allergies because of the likelihood for high false positives.

Talk to your doctor if you think getting tested is right for you.

Skin patch testing process

Doctors will advise their patients to stop taking allergy medication before the test.

About 20 to 30 allergens are placed on the upper back under bandages for 24 to 72 hours and then removed. The patient is allergic to the allergen if the skin behind a bandage changes.

Patients should avoid bathing or activities that cause sweat for the time they have the patches on their back.

Skin patch testing outcome

Doctors determine sensitivity by the reaction. They will suggest any changes patients need to make in order to avoid what they are allergic to. They may also provide treatments for highly allergic patients.