Skin Allergy Testing
Skin Allergy Patch Testing
Norris Dermatology & Lasers NW is also an Allergy Clinic in Portland. Dr. Norris specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic skin reactions due to chemicals and substances that touch the skin, which are reactions that look like an eczema. Individuals may have chemical exposures either at home, work or in their hobbies that may cause an allergic reaction to the skin. Dr. Norris evaluates and treats patients with skin allergies in her clinic in NW Portland at Norris Dermatology as well as at Oregon Health & Sciences University where she is an Assistant Professor in Dermatology and the Director of the Contact Clinic.
Contact dermatitis is a common dermatological condition and accounts for a significant number of visits to primary care physicians and dermatologists. It also is a major cause of occupational (work related) skin disease. Dr. Norris is an expert in the diagnosis of this type of skin rash.
There are Two Types of Contact Dermatitis
Evaluation of Contact Dermatitis
Dr. Norris is an expert in patch testing has one of the most comprehensive allergy clinics in Portland, which is used to make the diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis in children and adults. Patch testing involves placing low concentrations of specific allergens on a patient’s back and observing the area for a skin reaction over a 5-7 day.
Patch testing is not the same as scratch or prick testing, which is used to diagnose hives or allergies associated with runny eyes and runny nose (hay fever). Each patient will receive a comprehensive and detailed evaluation regarding environmental and work exposures, and a full selection of common and occupational allergens to be tested on the skin. Recommendations for alternative products will be made once the patch testing is complete.
About Skin Allergy Patch Testing
As part of your evaluation, you will be carefully interviewed and receive a complete skin exam. Information collected in this interview and exam will be the basis of the patch tests that are applied. Patch testing involves the application of allergens to the upper back, using a paper tape (Scanpor tape is specially made for patch testing) and small aluminum or plastic discs. The patch tests remain taped to your upper back for 48 hours and are removed at your second office visit. The patch tests may cause some itching and mild irritation. The purpose of the testing is to reproduce your allergic contact dermatitis in a controlled small papule on the back.
You will not be able to get the patch test site wet for the entire patch test period (5-7 days).
Even though the patch tests are removed on your second visit you will need to keep the area dry to allow for the final reading at day 5 or 7. You may take a shallow bath, but please do not shower, swim or participate in activities that lead to sweating.
- 1st Visit (1-2 hours): Extensive patient history interview, skin exam and consultation with Dr. Norris. Patch tests customized and applied.
- 2nd Visit (1/2 hour): Patch tests are removed; initial patch test reading.
- 3rd (1 hour): Final patch test reading. Discussion of patch test results.
*We ask that you plan for this amount of time, though actual visits may vary.
Items to Bring with you to the Skin Allergy Patch Testing
Please bring any and all items that come in contact with the area of your dermatitis. Include items of clothing, medications, lotions, creams, cleansers, cosmetics, and any other substances that come in contact with your skin in the affected area.
Please include all packaging, labels and ingredient lists associated with the items you bring, as we will know the specific substances that comprise your products.
For items from your workplace, please bring a small sample of each, along with corresponding Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). These sheets should be available through your supervisor at work.
A dark colored shirt is recommended for your second visit.
It is important that you do not take any oral (by mouth) Prednisone or its derivative (Solu-medrol, etc.) for 7 days prior to your first visit with us. You should not receive a cortisone injection within the month of your first office visit. In addition, discontinue the application of any cortisone cream, lotion or ointment on your BACK 24 hours prior to your first visit.
Sun tanning, in an artificial booth or in the sun, should be discontinued 2 weeks prior to your first visit.
If it is possible we would like to speak with you by phone prior to your appointment in order to obtain some of your history
You can learn more about skin allergy patch testing at American Academy of Dermatology.