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Does a doctor use a patch test to diagnose dermatitis?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

If you have contact dermatitis, a patch test can help identify the substances to which you may be allergic.

Contact dermatitis flares when you come in contact with a particular substance or substances, which can range from poison oak to a specific ingredient found in everyday products. Your doctor will first examine your skin, will ask when your rash first appeared, and will discuss your medical history. He or she may also suggest that you avoid products and substances you believe are causing your allergic response. If you are not sure what allergens (substances that cause an allergic response) are causing your symptoms, your doctor may order a patch test.

Here’s how the test works: Dime-sized drops of chemicals inside a small metal cup are placed on your skin and covered with tape or a bandage. You wear the bandage home for about two days, keeping the area dry. After 48 hours, your doctor will remove the tape and check the area. Redness, swelling, bumps, or small blisters indicate a positive test result for the substance. Consult a dermatologist for more information.

Seek a physician’s assistance for medical concerns.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.