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Skin Patch Test for Eczema

Skin patch test is one of the tests your physician may use to diagnose your eczema. Learn more about how this skin patch test for eczema is done and what you can expect from it.

On trying to decide on a diagnosis for a skin problem, some doctors send their patients for a skin patch test. When skin patch testing for eczema patients is done, a suspected irritant is pressed to the skin and then held there with an adhesive patch. Another adhesive patch that is devoid of anything on it is also applied as a source of comparison. The irritant patch is left in place for anywhere from one day to two days. After that period of time has elapsed it is taken away and the skin is examined. If the skin shows to be red, itchy and/or inflamed then more than likely it is the irritant in question that the patient is allergic to. Skin patch testing only becomes a necessity if the cause of your eczema is not known. Patch testing will help ascertain what you are allergic to, whether it be a material in a cosmetic product, nickel, creams, rubber, etc.

A general practitioner will refer an eczema patient to a skin specialist such as a dermatologist. When allergic or irritant contact dermatitis is deemed to be the cause then a skin patch test is scheduled. The entire procedure spans a few days. On the first day of the testing, small quantities of thirty or more different items are attached to the patient’s upper back by way of small patches. The patches are attached to the back with non-allergic tape. The patches are left on the skin for two days and then the patient comes back to the doctor’s office to have them taken off. The skin is then closely inspected to see if any allergic reactions have taken place. The patient then must return again, two days later for examination, as there is sometimes a delayed reaction to any one of the substances tested.

A number of substances are very commonly used to determine contact eczema. They are all additives that are very often included in many everyday kinds of materials such as creams, ointments, leathers, clothing and household cleaners. The additives include benzocaine, chrome, balsam of Peru, cobalt, clioquinol, nickel, formladehyde, epoxy resin, plants, fragrances, ethylenediamine, neomycin, paraben mix, imidazolidinyl urea, P-tert butylphenol, rosin, formaldehyde resin, paraphenylenediame, quaternium-15, rubber accelerators, and wool alcohols (also known as lanolin). These are referred to as the standard "battery of patches.” Sometimes other substances are added into the skin patch test, such as a chemical or solvent from your place of employment or a personal care product that you use on your body or face and develop problems because of.

It is important to realize that skin patch testing can only find the causes of allergic or irritant contact eczema. It has no such effect on discussing food allergies of any sort or urticaria. It is essential for the spot on your skin that is to be tested to be kept dry, not only for the initial test but also until the entire procedure is completed. This might mean that you will have to take a sponge bath instead of a shower during those four days. Don’t do anything that will cause you to sweat too much during the duration of the test. This is even more important during the summer months when high humidity often causes us to sweat more. Save your baseball games, aerobics classes, jogging and tennis for after the test has been completed. 

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