Patch Testing for Contact Dermatitis Explained

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Patch Testing for Contact Dermatitis Explained
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Contact dermatitis (or eczema), is an itchy rash caused by skin contact with an allergen or irritant. Patch testing is a scientific procedure that is performed by an experienced dermatologist, such as Dr. Rishi from Parashar Skin Clinic in New Delhi, to identify the specific allergen causing the dermatitis.

Patch tests are an important part of diagnosing contact dermatitis, as the cause of the rash plays an essential role when it comes to choosing the right treatment plan. By diagnosing the exact cause of the skin rash, Dr. Rishi can provide the best medical advice to help you find relief from the symptoms of contact dermatitis.

Why Is Patch Testing Important for Diagnosing Contact Dermatitis?

Patch testing is important for diagnosing contact dermatitis, as it helps to identify the specific allergen causing the skin rash. This information is vital for optimal treatment, as different allergens require different treatments. The patch test typically involves applying small amounts of certain allergens and irritants to the upper back, and then evaluating the reactions after 48 and 72 hours.

As contact dermatitis is a reaction of the skin to an allergen, knowledge of the exact allergen(s) causing the rash helps you and your doctor to avoid contact with the culprit and reduce, and eventually eliminate, your symptoms. If you’re looking to control and manage your contact dermatitis, Dr. Rishi recommends considering patch testing to begin the journey toward relief.

How Does Patch Testing Work to Identify Allergens?

The patch test involves applying small amounts of certain allergens and irritants to the upper back. Dr. Rishi at Parashar Skin Clinic will use hypoallergenic tape to attach these allergens to the skin.

The patch test process:

  • The allergens and irritants are typically applied on Monday morning. You should avoid swimming, exercising, and using oily lotions near the patch test site.
  • The patches are usually removed on Wednesday. At this point, Dr. Rishi will evaluate your reactions to determine what allergens your skin is sensitive to.
  • You may experience minor redness or a rash at the patch test site. If you experience itching, you may need to use hydrocortisone cream. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
  • The results of your patch test will be ready in 1-2 weeks. Dr. Rishi will help you see how the results can be used to treat or manage your contact dermatitis.

Who Should Consider Undergoing Patch Testing for Contact Dermatitis?

If you experience skin irritation that you believe is caused by coming into contact with an allergen or irritant, you should consider getting patch testing done. A patch test will help you and Dr. Rishi from Parashar Skin Clinic in New Delhi to determine the cause of your skin irritation and choose the right treatment plan to get relief from your symptoms.

Eczema sufferers who have tried numerous treatments or are unsure of the cause of their eczema may find patch testing particularly beneficial. This procedure makes it possible to identify hidden allergens that may be difficult to identify through other methods. Having the results of the patch test helps you and Dr. Rishi to identify the allergen(s) and to choose the right treatment plan.

What Types of Allergens Can Patch Testing Identify?

Patch testing is commonly used to identify various allergens and irritants that may be causing contact dermatitis or eczema. These allergens can include:

  • Metals such as nickel
  • Preservatives such as imidazolidinyl urea or disodium EDTA
  • Fragrances
  • Hair dyes or chemicals used in cosmetics
  • Certain medicines and antibiotics
  • Plant-based allergens such as poison ivy and poison oak
  • Many others

During patch testing, Dr. Rishi from Parashar Skin Clinic in New Delhi will apply various allergens and irritants to the skin of your back. After two days, Dr. Rishi will remove the patches and look for any reactions on the skin that may indicate an allergy or sensitivity to the applied allergens. Upon completion of the test, Dr. Rishi will be able to review the results to determine which allergens are causing your contact dermatitis.

How Long Does Patch Testing Take ?

  • Initial Application: The patches are usually applied during an initial appointment, which typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour. The number of patches applied will depend on the suspected allergens.

  • Patch Wearing Period: You’ll need to wear the patches on your skin for approximately 48 hours. During this time, you should avoid activities that could cause excessive sweating or getting the patches wet.

  • Patch Removal and Evaluation: After the 48-hour period, you will return to your dermatologist’s office to have the patches removed and your skin evaluated. This appointment generally takes about 15-30 minutes.

  • Follow-up Appointments: Depending on the results and the complexity of your condition, your dermatologist may schedule additional follow-up appointments to discuss findings and treatment options. These follow-up visits can vary in length but often last around 15-30 minutes each.

In total, the patch testing process for eczema can take several days to a few weeks, including the initial application, wearing the patches, evaluation, and any necessary follow-up appointments. The specific timeline may vary based on individual circumstances and the dermatologist’s recommendations.

Are There Any Preparations or Restrictions Before Patch Testing?

Yes. Before patch test, there are few preparations and restrictions you should follow.


  • Do not apply any oils, lotions, or creams on the area of skin where the patches will be applied.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that does not rub against the application area.


  • Avoid swimming, exercising, saunas, heat treatments, and sun exposure. This will help make sure that the patch test results are accurate.
  • Don’t scratch or pick at any areas of the skin being tested.
  • Avoid using any products such as makeup, lotions, or perfumes on the patch test area.

Following these restrictions and preparations before patch testing is important in order to ensure that the results are accurate and can be used by Dr. Rishi from Parashar Skin Clinic in New Delhi to identify the allergen causing your contact dermatitis.

What Should Patients Expect During and After Patch Testing?

You should expect slight redness or a rash at the patch test site after the patches are removed, along with some itching at the application site. Adrenaline-based steroids or hydrocortisone cream is usually prescribed to reduce any inflammation or itching. Dr. Rishi from Parashar Skin Clinic in New Delhi will explain exactly what to expect during and after your patch test.

You can also expect Dr. Rishi to evaluate your patch test results within a week or two. After Dr. Rishi has analyzed your test, Dr. Rishi will help you determine the best care plan to address the findings of the test and provide relief from your contact dermatitis. Note that Dr. Rishi may also recommend additional tests to further refine the diagnosis and treatment plan.

Interpreting Patch Test Results: What Do They Mean for Dermatitis Management?

Patch test results can reveal the exact cause of your dermatitis (or eczema). After Dr. Rishi from Parashar Skin Clinic in New Delhi has analyzed your test results, Dr. Rishi can provide you with individualized advice on the best care plan to manage your contact dermatitis.

In most cases, Dr. Rishi will recommend strategies such as avoiding the allergens that were identified, using safe products for your skin type, and following an anti-inflammatory diet. Additionally, Dr. Rishi may also suggest the use of emollients and moisturizers to provide relief from symptoms. By providing customized strategies that identify and address the cause of your contact dermatitis, Dr. Rishi can help you bring long-term relief from the discomfort of contact dermatitis.

Post-Testing Care and Follow-up for Contact Dermatitis (Eczema) Treatment

Following up after a patch test is important to ensure that you maintain relief of your contact dermatitis (or eczema) symptoms. Dr. Rishi from Parashar Skin Clinic in New Delhi will help you create an individualized plan to address your symptoms and help you reduce the risk of flare-ups.

To ensure a successful and comfortable resolution, here are some helpful post-testing tips that Dr. Rishi may recommend:

  • Avoid contact with known irritants and allergens.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as gloves, when using known irritants or allergens.
  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet to reduce inflammation.
  • Use mild soaps and lotions that are appropriate for your skin type.
  • Use humidifiers to reduce dry skin.

With the help of Dr. Rishi , you can create a plan that suits your needs and helps you find relief from the symptoms of contact dermatitis or eczema.


Ready to learn more about patch testing for contact dermatitis?

Dr. Rishi from Parashar Skin Clinic in New Delhi can provide you with more information and help you make an educated decision about patch testing. Get in touch with Dr. Rishi to learn more about patch testing and make an appointment to begin your journey toward relief from contact dermatitis.

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Eczema Patch Test

Dr. Rishi Parashar

MBBS, MD Dermatology

Dr. Rishi Parashar is a distinguished dermatologist with an impressive academic background and 25 years of experience in the field. He earned his MBBS degree from SMS Medical College, Jaipur, affiliated with the University of Rajasthan, in 1994.
His relentless pursuit of knowledge led him to achieve an MD in Dermatology from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, in 1998. With his vast experience, Dr. Parashar combines his extensive education with a passion for dermatology to provide top-notch care to his patients.
Additionally, he holds the esteemed position of Co-chairman in the Department of Dermatology at Delhi's prestigious Sir Gangaram Hospital.

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Dr. Rishi Parashar