Looking For Skin Allergy Test Birmingham?

Is that pesky rash staying for way too long or being too abrasive for comfort? Your dermatitis could be acting up, but there might also be an underlying allergy exacerbating it.

Skin rashes already cause quite the amount of itchiness and discomfort just on their own. And a contact allergy only adds to it. If you feel there’s more at play with your rash, let’s get to the bottom of things. At Cahaba Dermatology, our skin allergy tests help get to the root of your skin condition, which could be worsening things like symptoms and recovery.

How Allergy Testing Helps

Dermatologists have a nifty way of figuring out whether an allergy could lay at the root of your rash, or at least be aggravating it: patch allergy tests. But patch allergy testing differs from skin prick tests, another testing form you may be familiar with. Skin prick tests primarily test for hay fever allergy (think pollen dust mites, and dander), but offer little value in the skin rash department.

Patch testing incorporates a wide breadth of substances—to see what sticks, one could say. Bad jokes aside, patch tests involve a range of substances (also called allergens) that go through an approval and assessment process before being applied to patches. Basically, patches are selectively concentrated to reveal an allergic reaction in someone who is allergic, but not affect someone who isn’t allergic to the substance.

Think of patches like small windows into allergic reaction understanding. Most patches are placed on a prominent area, usually the upper back, left there for a bit, and then taken off to reveal signals of an allergic reaction. What it does is this: it helps indicate what allergies or allergens you should be on the lookout for—and avoid coming into contact with. The patch’s size lends itself to this process without being too overbearing on your skin, which means side effects will be minimal.

Allergy Testing Appointments

You might be wondering something right about now, and we’re definitely on the same page: what does an allergy testing appointment even look like? That’s something we can easily clear up for you, and it’ll only take a minute.

For starters, an allergy testing appointment will take less time than an average lunch break: around 30 minutes. As for the patch testing itself, a dermatologist will place roughly 70 individual square patches onto the upper back, with teeny-tiny amounts of allergens on the patches. A special hypoallergenic tape keeps them snug and attached to the back.

After that, the patches will stay on for 72 hours. During this time, you may take antihistamines, but no oral steroids. The second appointment will feature a follow-up patch reading test, which happens after the incubation period. Once at the second appointment, the patches will be removed. Each test spot will be marked by a black felt tip pen for easy identification.

As mentioned, the 72 hours in between appointments serves as a kind of incubation period. A dermatologist will record the results, notating the different reactions the allergen had on the skin. The notations are as follows:

  • Negative (–)
  • Irritant reaction (IR)
  • Equivocal / uncertain (+/–)
  • Weak positive (+)
  • Strong positive (++)
  • Extreme reaction (+++)

Notations keep things rather simple, but reactions are anything but.

Negative reactions signal no discernible change. Irritant reactions can present themselves as akin to burns, pustules, or sweat rashes. Uncertain reactions may offer a slight tint in the skin’s tone, usually turning pink. Weak positives carry similar qualities as uncertain ones, but may be red in color and raised. Strong positives produce noticeable papules or skin lesions and rashes. Extreme reactions form as blisters or even ulcers on the skin. All this being said, an expert eye is subpreme in interpreting the different results patch testing can give.

Finally, you’ll be given a handout of the allergens that your body reacted to. A product list will also be emailed to you that shows which products will help keep allergies at bay.

Allergy Testing at Cahaba Dermatology

A skin rash isn’t pleasant by any means. And the culprit behind your rash might just be an unknown allergen. Or an allergen could be making things all the worse, and be key in disrupting your rash’s healing process. Cahaba Dermatology can help detect, diagnose, and discern the best course of action for you.

Cahaba Dermatology knows how to handle your skin’s allergic reactions. Dr. Vlada Groysman, M.D., boasts extensive experience in allergy and patch testing. Plus, her selection as a member of the American Contact Dermatitis Society affords her access to an allergy database few doctors and fellow dermatologists can rival. If you’d like to know more about what’s behind your skin condition, contact Cahaba Dermatology in Birmingham or Tuscaloosa. You can do so online, by phone at 205-214-7546, or via our patient portal.