We are not tied to a manufacturer and use the best system for you, although the video from a good provider shows the scientific care used in patch testing.
Patch and prick testing are valuable methods for diagnosing allergic skin conditions. Small amounts of suspected allergens are applied to your skin in a controlled way, any reaction you have is then assessed by one of our consultant dermatologists.
We can all have passing reactions to allergens on our skin but common substances can also bring debilitating conditions. Allergy testing helps to find the cause.
This could be nickel, chromate derivatives, rubber, dyes (including hair dye), preservatives, medication you are using, skin care products, fragrances, poison ivy, or related plants, unknown exposure at work, or in any environment you visit.
The advantage of testing at our London clinic is not having to be in that environment, you are able to test the substance without the context.
Patch Testing Procedure
Tiny amounts of suspected allergens are applied to your skin using non allergic, adhesive patches, often on your back. Two days later, the patches are removed and your skin reaction assessed for evidence of an allergic reaction.
This second assessment can be the final reading, although we may wish to examine you a third time a few days later, for reactions which take longer to develop.
The core selection of allergens used for testing is known as the European Standard Battery, which includes the causes of 85 per cent of all skin reactions. Your consultant may suggest additional allergens for testing, perhaps related to cosmetics.
Your symptoms will be taken into account, although patch testing is suitable for all skin types and ages, including children. This can help to find a specific cause, for what may have seemed to be a naturally occurring condition.
Skin Prick Tests
Alongside your medical history and symptoms, prick tests are a valuable way to diagnose skin conditions and allergies. This can be for airborne allergens, insect stings, or materials such as latex and is particularly useful for identifying food allergies.
Where patients (or parents) can not identify the source of an allergic reaction, in some cases, we can use a dietary source from them to perform the test.
A prick test involves placing a drop of each suspected allergen on the forearm. Each drop has been specifically formulated for skin prick testing and is allowed to penetrate the skin by using a prick from a needle.
Where there is an allergic reaction, a visible wheal and flare is produced, which looks similar to a mosquito bite. The procedure is however quite painless and quick, reactions tend to be seen in around 15 minutes.
Benefits Of Testing
There are further tests available, such as a RAST test, which involves mixing suspected allergens with a blood sample and measuring antibodies. The approach can help in serious cases, although patch, or prick testing will answer most questions.
Knowing what you are allergic to can eliminate a skin problem, or hold the key to managing your condition, with support from a skilled dermatologist.
Testing is also a low risk, minimally invasive procedure, suitable for all patients. A wide range of substance reactions can be tested, from chemicals at work, to natural substances, to apparently safe household items.
We provide patch, or prick testing in London as an essential dermatology tool, to support our patients and help to eliminate their skin conditions.
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