A patch test is a method used to determine whether a specific substance causes allergic inflammation of a patient’s skin. Any individual suspected of having allergic contact dermatitis or atopic dermatitis needs patch testing.
Patch testing helps identify which substances may be causing a delayed-type allergic reaction in a patient, and may identify allergens not identified by blood testing or skin prick testing.
It is intended to produce a local allergic reaction on a small area of the patient’s back, where the diluted chemicals were planted. The chemicals included in the patch test kit are the offenders in approximately 85–90 percent of contact allergic eczema, and include chemicals present in metals (e.g., nickel), rubber, leather, formaldehyde, lanolin, fragrance, toiletries, hair dyes, medicine, pharmaceutical items, food, drink, preservative, and other additives.