Question that comes to mind when you experience a rash. How do I know what I am allergic to at home? I have this rash that is on the face, body and hands and is it’s very uncomfortable!

Rashes are very nonspecific. They appear out of nowhere when you least expect them. A lot of the time they are itchy and uncomfortable. People spend so much time avoiding things and trying to find out the cause of their allergies. 

Rashes can be caused by many different diseases. One of the most common causes of rashes is contact dermatitis which is basically a delayed allergic reaction to a product, preservative or chemical that you might be using. These ingredients can be present in any type of product such as: Shampoos, fragrances, cleansers, body soaps, washes, detergents, creams, ointments, moisturizers, oils, food, clothing, rubber, toothpaste, dentures, adhesives and many others. It can also be something that you are exposed to at work. 

Contact dermatitis or allergy is a delayed reaction, meaning that it happens a few hours or days after the exposure to these chemicals. That’s why usually it is hard to pinpoint the source. 

In order to figure out what you are allergic to, patch testing need to be performed. Patch testing involves applying patches with test substances in small chambers or discs to a person’s back. The patches are secured with hypoallergenic tapes. No needle pricking is involved. The patches stay on the back for the first 48 hours. No showering is allowed during that time. After 48 hours, the patches are taken off the back and that’s when the initial read is done. The patient is advised not to wipe the back or shower for the next few days. The patient should have a 2nd read at the 96-hour mark, then again at the 7-day mark. The reason for multiple visits and reads is that the reactions might take time to show up on the skin especially that this is considered a delayed reaction. 

When performing patch testing, you can also bring in your personal products and those can be applied as patches on your back along with the other allergens. The original panel contains 80 allergens. Personal products patches will also be applied over the back just like the regular patch testing panel. Instructions will be provided in details in your first visit when the patches are applied.

Once your patch testing is done, the physician at The Allergy Suite in Novi will help you download an app on your phone and provide codes that are specific for you. These codes include allergens that are specific for you and that are triggering your rashes. Once you enter your codes on the app, this will provide you with a list of safe products to use for your skin that you can access anywhere while you are shopping. 

For more information about patch testing. Please schedule an appointment with Dr. Alsukhon or Dr. Elisa at the Allergy Suite in Novi, MI for further info.