All you need to know about PATCH TESTING


Do some mascaras make your eyelids itch or turn red? Does wearing a favorite ring give you a red rash underneath the ring?  Do some soaps or perfumes make you itch?  Are you getting a metal implant placed in your body?  We can help determine if you have a contact or chemical allergy through a procedure called patch testing.


How It Works

A hypoallergenic patch containing a small amount of the material to be tested, usually dissolved in water or vaseline, is applied to your back (or in some cases your arm). The patch is worn for at least 48 hours and then removed. If you are highly allergic to the test material, red bumps will appear under the patch. Milder reactions are more frequently seen in the form of reddish squares. Usually, a second reading the next day or two days later is necessary, as some reactions occur after 48 hours. Through this procedure, we can determine what substances are causing your allergies. After the tests are read, we can provide you with a shopping list of the products that are free from those substances that caused positive skin reactions.


Some additional information regarding patch testing:

  • The latest technology in patches (which is what we use) allows showers but still no baths or strenuous exercise before receiving the test.

  • Reactions are rarely severe, but if you do experience a severe reaction, we recommend that you remove the patch, wash with soap and water, apply a corticosteroid cream to sooth the reaction, and call our our office immediately at 212-758-4633.

  • Many patients with other allergy problems, such as red eyes from pollen allergies who seem worse after using an eye drop, can have a contact allergy to medications. We test for the products you use even if there are no commercial products available.

  • Patch tests cannot be done when taking systemic corticosteroids (eg Prednisone). Antihistamines do not affect test results.

  • We use the North American Standard series as our baseline testing and can add others as indicated by the reason for testing. Most insurances cover this procedure.  

  • No needles or sharp devices are involved. Blood tests generally are not used.


If you’re interested in talking with one of our doctors about patch testing, make an appointment today!


Get Tested. Get Treated Get Better.


Allergy Care of Manhattan Staff