A patch test is a diagnostic method used to determine which specific substances cause allergic inflammation of a person’s skin. Patch testing helps to identify which substances may be causing an allergic reaction in a person and may identify allergens that are not identified by blood testing or skin prick testing. Patch testing describes a procedure to help in identifying what ingredients might irritate a person’s skin. We always recommend in performing skin patch test before using any type of cosmetic and make-up products.
How to Perform a Patch Test
- Apply the product to a small patch of skin where a person is unlikely to accidentally wash or rub it. Choose an area where the skin is delicate like the inside of the arm, inside of wrist or the side of the neck or bend of the elbow.
- Make sure to wash and clean the area before applying any new products to ensure that if there is a reaction.
- Apply the product to a quarter-sized patch of skin. A person should apply the product as thickly as they would when using it regularly.
- Leave the product on the patch of skin for as long as it would normally be on the skin. If a person is testing a product that they would usually wash off, such as a cleanser, they should keep the patch on for 5 minutes or as long as the instructions advise. Sometimes cover the area with a bandage and wait for 24 hours before taking it off.
- If a person’s skin reacts to the product, they should wash it off as soon as possible and stop using it. A person can use a cool compress or petroleum jelly to relieve the skin if needed.
- If you see no changes on your skin after 24 hours, then the product is suitable for your skin type. If there is no skin irritation, rashes or swelling, then you can now use this product. However, if you experience a burning or itching sensation, wash the affected area ASAP.
Importance of Patch Testing
- By performing a patch test at home, a person can determine if a product contains ingredients that may cause a skin reaction.
- Skin care products may contain many different ingredients. Some of these ingredients can irritate a person’s skin or even cause an allergic reaction. By performing a patch test on a small area of skin, a person can see how their skin tolerates a product before committing to using the product over a larger area.
How to tell if you’re Allergic
- Once you take the off, you may notice your skin turn pink or red because of the cosmetic, but this should fade shortly.
- If it does not fade, it means you may be mildly allergic to the product.
- However, if your skin is red, raised or itchy, then it is you might have a severe allergy to the product.
- If you’re still not sure, it’s best to consult a dermatologist or visit an allergist/immunologist to get yourself tested.
When to Contact a Doctor
- If a person experiences skin irritation, it is advisable to contact a dermatologist to help manage their symptoms.
- Particularly if they experience a severe reaction and do not get relief with a cool compress or petroleum jelly.
- Develop a rash which is bleeding or oozing yellow pus, which may be a sign of infection.
- Think they have a skin allergy.
- Have a rash that has not improved after 2–3 weeks.
- Develop hives all over the body.
- A severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis.
- Breathing difficulties.
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