PATCH TESTING INSTRUCTIONS

Patch testing in Houston, Texas is a way to determine what, if any, chemicals may be causing your skin condition.  These chemicals are often found in plants, oils, sunscreens, or other cosmetic products as ingredients.  With patch testing, it is easier to determine which types of skin care products you should avoid to keep your skin healthy.  

We have our Houston patch testing patients follow the instructions below.  Please read this carefully before scheduling a patch testing appointment.  The two biggest barriers to patch testing are the cost if patients have high deductible plans as well as the need to keep the back dry for 4-5 full days.  It is best to schedule patch testing when these are not major concerns.  

 

Specific Instructions:

  • Avoid any and all sun exposure to your back for two weeks prior and for the entire duration of the test. The sun suppresses the immune system in the skin and will cause a false negative result.
  • The patches and the sites that have been marked must remain dry. This means you cannot exercise, sweat, shower, or swim until the test has been read. You can sponge bathe other areas of your body.
  • While the patches are on your body, please refrain from any activity that will cause them to loosen or move.
  • Should the patch or adhesive tape come loose, please apply additional tape (medical tape is available at any drugstore) to re-attach the patch to the original area. Do tell us if this was necessary.
  • At least 48 hours after the patches were applied, a close friend or family member will need to remove them from your back. This means if your patches were applied at 9:30 am on Thursday, they can be removed at 9:30 am on Saturday. The patches peel right off and can be tossed in the trash. Wash your hands after handling them (gloves are not necessary). 
  • Every day after the patches are removed, please have someone look at your back and retrace all the purple ink marks so that they are clearly visible when you come in for your patch test reading.
  • It's probably a good idea not to wear white clothing to your visit, as the purple marker may transfer to your clothing.  In addition, if you can avoid tight clothing please do so.
  • Again, do not expose your back to the sun or to any UV lamps or tanning beds.
  • Certain medications, both oral and topical, can interfere with patch testing. For the most accurate results, please do the following:
  • Stop taking any oral cortisone medications at least 3 weeks prior to your testing (this include prednisone, methylprednisolone, dexamethasone). Tell us if you had a steroid shot -- these last in the body for some time, and we may need to wait 6-8 weeks to test you.
  • Please avoid using any topical creams or ointments to your back for 1-2 weeks prior to your testing as well as during the testing.
  • If you are itchy or uncomfortable during the process, you may take some Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin, or Benadryl as needed. If you need to know doses of the medications, check with us or with a pharmacist as they are all available over the counter.
  • If you have any questions, please call us at 713.952.8400. Also, please keep your appointments as scheduled. If you need to reschedule, please call us at least 48 hours in advance.

Learn more about patch testing: