Contact dermatitis


Patch testing

Contact dermatitis can be diagnosed by your healthcare provider through a combination of discussions about your symptoms and a thorough examination of your skin. During the consultation, your provider will ask questions to help identify potential triggers and gather information about your condition. They will also perform a skin exam to assess the rash and its characteristics.

To determine the specific cause of your rash, your healthcare provider may recommend a patch test. During this test, small amounts of potential allergens are applied to adhesive patches, which are then placed on your skin. The patches remain on your skin for 2 to 3 days, and you are advised to keep the area dry. Afterward, your healthcare provider examines the skin under the patches for any reactions, which helps identify the trigger substance. This test is particularly useful when the cause of the rash is unclear or when the rash reoccurs frequently. However, it’s important to note that on individuals with brown skin, the redness indicating a reaction can be challenging to detect, potentially leading to a missed diagnosis.


Your healthcare practitioner may recommend drugs if self-care measures at home are ineffective in reducing your signs and symptoms. Examples comprise:

  • Medications. In extreme circumstances, your doctor can recommend oral medications to lessen swelling, soothe itching, or treat a bacterial infection.
  • Topical steroids. To relieve the rash, creams and ointments are used topically. You could use prescription topical steroids like triamcinolone 0.1% or clobetasol 0.05%. Find out from your doctor how many times per day and for how many weeks you should apply it.