This service or treatment is generally covered by most health insurance policies. You are responsible for checking your insurance policy cover, and you may need a referral letter. Check which insurance companies are covered.
Patch testing is a specialised form of test done by a dermatologist on a person’s skin to see if they have a contact allergy i.e. if their skin is reacting to an otherwise harmless chemical allergen in the outside world. Examples of common allergens that cause skin contact allergy include nickel in metal jewellery, perfumes, hair dye, rubber chemicals and lanolin. There are thousands of recognised allergens and they include synthetic and natural substances.
Patch testing is usually advised when you or your dermatologist suspect that you have a contact allergy or where this needs to be ruled out. It is sometimes done to investigate allergy to an oral or injected drug, but is not a test for food allergy or allergy to inhaled substances such as pollen and animal fur.
Skin contact allergies usually cause dermatitis – a red, itchy rash that lasts for days to weeks or longer. These can be easily overlooked in someone who already had an inbuilt or ‘constitutional’ kind of dermatitis such as atopic eczema.