Contact and Environmental Dermatitis
The OHSU Contact Dermatitis and Occupational Skin Disease Clinic supports patients who suffer from skin allergies. A doctor's referral is required for this clinic.
Although there a number of different types of allergic reactions, this clinic is dedicated to contact allergies. Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that results from direct contact with certain substances, such as soap, cosmetics, jewelry, skin care products, gloves, clothing or plants. It can be extremely itchy and uncomfortable. This reaction typically occurs between one and seven days following contact with the substance and usually lasts longer than a few days. The rash usually presents at the site of contact. However, because there is such a large number of substances that may cause a reaction, the condition often presents in a variety of different locations and distributions.
Patch testing is a method used in the clinic to identify the substance that is causing contact dermatitis. The process involves placing substances on small aluminum disks that are then applied to the surface of the patient's back. These patches stay on for a total of 48 hours, at which time the patches are removed and read. Although the patches are removed at this time, many of the substances may take five to seven days to produce a response. For this reason, the patient must return for a final visit the following week, at which point the allergy substances are identified and discussed.