at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
For many chronic skin conditions like eczema, atopic dermatitis, skin allergies, psoriasis, rosacea, and more, the condition is always present but the symptoms rise and fall. This is often because certain triggers make the symptoms worse. Distinguishing eczema from contact allergy can be quite difficult because they can look identical. It is recommended that patients with eczema (atopic dermatitis) receive allergy testing, not only to firmly establish the diagnosis, but also because allergies are over-represented in this group. Additionally, even in patients with eczema, exposure to their allergens makes the eczema worse. Avoiding or limiting your triggers can be a successful part of your treatment plan.
Our team of board-certified dermatologists and dermatological physician assistants know the importance of finding your individual triggers. When treating eczema, we have two focuses: 1) identifying patients’ specific allergens, and 2) helping patients avoid those allergens while providing other treatments and medications to manage their condition.
The primary way we detect patients’ specific triggers is with needle-free patch testing. Traditional allergy tests use needle pricks to introduce potential allergens and gauge the skin’s reaction. This testing identifies substances which cause allergic reactions when they are ingested or inhaled. These Type I allergies tend to cause itchy eyes, nasal congestion, GI symptoms and hives. Patch testing is the way to identify contact allergies (allergy when a substance comes in contact with the skin) which are Type IV allergies. Although there are some commercially available tests accessible to dermatologists, these generally only identify 25% of relevant allergens. Going beyond the commercially available options, we test the skin’s reaction to a much larger number of potential allergens, allowing us to pinpoint the specific triggers that irritate each patient’s symptoms.
Finding your triggers is one of the first steps to minimizing your symptoms long-term. After the patch test, our skilled providers can help you take the next steps. We can advise your about how to avoid your triggers (such as what types of skincare products to avoid) and also give you other ways to reduce your symptoms. Depending on your condition, this could involve customized topical prescription medications, oral medications, injectable medicines, light therapy, or other professional eczema treatments.
If you have skin allergies, eczema, or another chronic skin condition which inconsistent symptoms, schedule an appointment at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta to find out how we can help.