What Do Allergy Tests Involve Before Treatment?

Before you undergo any dermatology treatments, from injectibles to laser skin treatments, chemical peels to dermabrasion, your doctor will assess your skin for any signs of sensitivity or possible allergic reaction to the treatment materials or processes. While many cosmetic treatments do not requite allergy testing due to the organic nature of the materials used, such as hyaluronic acid (a natural element the body produces,) your doctor may advise pre-treatment testing on a case-by-case basis. And if you’ve experienced any allergic reactions in the past, your doctor may recommend getting allergy tests to help ensure that your skin treatments are comfortable, and your recovery without complications.

One method of pre-treatment allergy testing is a patch test. During patch testing, small amounts of chemicals or environmental elements are diluted and placed onto discs mounted on hypoallergenic tape and then placed on your back. The number of patches will depend on how many irritants your doctor would like to test for. You might have five to ten patches placed on your back for an overall allergy testing procedure. You’ll be advised about medications you should not take before testing, such as prednisone, and you may be advised to stay out of the sun before testing as well.

Your allergy testing procedure might take several days overall, with your first appointment being a consultation and application of the patches, and the second appointment a few days later for removal of the patches which you’ve kept dry – so no showering!) The third appointment is for your doctor to look at each testing point to identify any red spots indicating an allergy to the testing agent at that particular spot.

Allergy testing may reveal something other than allergies, such as irritant contact dermatitis, eczema or other conditions that your doctor can treat.

In some cases, your doctor may prefer a blood test to identify any allergies you might have, before beginning any minimally-invasive or surgical skin treatments. Talk to your doctor about the newest skin allergy tests and which ones might be best for your skin condition and treatments in question.

The most important factor in the question of allergies is you. Be sure to tell your doctor about anything you may be allergic to, since your doctor uses that information as clues to create a safe and effective plan for your skin treatments. Since adult-onset allergies are always possible, you might not be aware that you have an allergy to a particular thing, so work with your doctor to complete a full allergy test before you embark upon any skin treatments. And if the patient is your teen, take your doctor’s allergy testing advice to heart, following all instructions and looking at allergy testing as an investment in your or your child’s health and safety above all.

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