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How To Do A Simple Allergy Patch Test

What is an Allergy Patch Test?

A patch test or a skin allergy test is helpful determining whether your skin will react to new products such as cosmetics, soaps, creams, lotions, facial products, moisturizers or topical medications. Patch testing is a common way to check for a variety of allergies. You can perform a simple and effective patch test at home.

Why Should You Do It Before Trying New Skincare Products?

A patch test or a skin allergy test is helpful determining whether your skin will react to new products such as cosmetics, soaps, creams, lotions, facial products, moisturizers or topical medications. Patch testing is a common way to check for a variety of allergies. You can perform a simple and effective patch test at home.

A patch test should be done before using any herb or herbal oil on the skin. Some people can be sensitive to herbal products so it’s wise to do a patch test.

How to Patch-Test a Product?

A patch test should be done before using any herb or herbal oil on the skin. Some people can be sensitive to herbal products so it’s wise to do a patch test.

  • Use a Clear Patch of Skin

Choose an accessible and clear patch of skin to test the product. It should be somewhere that you can comfortably leave alone for up to 24 hours. The skin around the crook of your elbow is a good example of the kind of area you can use.

  • Wash the Area First

Wash and clean the patch of skin you’re going to use first. If there is a reaction, you will want to be sure that it’s the new product you applied and not something else. So, make sure to clean the area before you begin.

  • Apply a Small Amount to the Skin

Apply a small amount of the product to the inner area of your upper arm near the crook of your elbow. After applying a small amount of product to the skin, cover it with a bandage. If you are testing herbs, mix a small amount with water to make a paste and apply it to the area to be tested.

  • Wait 24 Hours

You should ideally allow about 24 hours at a minimum before removing the bandaid. However, if you experience any pain, burning or itching, you should remove the bandaid and wash the affected area right away. Make sure the patch test does not get wet. Avoid activities like showering, swimming and exercising.

What Are You Looking For

If there is no reaction after 24 hours you can use the product.  

If you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the product it will be easy see.

  • When you first remove the bandaid, you may notice some pink or red color from the bandaid itself, but this should fade after a short while.
  •  If the discoloration does not fade, then you may have a mild allergy. 
  •  Allergic responses include itching, redness, swelling, a burining sensation, rash or stinging. If you experience any of these signs it is likely you have a severe allergy to the product therefore do not use the product.
  • If you are not sure, or you have had severe reactions to skincare products in the past, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or an allergy specialist.

An Irritant Reaction vs. Allergic Reaction

You should be able to differentiate between an irritant reaction and an allergic reaction.

An irritant reaction is an instant reaction which occurs in some individuals. This might be mild itching, mild redness or mild stinging sensation after the use of a new product for the first time.

An irritant reaction is very mild and goes away within ten minutes. This reaction does not occur when the product is used again. Irritant reactions do not involve the immune system like an allergic reaction does. It can however exacerbate skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

When To See The Doctor

In the case of respiratory symptoms or anaphylactic shock after a patch test, seek medical attention immediately. However, this is very rare.

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