Contact, Occupational and Photodermatitis Service
The Contact, Occupational and Photodermatitis service at Weill Cornell Medicine provides care for patients suffering from allergic contact dermatitis likely triggered by occupational, environmental, personal care products, medication, or implant-related exposures.
Tests We Offer:
The Contact, Occupational and Photodermatitis service has over 10 years of expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with allergy-induced dermatitis. We have numerous ongoing clinical and basic science studies focused on the diagnosis and treatment of allergic contact dermatitis. Additionally, we actively participate in and help to govern the American Contact Dermatitis Society and Pediatric Contact Dermatitis Registry.
We specialize in testing for photosensitivity and sun-induced allergic contact dermatitis. Our patient care is founded on a history of research and academic achievements in the area of contact dermatitis.
The Contact, Occupational and Photodermatitis service offers:
● General patch testing
● Pediatric patch testing
● Medical and dental implant testing
● Gastrointestinal allergy patch testing
● Ophthalmologic medication allergy patch testing
● Sun-induced allergy testing
A referral from a physician who feels that a contact dermatitis evaluation is necessary is required to schedule an appointment with a contact and occupational dermatitis expert.
If you believe you are suffering from allergic dermatitis, please first make an appointment with one of our general dermatologists for an evaluation.
Parents: If you believe that your child is suffering from allergic dermatitis, please first make an appointment with one of our general pediatric dermatologists for an evaluation.
Patients require a referral to see one of our occupational and contact dermatitis experts.
If you believe your patient would benefit from evaluation for allergic contact dermatitis, please send us a letter or medical documentation in reference to your patient and please inform your patient to call to schedule a consultation appointment.
What is Dermatitis?
Dermatitis is skin inflammation. This can cause redness, itchiness, dryness, blistering, scaling, or even painful cracking that oozes fluid.
This condition is typically caused when you come in direct contact with something that irritates the skin. Allergens are one type of trigger that you may come into contact with in your daily life or your occupation.
Common causes of allergic dermatitis include:
● Other components of personal care products
Our dermatologists can help identify the cause of your allergy and develop both short- and long-term care plans to make daily life as comfortable as possible.
When a patient meets with a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in contact dermatitis, he or she first receives a thorough examination and medical history review, including a detailed evaluation of your daily routine and occupational exposures.
It is helpful to have a written record of when and where your rash or other symptoms appear, and what causes your rash to worsen or improve.
After patients complete a thorough evaluation, our team will determine if allergy testing is warranted. If so, patients will receive testing customized to include specific allergens that are relevant to their specific case.
The test requires three office visits in one week; either Monday, Wednesday, and then Friday, or Wednesday, Friday, and then the following Monday.
During the first visit, stickers that contain small amounts of allergens are placed on the patient’s back. These stickers remain on the back for two days until the patient returns to the clinic for the second office visit. During these two days, the back must not get wet.
On the second visit, the patches are removed from the back and the skin is examined.
On the third and final visit, the skin is examined and any positive reactions are identified. A positive reaction is the development of a localized rash. When a positive reaction is identified, the patient receives extensive counseling about the sensitivity, how to avoid exposure to the allergen, and a list of safe products to use in the future.
In addition to extensive allergy patch testing, we also offer specialized testing for different types of rashes that are caused by sun exposure.
Photoallergy testing requires four office visits in one week which occur on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.
During the first visit, the patient’s back is exposed to three different types of light including UVA, UVB, and white light. Stickers containing allergens will also be placed on the back (see above for information about general patch testing). The skin is evaluated for reactions several hours later and throughout the week.
On the following day, certain allergens will be exposed to ultraviolet light. The remaining appointments proceed similarly to the allergy patch testing.
Once testing is complete, the patient receives extensive counseling about sensitivities, allergens to avoid, and how to best care for his or her skin.