Dermatologist: Clear Skin Solutions

Understanding Skin Prick Testing

A skin prick test is done to find out what you are allergic to. It is important to have skin prick testing performed because some allergic reactions can lead to death, meaning that if you know what you are allergic to you can avoid it and, therefore, save your life. Here's what you need to know about skin prick testing.

Important Note

Skin prick testing should be done by a qualified and licensed dermatologist. Allergic reactions can lead to death, so you want to be under the safe care of a qualified and licensed specialist when such a test is being performed. He or she can avoid and treat severe reactions.

What to Expect When You Visit Your Dermatologist?

You might first have a question-and-answer session with your dermatologist to discuss your medical history, your concerns, what you think you are allergic to, etc. After the dermatologist is satisfied with your answers, he or she performs a kind of "control test" to see whether you are a good candidate for skin prick testing.

What is being a good candidate for skin prick testing? It simply means that if a skin prick test is performed on you, it will give reliable feedback.

Your dermatologist finds an area on your arm or back, cleans it and makes two markings. One mark represents histamine and the second glycerine or saline. He or she then places a drop of each next to its mark and scratches your skin for them to penetrate.

Why These Two Compounds?

Histamine tests whether your skin is reactive. If your skin reacts, the dermatologist gets to know that you are a good candidate for skin prick testing. If your skin does not react, you might not be a good candidate.

Glycerine or saline tests for sensitivity. If you react to it, your skin might be too sensitive to produce reliable results; hence, you might not be a good candidate for skin prick testing.

Skin Prick Testing

If you are found to be a good candidate for skin prick testing, your dermatologist will follow the same method he or she used with the control test. Different markings are made on your arm or back representing different types of allergens. The allergens are then placed next to the mark that denotes them and your skin scratched to let them penetrate. Your dermatologist then waits for a reaction to find out which allergens you are allergic to.

Reactions may include reddening of your skin, a small rash, small swelling, itchiness, etc. Your dermatologist will have told you what negative symptoms to look out for and to alert him or her to treat them immediately. That is why it is always safe to choose a licensed dermatologist to carry out skin prick testing.

To learn more, contact a resource like Darwin Dermatology.