Skip to main content

Circle Health Group

Skin patch testing

Skin patch testing is a method of detecting an allergy to a substance that has come into contact with your skin. Book an appointment online today.

What is skin patch testing?

Skin patch testing is a method of detecting an allergy to a substance that has come into contact with your skin. These substances may be found at work, at home or in your leisure activities. Examples include perfume, jewellery, clothing, cosmetics, medicines, chemicals or metals. Skin patch testing only identifies the substance that affects you when it is in contact with your skin. Any dietary or inhaled allergens are not detected by a skin patch test.

Before your consultation

Please bring the following (if applicable) to your consultation:
  • Any substance you suspect may cause your skin rash 
  • A list of prescribed medication or anything bought at your pharmacy
  • Toiletries and skin care products you regularly use, including hair treatments and nail polish
If you think that a substance at your place or work is the cause, please try to bring a sample. If this is not possible, try to find out its chemical composition and concentration. If you are in contact with industrial chemicals, your company regulatory affairs or quality control department will hold chemical details.

What do the tests involve?

You are usually required to make three visits. On your first visit for consultation, the consultant dermatologist will review your skin history and ask you about your workplace and social activities before choosing appropriate substances to test. 

You will then be given an appointment to see a nurse who will then apply a number of small aluminium discs containing a small quantity of the substance to be tested, and attach the ‘patch’ to your back using hypoallergenic tape. You will be asked to keep these on your skin, usually 48hrs, until your second visit to the nurse, when they are removed and any reactions are noted. 

48 hours later, at your third visit, your back is examined by your consultant dermatologist who will discuss any reactions with you. 

The skin patch is applied to your back for practical reasons, as it is the biggest surface area of skin and the patches are more likely to stay in contact there. 

 Core test substances: 

  • Antioxidants
  • Cutting oils 
  • Epoxy resin systems
  • Antibiotics; antiseptics; anaesthetics; corticosteroids and ophthalmics
  • Perfumes, flavours
  • Plants
  • Rubber chemicals
  • Textile and leather dyes
  • Bakery allergens
  • Dental materials
  • Hairdressing substances
  • Metal compounds
  • Photoallergens
  • Plastic materials
  • Shoe allergens
  • Vehicles, emulsifiers
  • Cosmetics
  • Disinfectants
  • Industrial biocides
  • Methacrylates
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Preservatives
  • Sunscreen agents

Source: Albyn Hospital Skin Patch Test Patient and GP Leaflets

Specialists Offering Skin patch testing

Dr Roy Palmer

Consultant Dermatologist


BMI The Princess Margaret Hospital 1 more BMI Mount Alvernia Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Jibu Varghese

Consultant Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon


BMI The Winterbourne Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Moumita Chattopadhyay

Consultant Dermatologist

MBBS, Diploma in Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, MRCP (Dermatology) (UK), FRCP UK

BMI The Priory Hospital 1 more BMI The Edgbaston Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Anand Patel

Consultant Dermatologist


BMI The Park Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Sriramulu Tharakaram

Consultant Dermatologist


BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Virginia Hill

Consultant Dermatologist


BMI The Cavell Hospital 1 more BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

View profile Book online

View all

Ways to pay

credit card

Pay for yourself

Pay for yourself with our fixed price packages. This includes your pre-assessment, treatment, follow-ups and 6 months' aftercare

Find out more


Pay with health insurance

We are widely recognised by health insurers. Ask your insurer about your cover and for an insurer pre-authorisation code

Find out more

direct debit

Spread the cost

Pay for yourself with the BMI card and spread the cost over 12 months, interest-free (terms and conditions apply)

Find out more

General Enquiries