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December 2004

Patch Testing: An Underutilized Modality

Arch Dermatol. 2004;140(12):1529-1530. doi:10.1001/archderm.140.12.1529

Patch testing to identify contact allergy is a major cornerstone of the field of dermatology. Nevertheless, most dermatologists use patch testing infrequently, and a significant minority of dermatologists do not patch test at all.1 It is therefore fair to state that this important tool is underutilized by the dermatology community in the United States.

In this issue of the ARCHIVES, Kist and colleagues2 introduce a valuable new tool that will help the practicing dermatologist to better perform quality patch testing. The Contact Allergen Replacement Database will allow dermatologists to identify skin, hair, and cosmetic products free of any combination of common cosmetic allergens. In the past, finding appropriate alternative products for patients that are free of identified allergens has been one of the more vexing aspects of contact allergy testing. The Contact Allergen Replacement Database allows easy identification of alternative products suitable for allergic patients and should make quality patch testing much easier for the busy practicing dermatologist.

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