The Contact Dermatitis Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital was made possible by a generous patient donation to the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation in 2016. This unique clinic provides clinical assessments and extensive, comprehensive cutaneous patch testing for the evaluation of allergic contact dermatitis of the skin, including occupational dermatitis. This clinic provides essential education in the area of contact dermatitis to UBC residents, medical students and elective students.
Contact dermatitis refers to inflammation of the skin caused by a substance that comes into direct contact with the skin. Irritation can cause immediate inflammation of the skin resulting in redness, itchiness or a burning sensation. An allergic contact reaction to a substance causes a delayed immune system reaction with similar symptoms. Allergic contact dermatitis is less common than irritant contact dermatitis.
Patch testing is a specialized form of testing in dermatology that evaluates if substances that come into direct contact with the skin may cause a delayed allergic reaction. This is different from allergy testing provided by an allergist that evaluates which inhaled or ingested substances may cause an immediate allergic reaction such as hives, swelling or anaphylaxis.