Identifying the cause and type of dermatitis is crucial. Mayo Clinic specialists start by examining your skin and listening as you describe your symptoms. In many cases this exam is enough to determine if you have dermatitis.
If your dermatitis results from skin contact with certain substances (contact dermatitis), Mayo Clinic specialists may order patch testing to find the cause. Aluminum disks containing small amounts of substances found in the environment (allergens) are applied to your back. The disks are removed after 48 hours, and your skin is examined for allergic reactions.
If you have an allergic reaction, Mayo Clinic specialists can identify products containing the allergen that you need to avoid. It may take more time to find the specific cause of your dermatitis because other factors may be involved. At Mayo, specialists take time to work with you to find the best way to manage your dermatitis.
If your skin doesn't react to patch testing, Mayo Clinic specialists work with you to find other causes for your dermatitis. Your doctor may need to remove a small sample of skin to examine under a microscope (skin biopsy). Mayo Clinic specialists have the resources and expertise to find the cause of your dermatitis quickly and efficiently.