Is your skin showing some eczema symptoms? If so, you need to get an appointment with a professional likely to be a skin specialist to see what your diagnosis is.
There are some common medical tests to help the skin specialist determine whether you have eczema or some other dermatological condition. In many cases, the skin specialist can simply look at the affected area and make a diagnosis based on what it looks like. “Eczema sensitive areas” are where the skin specialist will look first. These areas include the chest, skin creases, and the face. If these parts of your body are experiencing redness, itchiness, are swollen, or are extremely dry, then your skin specialist may believe that you have eczema symptoms.
There are additional ways that your skin specialist will diagnose for eczema symptoms as well. He will take a detailed history of your life to help him make his diagnosis as well. A detailed family history will also be taken to rule out allergies, asthma, or hay fever.
You will also be asked questions about your diet, allergies, lifestyle, prescription medications that you are taking, and whether or not you work or live around any chemicals or other hazardous materials at home or at work.
You should also tell the skin specialist when the skin condition first appeared, what it looked like and felt like when it began, and whether you have noticed that things like stress, sweating, dry air, etc. make it worse.
Be prepared to answer a lot of questions about your eczema symptoms when you visit your skin specialist. However, keep in mind that he is only asking so that he will get a better idea of your diagnosis and the key to your skin flare-up. It may be helpful to write down all these answers before visiting your skin specialist so that you do not forget anything.
Your skin specialist may suspect that your eczema symptoms are caused by an allergen or irritant that you have come into contact with. If so, he or she will probably ask for a blood test to see if there are any antibodies in the blood and to check the number of a variety of different cells.
If you have eczema symptoms, then your “IgE” (or eosinophilia) will be raised. Your blood may have to undergo a test called a Radioallergosorbent Test (RAST) or a Paper Radioimmunosorbent Test (PRIST). This test is completed by mixing your blood with a variety of allergens separately to try to determine whether you have an allergic reaction to them. The test determines this by the number of antibodies that the blood creates. A high number of antibodies means that you have an allergy to that specific allergen.
Your skin specialist may decide to order a test called a skin patch test. This test is usually ordered when the skin specialist suspects a specific irritant or allergen to your eczema symptoms. For this test, they simple take some of the suspected irritant, press it to your skin, and hold it there with an adhesive patch. Then he places an adhesive patch without an irritant near the same area for him to compare to. These patches are left on from one to two days and then removed at the skin specialist’s office. If the skin where the irritant was is inflamed, red, and/or itchy, then you probably have an allergy to it.
A skin lesion biopsy is sometimes ordered. This test consists of removing a small part of the skin and then viewing it under a microscope. This kind of test and the blood tests are not ordered for every suspected case of eczema, but if your eczema symptoms are very severe then they may be ordered.