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Contact Dermatitis & Occupational Dermatology Clinic

The Massachusetts General Hospital Contact Dermatitis & Occupational Dermatology Clinic is a referral-based specialty clinic with over 30 years of experience diagnosing and treating allergic reactions of the skin.

Dermatologists at Massachusetts General Hospital's Contact Dermatitis & Occupational Dermatology Clinic specialize in diagnosing and treating even the most difficult-to-diagnose cases of dermatitis.

Most of our patients are referred to us by their primary care physicians or dermatologists. In about 70 percent of cases, we are able to pinpoint the relevant allergen(s).

Once their assessment is complete, our patients return to their referring physician with a full report of findings and recommendations. Our patch tests are designed to ensure the physician has the answers he or she needs to proceed with treatment or, if needed, further testing.

The Clinic That Dermatologists Trust

Over the past three decades, our clinic has earned a sterling reputation among dermatologists from all over the Greater Boston area. We see roughly 40 patients for specialty testing every month referred from physicians within New England.

In addition, we offer one of the country's widest arrays of specialty patch tests, each tailored to the individual needs of the patient.

What to Expect

All patients must be referred to our clinic by a physician. We schedule visits for Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and a complete assessment requires that patients attend the clinic all three days in the same week. It is common to expect some mild itching from the test on the upper back. Restrictions include heavy lifting and vigorous physical activity. In addition, the patient should refrain from getting the back wet until the patch test series of visits is completed.

During the first visit, one of our physicians conducts a 30-minute interview with the patient. We discuss the patient's type of work and medical history to uncover possible origins of the problem so that we can tailor the patch test accordingly. We also ask the patient to bring along all of the products they use on their skin in the original packaging and review these at the initial visit. After this discussion, the individualized tests are prepared and applied to the patient’s back. This process takes an additional 30–60 minutes.

On the second visit, we remove all tests and mark the patient’s back with a marker. The following day, the patient returns to the clinic and the final reading of the test is performed. With these results, we discuss the test results in detail, providing both information about the allergens and products to avoid. We also provide a list of topical products that should be safe for the patient to use.

We also perform a second read of the patch test. The day after the first read, the patient returns for another exam. We consider this second read a crucial part of the process, as up to 30 percent of relevant information can be missed by reading the test only once, at the patch test removal.

Contact Us

Contact Dermatitis & Occupational Dermatology Clinic
Massachusetts General Hospital
50 Staniford Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114
617-726-2914

We specialize in the following conditions that result in skin inflammation:

  • Eczema that is not responsive to treatment
  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Irritant contact dermatitis

 

Every patient at our clinic undergoes a thorough examination to investigate possible sources of the skin's irritation. The primary diagnostic tool we use is patch testing, a customized skin test that determines if a patient is allergic to certain chemicals or other allergens in commonly used items or products.

The test allows for precise identification and helps us formulate a customized plan and list of products the patient can use safely. The test also can also help identify those without allergy who need to go back to their main doctor for further testing.

Over Three Decades of Excellence

The Contact Dermatitis & Occupational Dermatology Clinic was founded in 1977 under the direction of dermatologist Ernesto Gonzalez, MD. In 2006 Peter Schalock, MD, joined the clinic.

Dr. Gonzalez’s interest in allergic contact dermatitis and occupational dermatology spans three decades. He is the author of multiple scholarly publications and has lectured both nationally and internationally on contact dermatitis.

Dr. Schalock has lectured on allergic contact dermatitis nationally and is currently the chair of the Education committee and a member of the Public Affairs committee for the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Both of our physicians offer patients a full range of specialized, individually tailored patch tests.

Ongoing Research into Dermatitis

Our clinic is currently conducting dermatitis research. Our projects include an ongoing attempt to identify new allergens as well as characterizing the most common allergens found for a given body site. We have summarized our data from the last 20 years to search for links that might help us treat future patients.

We conduct weekly clinics in our offices. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Gonzalez or Dr. Schalock, please e-mail mghcontactderm@partners.org or call 617-726-2914. A physician referral is required for treatment.

Contact Us
Contact Dermatitis & Occupational Dermatology Clinic
Massachusetts General Hospital
50 Staniford Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114
617-726-2914

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is a hereditary and chronic skin disorder that causes a person’s skin to itch, turn red and flake. It mostly affects infants or very young children.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a physiological reaction that occurs after skin comes in contact with certain substances.

Dermatitis

Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin. Dermatitis actually refers to a number of skin conditions that inflame the skin.

Latex Allergy

Some children and adults have an allergy or sensitivity to latex (rubber). Reactions can be seen when products made from latex come in contact with the person's skin, mucous membranes (like the mouth, genitals, bladder or rectum), or the bloodstream (during surgery).

Other Dermatitis Conditions

The following are some of the other common dermatitis conditions: localized scratch dermatitis, nummular dermatitis, perioral dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Contact Dermatitis & Occupational Dermatology Clinic

Massachusetts General Hospital
50 Staniford Street
Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-2914
Fax: 617-726-7768

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

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