Contact allergic dermatitis remains a significant public health problem. Its diagnosis and prevention are complicated by the difficulty of identifying allergens responsible for a patient’s condition (i.e., those that have actually caused the allergic contact dermatitis). This article and a future follow-up article will provide an operational definition of causative allergens by discussing the challenges and the criteria, respectively.
Although predictive tests can identify potential allergens, it is only through a multi-step clinical correlation with current contact dermatitis that truly causative allergens can be identified. This is, however, not a simple matter for the reasons described here.