Contact Dermatitis and Occupational Dermatology Unit


Expert attention to skin inflammation and rashes

Skin issues can feel confusing: One day, it’s perfectly healthy, and the next you’re plagued by itching, redness, rash, or swelling. You may have dry skin that just won’t go away and actually is getting worse and worse. You may have extremely sensitive skin and feel that you are irritated by numerous skin care products.

The skilled clinicians at Tufts Medical Center’s Contact Dermatitis and Occupational Dermatology Unit can try to solve the mystery of your skin inflammation. We rely on a variety of diagnostic tests to identify the source of the problem, particularly patch testing, the gold standard for identifying allergens in patients with chronic contact dermatitis. 

Over the course of three visits, our team applies small patches of potential allergens to the skin, then removes them and evaluates your skin reaction. Depending on your individual case, we may recommend additional tests, such as a skin biopsy or culture to rule out other possible causes of skin inflammation.

Helping patients achieve healthy skin

When it comes to resolving skin inflammation, diagnosis is only part of the puzzle. Whether you have allergic or irritant contact dermatitis, occupational dermatitis, chronic urticaria (hives), eczema or another form of skin inflammation or dermatitis, you want to know what you can do to get relief.

At the Contact Dermatitis and Occupational Dermatology Unit, we believe that the best treatment is often prevention. That’s why we take the time to educate you about the root of your problem. 

Once we’ve identified your personal triggers, our doctors will explain how your reactions to chemicals tested (your allergens) relate to your rash and give you strategies to avoid proven allergens. Our nurse or medical assistant will review your allergens with you, so you know exactly what to avoid. And we provide you with a computerized database that has a list of suitable substitutes. For some cases when no allergens are found on testing, we may recommend topical or oral medications or ultraviolet phototherapy to treat symptoms.

Leaders in our field

Optimal care depends on exceptional clinicians. The Contact Dermatitis and Occupational Dermatology Unit is led by nationally recognized experts in contact and occupational dermatology.

Our physicians have years of experience diagnosing and treating the most complex cases of contact dermatitis and have patch tested thousands of patients. Our nurse, who has many years of clinical experience, is calm, capable and reassuring. She and our doctors are available to answer any questions which may arise after your visit. 

As one of just a few academic medical centers in the area that offer patch testing, our program is a top choice for patients who want to get to the bottom of skin inflammation. We are also at the forefront of research into the causes and treatment of contact dermatitis.

Helpful Downloads

To help our patients prepare for their appointments, we've provided the below helpful downloads: 

Download PDF document.

Patch-Testing Intake Form for Referring Physicians

Download PDF document. Patch-Test Patient Questionnaire

Download PDF document.Pre-Patch Test Counseling

To submit the forms to our Department, please fill out the form, print it off and mail it, fax it to 617-636-8316 or scan it in and send it to

Doctors + Care Team

What is Contact Dermatitis?

Our team explains contact dermatitis causes, symptoms, effects and treatment options.

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