History of Skin Testing

Skin testing is a very old technique. The knowledge of allergy itself goes back to ancient times, when the ancient Egyptians knew that some people became sick when exposed to harmless substances, and that the reaction was repeatable if they were exposed again.

In 1873 Charles Blackley performed the first modern allergy tests by applying pollen to a scratched skin surface and observing a rash form. The first intradermal tests were conducted by Mantoux in 1908 during his studies into tuberculosis. This technique became the foundation of modern intradermal allergy testing. Skin prick tests were developed in the 1920’s by Lewis and Grant.

Today we use standardised devices and standardised doses of different substances in a much more controlled and systematic way, but using the same principles as the originators.