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Dermographism has very characteristic symptoms. A stronger touch, even of the other person, leaves a clear mark on the skin. Additionally, severe itching makes dermographism an extremely unpleasant disease. What are the causes of allergic urticaria and how to treat dermographism?


  1. Dermographism: what is it?
  2. Dermographism: causes
  3. Dermographism: types
  4. Dermographism: treatment

Dermographismis a word that can be translated as "writing on the skin". Indeed, patients with this type of urticaria can - for example, by sliding a nail or a pen tip over the skin - make any patterns, inscriptions and drawings on their hands or feet.

That's what she did, among others. Ariana Russell from New York - an artist who made art out of her illness. On the blog, he places photos of various parts of his body "decorated" with dermographic patterns.

Dermographism: what is it?

Dermographism (dermographic urticaria) is an allergic reaction to scratching, rubbing or pressing the skin. A few seconds after the stimulus is activated, redness and blisters appear on the body, and - as a consequence of scratching - swelling.

These symptoms occur exactly at the site of irritation - sometimes people suffering from dermographism make fun of the disease and press, for example, various objects against the forearm, resulting in a convex shape on the skin after a while.

The urticaria disappears after a few minutes, at most after several or several hours, but during this time it can bother the patient with persistent itching and sometimes burning.

Dermographism: causes

Induced physical urticaria, or dermographism, is one of the most common types of urticaria caused by a mechanical factor. Even 5% of the population suffers from it, and the sick are both children and adults, mostly women. Interestingly, the basis for the first episode of dermographism can be found in a psychological shock, e.g. in a traumatic experience of a patient. Cardiac neurosis can also cause urticarial symptoms.

Dermographism: types

Depending on the symptoms, dermographic urticaria can be divided into:

  • red dermographism- occurs as a resultwidening of the blood vessels making them more permeable thereby; the serum passes from the vessels to the intercellular space of the dermis, thus forming hives
  • white dermographism- very often accompanies atopic dermatitis; characteristic white streaks appear after rubbing the epidermis; in turn this reaction is triggered by the spasm of the blood vessels
  • yellow dermographism- skin changes are yellow; it could be a harbinger of jaundice

Dermographism: treatment

Living with dermographism is not easy, especially in summer, when most of our body is exposed and thus exposed to contact with various stimuli. Any pressure or scratching causes unsightly and unpleasant changes in the skin due to itching. Sometimes the patient's body is so sensitive that even a simple touch of another person - shaking hands or hugging - can cause an allergic reaction.

Therefore, for some patients, playing with a child or having sexual intercourse is simply impossible. That is why it is so important to treat dermographism, which mainly consists of antihistamines (desloratadine, fexofenadine, levocetirizine), glucocorticosteroids, and mast cell stabilizing drugs (they release histamine in the process of inflammation). It may last even several months, but it is usually effective.

A person affected by dermographism should additionally avoid woolen, irritating clothes, try to stay in relatively cool rooms. A temporary relief is provided by the use of delicate creams containing menthol.

Another way to get physical urticaria is psychotherapy. Taming a trauma from the past can give really good results, and even regress unpleasant symptoms.

Good to know: Dermographism and tattoo

Can a person with dermographism get a tattoo? If the disease is severe, definitely not. This could lead to an increase in the allergic reaction.

Sometimes people with dermographism decide to take a chance and aside from the fact that the tattoo heals longer than usual, nothing else happens. It also happens that the skin swells during tattooing and it is impossible to finish the drawing with the appropriate precision.

The best solution in this matter - apart from giving up a tattoo - is to implement an antiallergic treatment. After some time, in an inconspicuous place, you can try to get a small tattoo and watch the skin react.

Also read

Allergy diagnosis: tests and research on the trailallergen

Skin allergy: symptoms of skin allergy, factors causing skin allergy

Contact dermatitis - causes. What causes contact eczema?

Symptoms of skin allergy. Urticaria, eczema, atopic dermatitis are symptoms of skin allergy

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