Friday, December 3, 2010

Dermographism - Year 2

Two years ago this week I was diagnosed with dermographism after months of not stop hives and itching. I had tried everything to figure out what was causing it, when in reality it was my body attacking it's self. For those of you that do not know dermographism, or skin writing, is where your body thinks it is basically allergic to everything that touches it and hives form instantly. I can literally write something on me with my fingernail and within a minute you will see hives forming that word. You dread simply things like putting on clothes or taking a shower. Brushing my hair drives me crazy, and I sometimes cry in the shower from the intense itching. When I put on jeans I end up with hives going up my thighs where they rubbed. I can take my bra off and have perfect lines of hives where it sat on my skin. Want a hug? You will see exactly where your body touched mine within minutes. There is no cure for this, antihistamines do not work, you simply learn to live with it and avoid what you can. Certain things do make it worse or better though. For me cold weather makes it nightmare, extreme heat makes it bad but livable, fall days make seem to almost go away, light pajamas make it appear almost gone, and anxiety makes it hell. Over the past two years I've learned what my triggers are, but sometimes I have no idea what is causing it. For example, last night I was almost covered completely in hives, why? Turns out it was the pressure of the blanket that I sleep with every night on my skin. Tonight, same blanket, nothing. Everyday it's different and everyday it's miserable but I'm awesome at hiding how itchy I truly am. I am in hopes that one day there will be a cure, and I pray that my kids never experience this.

What Are the Causes of Dermographism?

Dermographism, or dermatographic urticaria, is a skin condition where pressure upon the skin creates welts that resemble the way the skin is touched, appearing as if someone is writing on the skin.


  1. Dermographism is an offshoot of urticaria, or hives. Rubbing the skin even slightly will create red raised welts accompanied by itching, swelling and discomfort. The welts will form according to how the skin is rubbed, making it look as if someone has written on the body.

    The welts are usually harmless and normally disappear within two hours, but there is a possibility in rare cases that the effects will appear slowly and take hours and even days to fade from the skin.

    The condition itself can last any amount of time, from a few months to a year. In some cases dermographism never goes away.
  2. Causes

  3. Dermographism can affect any gender, race or age, but most often occurs in young adults in their 20s and 30s. The reason for its occurrence is unknown. However, there are numerous elements that can trigger a breakout including environmental factors such as temperature, sunlight and pressure, along with personal factors such as stress and emotion.

    The likelihood of developing dermographism can increase based on heredity, allergies and the presence of other itchy skin conditions.
  4. Treatment

  5. Determining the cause of one's dermographism can prove arduous due to all the potential allergens one can encounter on a daily basis and the possibility that it might not even be a physical stimulus causing the reaction. If the cause is an allergen, one can simply avoid said allergen and thus prevent further outbreaks.

    The reaction itself is the result of the immune system releasing histamine into the skin, so a doctor can prescribe antihistamines to relieve allergic reactions if they prove more severe than average the average outbreak.
  6. Prevention

  7. Besides avoiding the allergen in question, people suffering from dermographism can prevent a reaction by keeping out of the sun and avoiding anything that can irritate the skin such as certain kinds of fabric and soaps.

    Taking proper care of the skin can also help avoid a reaction. Scratching will only make the condition worse, so moisturizing can keep the skin from becoming dry and itchy.
  8. Life with dermographism

  9. Even though dermographism can last for an indefinite amount of time, the condition is mostly harmless save for the discomfort of itching and swelling. Thus, it is possible for those who suffer from dermographism to live otherwise normal, healthy lives.

Read more: What Are the Causes of Dermographism? |

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