Dermatographia – Of Enjoying Artistic Expressions out of Disease

Dermatographia – Of Enjoying Artistic Expressions out of Disease

Sheikh Umar Ahmad


Dermatographia, simply a skin writing is a condition in which person affected can draw inscriptions of different nature on his skin. This is actually an infectious disease but acts more as a fun giving than causing pain as diseases generally impose. When people who have dermatographia lightly scratch their skin, the scratches redden into a raised weal similar to hives. These marks usually disappear within 30 minutes. The cause of dermatographia is unknown, but it can be triggered in some people by infections, emotional upset or medications such as penicillin.

Most people who have dermatographia don’t seek treatment. They consider it merely as allergic reaction caused in response to external exposure. If anyone consults doctor and he finds that the signs and symptoms are especially bothersome, he may recommend allergic medications. Signs and symptoms of dermatographia may include raised red line, swelling, inflammation, hive-like welts & itching. The signs and symptoms may occur within a few minutes of your skin being rubbed or scratched and usually disappear within 30 minutes. Rarely, dermatographia develops more slowly and lasts several hours to several days. The condition itself can last for months or years. Dermatographia can occur at any age, but it tends to be more common in teenagers and young adults. If you have other skin conditions, such as dry skin or dermatitis, you may be more susceptible to dermatographia. Any skin condition that causes a frequent urge to scratch may increase your risk. Your doctor can diagnose dermatographia with a simple test. He or she will draw a tongue depressor across the skin of your arm or back to see if a red, swollen line or a welt (wheal) appears within a few minutes.

Symptoms of dermatographia usually go away on their own, and treatment for dermatographia generally isn’t necessary. However, if the condition is severe or bothersome, your doctor may recommend antihistamine medications. To reduce discomfort and prevent the symptoms of dermatographia, Avoid irritating your skin & refrain from using harsh soaps on your skin. Don’t wear clothing made of itchy material, such as wool. Hot showers or baths may worsen the symptoms. Don’t scratch your skin, If you have dermatographia or other skin conditions that may cause frequent itching, try to avoid scratching your skin, scratching will aggravate the condition. Keep your skin moisturized by using lotions and creams after bathing, dry skin tends to make skin itchy. As such dermatographia is not a disease which needs immediate medical attention or needs any medical attention at all, even ordinary precautions can turn the skin normal.

Some persons who have dermatographia, consider it as natural in them and they display various artistic works on their skin to please people, but the case is not always like that. If not soo dangerous, dermatographia is an allergic reaction against infections that potentiates if a person is suffering from other skin ailments. In association with other skin diseases, dermatographia impedes the skin disorders and aggravates potential implications they impose on skin structure and function. One needs to take care of his skin and prevent the development of acute skin infectious diseases. If the condition is not so severe and there is no further advancement of infection. Person can enjoy the writing on his skin and display his pseudo-talent that is not natural to a person but natural in it’s cause.

Author is Gold Medalist in Biotechnology from BGSB University Rajouri (J&K), currently working as DST INSPIRE Fellow at CSIR IIIM Jammu (J&K).

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