Signs of dermatographism (dermatographic urticaria) develop soon after skin irritation and typically subside within 30 minutes. Symptoms occur after skin scratching or pressure and include:
- Raised, red marks on the skin
While each skin reaction ends relatively quickly, patients can experience these symptoms for months or even years. It is neither contagious nor life-threatening.
The reaction is thought to be the result of histamine release from mast cells within the skin.
Researchers have not uncovered what specifically causes dermatographism, but they do recognize a number of symptom triggers. These include:
- Hot or cold weather
- Tight clothing
- Medications, including penicillin
- Warm water or steam
Diagnosis & Treatment Options
The allergists at Southern Nevada Allergy can diagnose this condition through a consultation on medical history/symptoms and a quick skin test in which a tongue depressor or other object is rubbed on your skin.
Many patients do not find dermatographia enough of an inconvenience to require treatment. However, over-the-counter antihistamines can help prevent or treat especially bothersome symptoms.
Approximately 5% of people have this condition, and it’s most common in older children and younger adults.
Dermatographism, also known as dermagraphism, translates as “writing on the skin” in Greek.