Dermatographism is a little known skin ailment that many people have, but do not know what it is. In fact, many family physicians, and some skin doctors or dermatologists are not even aware of this condition.
What is dermatographism? This condition is known by many names. It is also called dermographism, dermatagraphism, or skin writing disease. Whatever term you use, it is essentially a form of urticaria or more specially pressure urticaria.
Individuals with this condition experience very characteristic symptoms. When the skin is stroked with pressure, even light pressure, then red hives or raised welts develop in the area that the skin was touched. In fact, not only do these hives or welts form on the skin, but they form in the shape of the applied pressure. The affected skin also becomes very itchy. For example, if you write your name on your skin with a dull object, the name will appear as red raised skin. This is why many people call it the skin writing disease. Usually the hives or welts disappear within 30 minutes and the skin goes back to its normal appearance. A doctor usually follows the procedure outlined in the example above to diagnose the skin problem. If raised welts form with applied pressure to the skin from a blunt object such as a tongue depressor, then you are diagnosed as having dermographism.
This condition is very frustrating for sufferers of this skin problem. Even a light touching of the face can produce very disfiguring and noticeable marks that can be quite embarrassing. In addition, many people experience unbearable itching that often leads to excessive scratching and the breaking of skin. Fortunately, dermatographism is more of a nuisance than a serious health or skin problem.
The cause of dermatographism is unknown. It is likely a result of the many allergens that people are exposed to daily acting on the body or because of some sort of allergic event such as a food allergy attack, a reaction to an insect bite, etc.
The treatment involves finding the right dosage and type of antihistamine in order to suppress the itching and the hives that develop. For many people, prescribed antihistamines will help control the problem. However, antihistamines are not a cure for this skin problem. In fact, currently there is no known cure or remedy. Suffers will need to stay on antihistamines for many years to avoid experiencing the symptoms. In some people, the dermographism suddenly disappears. However, for most, it is a battle of several years in length.
Many suffers are not thrilled about being on prescribed antihistamines for many years. There are alternatives such as natural antihistamines, which include vitamin C, butterbur, and many others. Noni juice has also been tried as a remedy.