Dermatographia is a skin condition in which minor scratches on the surface of the skin turn into reddened, swollen welts which last for a certain period of time. This skin disorder is suffered by approximately five percent of the population worldwide. Despite being a disorder, this skin abnormality has been used as a part of art graffiti by some dermatographia-suffering artists. In most cases, welts resembling a form of hives which occur with dermatographia last for 30 minutes before it gets down to the skin’s normal appearance.
Is dermatographia dangerous?
The major effect of dermatographia lies on the appearance of the skin surface after it is scratched. Some hive-like welts which are in fact, raised bumps are formed on the surface of the skin directly after it is scratched, pressed against certain surfaces, and rubbed excessively on irritating surfaces. Despite the disturbing looks it may cause, dermatographia does not have harmful effects on the patient’s entire health condition. Many people suffering from this may experience itching and tingling sensation during the outbreaks, which commonly subsides gradually and vanishes completely when the welts go down.
Who suffers from dermatographia?
Dermatographia is suffered by children and adults, although it is more popular with teenagers and young adults. Some people might be more prone to the skin problem than the others. Among those who are susceptible to having raised bumps on the skin after scratching are:
- People with over-dry skin.
- People with other kinds of skin disorders.
- People with family history of dermatographia and other chronic skin diseases.
The listed people categories commonly possess a higher risk of suffering from dermatographia, although this skin disorder might be arbitrary and thus, affect any people with any genders and age spans.
Causes of dermatographia
The exact cause of dermatographia remains unknown. This is based on the facts that different people may react to different factors. However, allergic responses is known as the culprit of the occurrence of on-skin welts occurring after scratches. With variety of people, these allergic responses also vary. Despite this, oversensitive skin is also said to be a culprit for the occurrence of dermatographia within individuals. With this oversensitive skin, scratches, pressures, and rubs against the skin will cause the skin cells to release histamines. Excessive level of histamine will trigger inflammation of capillaries—small blood vessels under the skin, causing red lines to streak on the skin surface. This raised bumps commonly stay for approximately 30 minutes before it eventually goes down, giving the skin surface its normal look. Aside from this factor, there are some other risk factors which trigger dermatographia, which include:
- Rubbing and scratching, including skin rubbing against clothes and bed sheet.
- Exposure to extreme heat or cold, and sunlight. With some individuals, this will be able to cause not only dermatographia-induced red lines, but also severe itching and burning.
- Mental and physical stress, including job strains, financial worries, and even sex problems. These may not only cause dermatographia, but also other kinds of skin disorders, such as rosacea, eczema, and dermatitis. People with these skin disorders, in addition, are more susceptible to skin bumps.
- Hereditary factors. Similar to other skin disorders, family history plays a significant role in determining someone’s susceptibility to dermatographia.
- Hormonal changes. Dermatographia might affect people with any age span. However, teenagers and young adults are more susceptible. This is due to hormonal boosts and growth spurts which fluctuate during puberty. Some dermatographia patients have never experience this skin disorder during childhood, yet develop the scratch skin bumps during puberty. This, thus, continue to their adulthood. Many people experience more severe effects of dermatographia once it breaks out, although some of them report these effects subside in their 40s or 50s.
- History of allergies. Various kinds of allergies may trigger the occurrence of red skin bumps with scratches. The most common allergies to trigger dermatographia include allergic asthma, allergic cold and cough, and allergies to pollen. When it is triggered by allergies, itching and burning sensation might be more severe and thus, the bumps and welts might stay longer than usual. Other symptoms may also follow as regular reactions to the allergies.