Scratching the skin is a normal, reasonable reaction you will likely do when irritants trigger itching to the skin. Commonly, scratching the skin in moderate frequency and pressure will not give any disadvantages to the skin. However, some people experience skin inflammation which is visible after the skin is scratched.
Why skin gets inflamed when scratched
Dermatographia is referred to a skin condition that produces streaking lines or bumps—the inflammation after scratched. This skin health issue may affect the skin all over the body whenever it is scratched. Despite this, dermatographia is considered as harmless condition which does not require any specific medical treatments. What makes someone susceptible to this condition is not known, yet allergic reactions are researched as the culprit. Resulted inflammation on the surface of the skin which occurs with dermatographia may also be worsened by the contact between the affected areas and the triggering surfaces, such as fingernails. Inflammation which is continuously scratched might also be exposed to bacteria residing on the body skin, resulting in skin infection that can be signed by bleeding and swelling.
Symptoms of dermatographia
Dermatographia is a skin disorder which is suffered by five percent of the worldwide population. People who are susceptible to this skin problem is not only experiencing inflamed skin when the skin is scratched. Instead, this inflammation can also be triggered by continuous rubs of the skin against bed sheets or even clothes. The effects of scratching are visible on someone’s skin prone to allergies, and may occur as these enlisted symptoms:
- Red skin areas which develops after scratching. These marks can be located anywhere in the body, although the neck, thighs, and arms may be more susceptible. These redden skin can be visible in a form of tiny red dots or bigger butterfly marks on skin. Dermatographia, in addition, may also cause the occurrence of welts similar to hives on the surface of the scratched skin.
- Raised or inflamed skin on the scratched areas. If you are susceptible to dermatographia, you might not only experience reddened skin that occurs after the area is scratched, but also raised or inflamed skin on the area.
- Itching or slight burning sensation on the scratched areas. Dermatographia might cause the red, inflamed skin area to be itchy and tingling. This sensation occurs immediately after the area gets inflamed. When you are sweating, for instance, this burning and itching sensation might be more severe. You also feel the sensation of heat on or around the area where the skin is scratched or pressed.
Causes and potential victims of Dermatographia
Although the exact cause of dermatographia is not yet known, many experts believe that very dry skin condition can raise an individual’s susceptibility of this disorder. Skin inflammation caused by scratching can be trigger by some other risk factors, which include:
- Continuous pressure on the skin. This usually comes from the elastic pressure of your pants or blouses. The inflamed skin marks resulted from pressure are commonly itching and tingling, but will vanish within hours after the triggering factors are removed from the skin.
- Exposure to extreme heat or cold, which may trigger some other skin disorders and allergies. Exposure to sunlight which is hot and humid may also trigger the occurrence of this skin problem.
- Stress. Stress level which elevates significantly will raises the level of certain body hormones. This might trigger the skin to swell when scratched, as with the same action, these elevated hormones might also be activated.
- Allergies. People which have allergies tend to be more sensitive to certain kinds of substances. Their skin is also prone to rashes, itching, and redness. People who are allergic to certain triggers, therefore, tend to be more prone dermatographia simultaneously.
- Chronic dry skin and dermatitis. If the skin is too dry, the cells tend to be more fragile and susceptible to inflammation. Scratching is one of the actions which may expose the skin to inflammation. Thus, people with eczema, rosacea, and dermatitis might be more susceptible to dermatographia problems which occurs when they scratch the skin excessively.
Is it harmful for the skin to get inflamed when scratched?
In most cases, the symptoms of dermatographia vanishes within 30 minutes to several hours after the skin is scratched. Unless you are having chronic skin complications, in addition, this skin disorder should not be harmful. However, if the inflammation is severe and does not get down after a whole day, you might need to get a proper medical advice to make sure it is not something harmful for your skin and entire health.