Ariana Page Russell is an artist, artist coach, and the founder of the Skintome movement. She has taken her skin condition dermatographia and used it as a means of inspiration, connectivity, and purpose. Dermatographia is a condition that hyper-sensitizes the skin to touch, stress, diet, and chemicals. Something that in the eyes of many may be deemed as a weakness she has turned into a source of power to live her life with a heightened sense of consciousness and expression. She now helps others develop as artists and find strength and inspiration in their ‘weaknesses.’
From highly acclaimed art exhibits and awareness campaigns, to being the voice for dermatographia, Ariana has tapped into a world that has people all over the globe shedding their individual shame and uniting in the many differences that make them unique. This movement has gone far beyond being a uniting force for those affected by dermatographia-Ariana has ignited a call for freedom in the way we think, eat, live, create, relate to and express ourselves.
Ariana has exhibited internationally and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Recent exhibitions include the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin; Magnan Metz in New York City; Platform Gallery in Seattle; Town Hall Gallery in Australia; the Luminato Festival in Toronto, Canada; Adelphi University in New York; and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Bolivia. Her work has appeared in Art in America, the Huffington Post, Wired, The Atlantic, VISION Magazine: China, and the monograph ‘Dressing’ published by Decode Books. She was featured on ABC News 20/20 and was a recent participant in the Sexto Encuentro Mundial de Arte Corporal in Caracas, Venezuela. She received her MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2005.
“Ariana is amazing and a true artistic visionary. She has navigated the process of fear of expression and self actualization so gracefully on a path that has led her to become an internationally acclaimed fine artist recognized by galleries and media outlets all over the world. What’s even cooler is Ariana works with other artists, and anyone creative really, in helping them navigate this path of authentic expression, holistic approaches to the creative process, cultivating consistency, and getting your work out into the world. This is really powerful work, especially for us entrepreneurs riding the line between creative and consistent and finding that right balance, becoming comfortable being vulnerable, and trusting the process.”
Alisha Golden, entrepreneur
Dermatographia is a condition also known as skin writing. When people who have dermatographia lightly scratch their skin, the scratches redden into raised welts, or hives.
If rubbed the wrong way while out at a social gathering it could potentially be very embarrassing.
As I became more and more aware of what dermatographia was, instead of hiding from it, I started to embrace these skin flare-ups, even going so far as to create them for the purposes of my art, and spreading awareness to those who may have dermatographia and not know what it is.
The Skintome community is about the depth, what’s going on under the skin that makes us do what we do and be who we are. It’s our experiences, ideas, and actions that make up our stories.
We embody our experiences, ideas, and actions—they live in our bodies. Therefore, your body is your biography. And your skin is the binding of that book. It’s all about expression, creating your story and telling it.
The community is a virtual and physical gathering of people, relating together on each one’s own journey of expression and embodiment, independence and community, beauty and transformation.
Our bodies carry the stories of our life experience. It is our book, and our skin is the cover, revealing what’s contained inside. How we have laughed, loved, healed and grown through the lines, the moles, the blemishes and scars. Each has its own unique chapter in the story of our life. Our bodies have their own language and it speaks through skin. What’s your Skintome?
Expressing all that we are and what we are continually learning is activated by the three A’s of creation. This is the Skintome manifesto: Agency, Action, and Audience.
–Agency, to maintain a creative practice, to find space in your busy life to build a place to work (your studio) and spend time in it regularly. To trust that you are an artist and your creativity is just waiting for you to bring it forward, from the inside out.
–Action is what happens once you get yourself to the studio, it’s all about what you do in there, the Action taking place. Ideas are awesome, ideas are necessary, but if they only exist in your head then they can never become real. Get that idea out into the world—create! Taking Action brings beautiful things to life, and these things need to be seen by your …
–Audience! Your work transforms once it’s viewed, and goes on to live with the viewer. Here’s where you make a difference in people’s lives: by sharing the part of you that you’ve created and brought into existence. Be known, be seen, connect with people you’ve never even met. With your unique gifts, you create art that matters.
Welcome, and thanks for looking! If you are using this website (www.skintome.com), please be respectful when posting comments, and do not copy content unless you have permission and are siting the source. Skintome reserves the right to remove any comments that are deemed negative and/or malicious. All material on this website copyright Skintome and Ariana Page Russell. Skintome is meant as a general guideline for health and inspiration. Please consult a physician or health practitioner before making adjustments to your diet/exercise program. You assume the risk and responsibility for any results gained through input from Skintome.
And have a great day!
I had no idea this condition even existed! It amazes me, in life there are two directions I witness: negative and positive, your outlook is so positive it is purely refreshing. I stumbled upon this looking for skin conditions as assignment. I am truly moved finding your site. Your positivity is inspiring alone, what your doing is motivational. Thank you for your outlook and up beatness! I hope you keep up this work, there should be more positivity in this world. Your unique, like this condition, and its beauty is inconceivable. AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING, THANK YOU!
Hi Rachel, thank YOU so much for your kind and supportive words! I definitely choose a positive view when it comes to most things ;’) Welcome to SkinTome, and good luck with your assignment. Let me know if I can help at all!
My biggest challenge having this skin condition is I have a very severe case according to my dermatologist. He stated I have 9X the normal amount of histamine. I’m glad you have turned yourself to a positive example. Thanks for your courage. People make it difficult because they think I’m hurt and often point at it or want to aid me in some way. It gets old telling them I’m okay over and over again. No I didn’t get mulled by a tiger. Lol
Thanks Mindy! And yeah, it does get old having to explain what’s going on over and over again 🙂
I try really hard to avoid touching/scratching my face and it definitely helps!
Have you tried the elimination diet or something like that? Maybe you can lessen your histamine like I did with diet and exercise…
Let us know how it goes if you discover anything!
Thank you so much for doing this site. There are a lot of interesting topics and posts about our skin condition. 🙂
Thanks for the note! Welcome to SkinTome ;’)
Oh my goodness!! Ive lived with this my whole life and never knew what was wrong or what to tell people was wrong. When i was younger my parents had to have a note from the dr to the school so they wouldnt think i was getting beaten at home. I had welts all the time my skin has been so sensitive!! I dont draw on.myself to purposefully see it but im glad i know there are many others who welt as easy as me!!
Thanks for the note! Welcome to the community ;^)
I am so glad there’s someone else out that has the same condition. Mine started showing up in my late teens and got progressively worse as time went on. Some days I don’t even want to put clothes on and leave the house. But it’s so encouraging to find someone that took the bad and turned it into something positive. Thank you!
Hi Delicia! Thank YOU for writing in! Have you tried the suggestions I write about here? There’s lots of suggestions from Skintome readers too :^) Good luck and let us know how it goes!
When I actually figured out what was going with my body, I did a lot of research about it and it led me to your site! I have tried to go organic with as much of my food as possible (it can get super hard to find that stuff in my town) and started going to all sensitive body products. I NEVER go a day without lotion anymore and I stopped using soap when I was (as gross as it sounds). Those changes helped a bit, but I still get flairs at least once a month. I actually planned on starting an elimination diet for the month of May to see how it helps!
I think I have it… I dunno because sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn’t. My mom and grandma are the same way, but the allergist says I have it . It’s partially because I get a red, swollen bump for shots, even if they just have water or saline ( they tried). I want to know for sure because I get a reaction more often than not when I draw on my skin. Anyways, I love that you’ve taken a positive outlook and used this to your advantage.
Thanks Molly! Sounds like you might have a mild form of dermatographia. The severity differs for all of us… You are one of the lucky ones :^)
hi, I’m in my teens and I just discovered this blog. I’m still unsure as to if my condition is dermatographia or allergies. I get what seems like hives on the backs of my thighs, blotchy spots on my face, and raised welts on my sides and arms, all when I itch them.it causes mild pain, but i cant help scratching. a lot of this information points to me having this condition. help?
When you lightly scratch your arm (just one time), does a welt appear? If so, my guess is that you do have dermatographia. Also, I suggest you see a dermatologist and she what s/he says about it.
Good luck! I hope you get some answers.
I like many of your other readers didn’t realize how many other people are out there…like us. I have the wonderful distinction of having 3 different skin disorders, Eczema (since I was 6 months old), Psoriasis (since I was 6 months old) and a few years ago a new Dr finally told me why my skin was so hypersensitive to EVERYTHING! Try to explain why you can’t stay in hotels (detergent). I love how positive you can be about your skin. I have major issues with my different medications interacting with one another. I’ve tried diets and I’ve tried many things. Everyone tells me (because I’m fairly high strung) that I should exercise, try explaining that when you do the rashes that happen in your pits are unbearable. I hate to be a jerk but is it unfair of me to say I don’t want to ever be pregnant? The chances of any of my 3 conditions getting worse is very likely, and the meds that I use (very, very infrequently. I hate that my skin thins from steroids) aren’t okay to use when pregnant. Does anyone have any advice?
Hi Marjie! Thanks for writing. It sounds to me like you could really benefit from doing the elimination diet (see my post about it here: http://skintome.com/how-doing-an-elimination-diet-can-help-heal-your-dermatographia/), especially since you’re having a hard time pinpointing triggers.
Also, have you tried yoga? If you do a mellow class with air conditioning, hopefully you won’t sweat too much–then you get relaxing exercise to help stress without the sweating. Let us know how it goes!
My daughter 5 years old was recently diagnosed with dermatographia. First it started end of july and it looked like heat rash. With time ( now is October) progressed to dermatographia. She is on reactine every other or third day. When the antihistamines stops working then she is itchy and irritable, I feel for her so much 🙁 tomorrow we are going to a naturopathic doctor and we will see if he can help her …
How did it go with the doctor? I’m curious to know what he said! She’s so young, poor girl 🙁
I feel for all of you and each of your individual experiences…sincerely.
My loved one is suffering from dermatographia. This is the second occurrence and has returned with a vengence! I appreciate all your suggestions. I feel so sad when I am unable to help relieve the hives, itching, and pain. Sometimes after medicines, cremes, diet…it seems like an unpleasant waiting game.
God bless you all. God bless you, Ariana.
Thank you so much Grace! To be clear, personally I do not ‘suffer’ from dermatographia. It can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but I have learned to make the best of it. I’ve found that having a positive attitude, along with optimistic language in regards to dermatographia, helps a ton. Everyone’s experience is different though, and I also feel for those of us who are in pain.
I would like to share my experience and how I got rid of it.
3 years ago I had dermatographia, i did not mind writing on my skin, but itching was unbearable. I had attack almost every hour during the day and at night it got worst, I never slept whole night for many months, forgot to mention that taking shower was my worst part of the day. I never took any medication.
Before I had healthy lifestyle and was eating healthy.
I had to wear only cotton clothes, wash everything in natural soap, organic shampoo, a lots of coconut oil.
I cleaned my liver with herbs, did juice fasting for 10 days, was eating only fruit, vegetable, rice, seeds and nuts, tried many herbal supplements,vitamins etc.I tried a lots of healthy things, I am vegetarian for many years and I also eliminated from my diet all gluten, dairy products, sugar, eggs., I was desperate to get healthy and after 8 months it was gone.
Last year I had few itchy attacks maybe for a week and after a lots of research I wanted to try water fasting. After 3 days itch was gone, but I was fasting another 6 days.
3 weeks ago I got very itchy skin again and seams worse than before, it itches every hour also at nights and it does itches on my face also. I did fast for 5 days, but it did not help. I couldn’t do it any longer because I was on vacation in Italy and ate too much bread and pizza,so I am thinking that I am gluten intolerant, usually I eat 1-2 small pieces a bread a week. I do not eat gluten for 3 weeks, but still have itches. I am planning to water fast , because it seams like the fastest way to rid of it than I let you know if it helped. I can’t imagine to live with itchy skin like this any longer.
Wow thanks Monika–your story is fascinating! Have you tried speaking with a naturopath about this? I wonder if fasting so much is hard on your system, so it reacts strongly when you reintroduce certain foods…. Very curious. Let us know how it goes as you keep trying new things.
Water fasting works!!!
On third day of fasting my symptoms were much better no itching all night. After 7 days no itching at all!!! I am very happy about it and feel great! I know I am not healed completely, after scratching my skin I still get light red lines, but they are not swollen. I will be now on extremely healthy diet for some time. Water fasting is not easy, but it helped many people with all kinds of health issues, diseases and even reverse cancer. Fastiing did never hurt anybody. There are many books and websites how to do it right.
If you think you can’t fast I would recommend Gerson’s therapy. My friend did it and had great results.
Do not put your health in hands of other people and doctors, only you know your body the best, do your research and try few natural things. Cheers! And I wish everyone to get well soon! Thank you Arriana for this web it helped me also!
I’m only 16 and ever since 2nd grade I’ve known about my “special skin” and doctors never were able to tell me what I had. It wasn’t until today that I found out that other people have it too! At school, my friends jokingly flick me and my skin gets red and puffy. I would always tell them I have sensitive skin. It always helped me in sports too because when other players scratch me in water polo, I have evidence for awhile haha. Thanks for this website!
Hi Chandler! Thanks for the note :+) Welcome to Skintome!