WHAT IS DERMATOGRAPHIA?
Dermatographia is a condition also known as skin writing. When people who have dermatographia lightly scratch their skin, the scratches redden into raised welts similar to hives. It affects about 5% of the world population, every age, race, and class.
There is no cure, but with some experimentation you can learn what your triggers are–what causes your skin to become extra sensitive–and then avoid those triggers to find relief. Some people choose to take antihistamines for their condition, but I believe with patience and perseverance we can treat our dermatographia naturally, without antihistamines taxing our system. Check out the posts below for more information about dermatographia, including tips to ease the itch, how to do an elimination diet to help heal dermatographia, and whether or not dermatographs can get tattooed (yes, we can :-). Click here and you’ll see even more posts where I feature other skin writers and their art. There’s lots of information and inspiration to be found… Be sure to read the comments too for more helpful tips!
To find out if you are one of the 5% who has dermatographia, lightly scratch your arm with your fingernail. If a welt shows up in about 5 minutes or so, congratulations, you’re a skin writer!
PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND TO HELP EASE THE ITCH:
I often get asked which products I use to help keep the itch away. If you’re looking for recommendations, here are a few things that are good for those of us with sensitive skin:
Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castille soap is great if you’re looking for a liquid soap. This works well for hand washing and in the shower. You can buy the large bottles and refill these foaming soap containers for an economical and low waste option.
If you’re looking for a bar soap, it also comes in bar form. Personally I prefer bar soap in the shower and liquid soap for the sink. Dr. Bronner’s also makes scented soaps that aren’t too overwhelming. I’m fond of the lavender and eucalyptus myself. They smell amazing!
As for laundry detergent, All makes one that is good for sensitive skin and works great. If you’re looking for an all natural detergent, Rockin Green makes one that also works well. It is in powder form though. If you have a liquid natural one you like, please let me know!
If you’re looking for a stain remover, try this one by Puracy. It contains enzymes that help lift stains. I think it does a great job getting clothes clean, and it’s not full of chemicals!
Please don’t use dryer sheets! They’re toxic and just make extra garbage. You really don’t need them if you use something like these wool laundry balls when drying clothes. These last for a really long time–you just keep them in the dryer and use them with every load. Bonus: they help your clothes dry faster to save on energy use!
Note, some of these items may seem more expensive than what you’re used to, but a little goes a long way so you actually end up spending less over time! And they’re all really good quality so you’re putting some of the best stuff on your skin 🙂
My favorite moisturizers are sweet almond oil and coconut oil. Sweet almond oil is already in a liquid state so is super easy to use–I use it to wash my face and in the shower I use it like soap to wash my body. Regular coconut oil is awesome, I love the Dr. Bronner’s kind. Liquid coconut oil is easier to use in the shower and as moisturizer (plus the kind I recommend is organic and great to cook with). But both work well!
If you prefer lotion, All Good makes a nice one that doesn’t irritate my skin. I use it every single day to help keep the itch at bay. For extra moisture, The Fay Farm makes a great hemp salve that is very soothing to irritated skin. Shea butter is another great moisturizer that is unscented and very nonirritating. I love using shea butter on my elbows if they get rough.
I finally found a deodorant that works really well (for a natural deodorant) and smells divine! It’s Schmidt’s Lavender and Sage scented stick deodorant–definitely try it if you’re looking for something new.
To moisturize my face I use Cocokind’s chia seed oil and, because my skin is really dry, I follow that with this amazing lavender and myrrh face cream by Fatco. I also love Cocokind’s moisturizing sticks–I use the Macabeet for my lips everyday. It has a slight tint to it but not too much.
As for eye cream, I really like Annemarie Borlind’s. It’s kind of heavy though so if you’re looking for something lighter, try this one by ACURE. The ACURE eye cream also works great as a hand moisturizer. They’re a great brand!
If you have dry, rough skin like I do, try the Exfoliating Acid Potion made by Moon Juice. I know I know, it seems counter intuitive to put something containing acid on sensitive skin but trust me, this stuff is magic! My skin has never felt so soft. Use this link for $20 off your first order of $50 or more. I also love their serum. So nourishing!
The best sunblock, in my opinion, is by MyChelle, and they make a tinted one for the face too. It doesn’t leave a white residue on your skin like some zinc sunblocks, and doesn’t contain toxic chemical filters like oxybenzone. To find out more about chemicals in sunscreens, check out this article on the Environmental Working Group site.
If you use brown mascara, try this one by Pacific Beauty. They make it in black as well. I don’t use too much makeup myself, but have heard that Beauty Counter and RMS make excellent all natural options.
Ladies! Be careful with the pads and tampons you use. They’re usually made with bleached and chemically treated cotton that is terrible for your body. I recommend using a menstrual cup, which takes a little getting used to but is actually way better and easier than tampons (also much much cheaper)! If you prefer to use pads and/or tampons, please be sure to use organic ones like these from Natracare and Cora.
As for shampoo, I haven’t found one that doesn’t irritate my skin. I stopped using shampoo because I got sick of always having oily hair and a dry scalp. Everything strips all the moisture from my scalp! I use water only to wash my hair, and occasionally use an apple cider vinegar rinse. If you try the vinegar rinse just make sure you put some essential oil in with it because otherwise you’ll smell like vinegar lol.
The key to using the water only method is brushing your hair nightly with a wooden bristled brush to distribute your scalp’s natural oils. I also massage my scalp every night to keep my hair from getting greasy. Brushing and massaging help get rid of any lingering dirt from the day, and distributing your natural oils instead of stripping them away with shampoo will make your hair look amazingly shiny and bouncy! It takes a month or 3 for your scalp to adjust to not being stripped, so be patient with the process :=)
In addition to using all-natural products for your hair and skin, I think probiotics are super helpful for easing the itch. There are many different probiotics out there, but I’ve found PB8 makes a good one. And the nice thing is, they don’t need to be refrigerated. It’s an affordable option too!
If you prefer to shop somewhere besides Amazon or your local health food store, try Thrive Market. They offer most of these products for less than you can find at Amazon or Whole Foods. When you use this link you’ll get 25% off your first order! They are subscription based, but the amount you save shopping there makes it totally worth it.
My son has really sensitive skin too, so I have to use very gentle diapers on his little buns. We love the Dyper brand! They are super eco friendly and soft, and they make comfy briefs too if you need pull-ups. My son is using the briefs now because they’re just easier. Dyper has a lot of specials for new subscribers–currently you can get a free diaper bag when you subscribe to their monthly (with options to customize) delivery service. Use this link to get the special! It’s so nice to not worry about buying diapers :+)
I hope this helps! Please let me know what works for you.
Note, if you use these links to purchase the products I recommend, I may earn a small commission. It doesn’t cost anything extra for you, and by using my links you’ll help keep the Skintome community alive :=)
Thank you for your support!