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.
[Note, this page contains affiliate links. Although I encourage you to buy local whenever possible, if you use these links to purchase the products I recommend, I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) which helps keep the Skintome community alive. Thank you for your support! <3 ]
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, Clean People makes one that is all natural, good for sensitive skin, comes in sheets so you’re not buying plastic and it works great. If you’re looking for a powder detergent, Rockin Green makes one that also works well.
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!
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, Babo makes a nice one that doesn’t irritate my skin. I use it every single day to help keep the itch at bay, even on my young son. If you prefer something with colloidal oatmeal, try this one, also by Babo (they’re one of my very favorite brands). For extra moisture, Earth Mama makes a great salve that is very soothing to irritated skin (yes it’s technically diaper balm but it’s the best for super dry 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 Magsol Lavender deodorant–definitely try it if you’re looking for something new. Bonus, it contains magnesium so you’re getting a supplement every time you use it!
If you’re looking for a great shaving cream for sensitive skin, try Dr. Bronner’s organic shaving soap. It’s the only thing I’ve found that doesn’t irritate my legs/armpits when I shave them. I do prefer the unscented variety but they have nice scented options as well. It takes some getting used to because it’s not shaving cream (it’s kind if liquidy), but it still lathers well. I use Schick Quattro razors for sensitive skin and haven’t had any issues. Just make sure you change the razors regularly. Sharp blades are less likely to irritate.
To moisturize my face I use Cocokind’s chia seed oil and, because my skin is really dry, sometimes I follow that with this amazing lavender and myrrh face cream by Fatco. I also love Cocokind’s moisturizing stick–you can use it on lips, face, anywhere!
As for eye cream, I really like Mad Hippie a lot. I also like 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. I also love their serum and face cream. So nourishing!
I recently found an awesome toothpaste made by Hello. They also have an activated charcoal one to whiten teeth. I use the kid’s one for my son. It’s watermelon flavored, yummmm! He loves it.
The best sunblock, in my opinion, is by Babo. They make a tinted one for the face too. I also like MyChelle. The tinted one can be a bit drying, so I mostly use ACURE un-tinted sunblock for my face. They don’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 Mineral Fusion. They make it in black as well. I don’t use too much makeup myself, but do like Vapour foundation on those rare occasions I need something on my face. I’ve also heard BeautyCounter and RMS make excellent all natural options.
For those of us who menstruate, 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.
For irritated skin, like blisters and minor cuts, try some calendula salve. It also helps the itchiness of bug bites go away, as does tea tree oil.
As for shampoo, I finally found one that doesn’t irritate my skin! It’s another ACURE product, the argan and pumpkin one I find to be the most nourishing/gentle for my scalp.
I also brush my hair nightly with a wooden bristled brush to distribute my scalp’s natural oils, and massage my scalp afterwards to keep my hair from getting greasy. Brushing and massaging help get rid of any lingering dirt from the day, and distribute your natural oils.
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 that doesn’t contain any dairy. And the nice thing is, they don’t need to be refrigerated. It’s an affordable option too! If you need something beyond probiotics, like a little extra help with digestion, try Atrantil. It’s a supplement designed to help relieve bloating, abdominal discomfort and changes in bowel habits (constipation/diarrhea) by getting rid of problem bacteria in the small bowel. It’s helped me tremendously!
To help with proper elimination (if you’re not pooping at least once a day, you’re not pooping enough) I have had success with this product called Intestinal Mover from Microbe. It helps your colon work more efficiently and works really well. Start off slow because it’s powerful.
I found a really awesome bone broth collagen supplement from Paleo Valley that I think helps my skin stay supple and less sensitive. They guarantee all of their products so you can return them if they don’t work out for you.
Sleep is another thing that’s super important when you’re healing (and always really). I’ve found that in order to sleep my best, I need to wear earplugs and a sleep mask. Those two things have helped improve my sleep immensely!
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 40% off your first order! They are membership based, but the amount you save shopping there makes it totally worth it.
If you’re having a tough time dealing with your dermatographia, or anything else in life, therapy might really help. I’ve found that since COVID started and we’ve been social distancing, life feels extra stressful. I started using Better Help, an online counseling service that is absolutely amazing. I’ve only been doing it for 1 month and already feel so much better! They have webinars, weekly online therapy sessions, worksheets to help you process emotions/events, and a bunch of other helpful resources. If you feel like you could use some extra support, use this link to try Better Help free for a week and see if it’s a good fit.
I know you probably don’t expect to see a toilet paper recommendation on here, but I’m just so excited about this company, I have to share! I love Cloud Paper toilet paper. They use sustainable bamboo instead of trees, and you get a box (or as many boxes as you need) delivered automatically so you never have to worry about running out! They’re a great company based in Seattle and I highly recommend them. Use this link to save $5 off your first order.
I hope this helps! Please let me know what works for you.
Note, I encourage you to buy local whenever possible but 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!
Dermatographia After the Moderna Booster: Now What?
Did you develop dermatographia shortly after getting your Moderna booster vaccine for Covid 19? If so, you’re not alone. I’ve heard from tons of you that this is a new (and not welcome) side effect of the shot. If you now have dermatographia, welcome to the club, and I hope it’s not too bad. Hopefully
Dermatographia and the COVID-19 Vaccine: Tips to Make it Easier, and YES It Is Safe
I’ve heard people say their dermatographia has lessened since getting the COVID-19 vaccine. I’ve also had people wonder if it’s safe for those of us with dermatographia to get the shots (it totally is). Speaking from personal experience, I have not noticed a decrease in my itchiness since getting the second Moderna shot a
The Top 5 Things You Can Do To Heal Your Itchy Skin
It’s a new year already! And a new decade! I try not to get too wrapped up in New Year’s resolutions, but the start of a new one always makes me think about what kinds of little changes I can make to feel better. Because to me that’s what life is about: feeling good–and helping
How I *Almost* Cured My Dermatographia, The All Natural Way
Many of you already know my skin writing story, but here’s some background for those of you that aren’t familiar with me yet. I was officially diagnosed with dermatographia back in 2004 (wow it’s been 13 years!), but I had it for close to 10 years before then. Like many other people with dermatographia, I
Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism and Dermatographia
Recently I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Basically what that means is I have an under-active thyroid. It’s an autoimmune disorder, similar to dermatographia in that the immune system is involved. With Hashimoto’s the immune system starts attacking the thyroid gland because of inflammation and a number of other factors. [Some say it’s actually caused
The Conflict of Healing
Healing is an amazing thing. It’s what we all think we want, right? To be relieved of our maladies, sicknesses, sadness and discomfort. To be healthy, to be free to create with less self-consciousness. What I’m realizing is healing doesn’t necessarily mean relief from all of these things. It does bring attention to the
maria perkinson June 16, 2016 at 6:01 pm
I was diagnosed with dermatographia at the age of 9. Now, I’m 46 years old and still experience severe itching, welts, and have been searching for an answer for years. I have been to an allergists, Intergrative Health Specialists and an immunologists. My primary doctors act like I am crazy, so I avoid discussing it with him. This inflammation and histamine release is causing me to experience muscle weakness, joint pain, and I have osteophytes growing on my cervical spine. (C2-C7)) I have told my husband over the past few years, If what you are seeing on the outside is this bad, imagine how it’s affecting my organs and joints. I have been thru elimination diets, avoiding trigger foods, and it always seems to out smart everyone. So the itch lives on!!
Arianaon July 7, 2016 at 11:18 am
So sorry to hear about your condition(s)! I know it’s tough, trying new things all the time and being super vigilant about what you do and eat, but I’m convinced it’s worth it. All the changes I’ve made in my diet and lifestyle have helped TREMENDOUSLY! Please don’t give up. Try the Autoimmune Protocol diet, try meditation, try whatever you possibly can and eventually you will find relief.
Please let us know what you discover!
help meon May 30, 2018 at 4:54 am
hello i had dermatographia at the age of 11 but it stopped for a couple of month but came back and i still have it i am 14 now and i really want it to go it looks hideous when people see it they are like omg whats that. i cant even see the doctors about it because im scared. every time i go to the doctors i faint im scared of them and injections please someone find a cure!!!
Arianaon November 4, 2018 at 3:18 pm
Hi! Sadly, there is no cure for dermatographia, but if you do the things I suggest in other posts on this site, it will help :+)
Good luck! I hope you find some relief.
As for other people, tell them you have skin writing and can draw stuff on your skin. Can they do that??
Lilianon November 2, 2017 at 5:42 am
Hi Maria, sorry about your condition, I have this condition for 3 years, I have a question for you, do you have kids?do you know if this condition pass to our babies during the pregnancy? Let me know if you or somebody else konw. Thanks
Arianaon November 4, 2018 at 3:16 pm
Hi Lilian! I have dermatographia and had a baby 1 year ago. So yes, you can get pregnant with dermatographia! If you’re having fertility issues, it’s likely something else causing it.
There’s a chance your baby will also have dermatographia, but there’s a chance s/he won’t too. My son doesn’t have it.
I hope that helps!
Shamaon September 18, 2019 at 8:06 am
Can we breast feed our baby with dermatographia
Arianaon October 6, 2019 at 3:34 pm
Yes absolutely! I’m currently breastfeeding my son and have been his whole life (he just turned 2).
Seunon October 5, 2019 at 6:58 pm
Am struggling with this condition now. My mum use to have it but we don’t know what it was then. She has 4 grown up children and I guess am the only one that has it now. I use to have it long time when I was in my 20’s then I was not living in the US. I went to a road side nurse and she gave me some type of injection for 3 days and it went away. Now am in my late 30’s living in the US and my doctor can’t cure this, he gave me some medication which if I stop using it will come back and itching worse. Those medication make me sleep, I can’t keep sleeping while driving to work or sleeping at work. Am so fed up. I need help
Arianaon October 6, 2019 at 3:38 pm
Hi Seun! I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling. Did you see my post How I *Almost* Cured My Dermatographia, The All Natural Way? Maybe something in there will help you like it helped me. It takes a lot of discipline to make these huge lifestyle changes but then you hopefully wouldn’t need to take any medication anymore and you’d feel way better!
Paulaon September 6, 2019 at 5:30 pm
Hi 🙂 My name is Paulina and I am 30 years old. For 2 months I have been struggling with the ailments you describe and show in the pictures. Everything itches and after scratching there are raised marks that itch even more. Face, back, belly, legs, back, buttocks and even head. One relief was when I got a fever. And, like everyone else, I wonder where it came from … It started with the fact that I had laryngitis and got cough pills. After 2 tablets I could not stop scratching and it remained So. Pleas help 🙂
Arianaon October 6, 2019 at 3:41 pm
Hi Paulina! I’m sorry to hear your itching is so bad. Did you see my post How I *Almost* Cured My Dermatographia, The All Natural Way? Maybe something in there will help you like it helped me. Let us know how it goes!
Wendy Kutaon June 28, 2016 at 7:37 am
I have had dermatographia for 10 years. I am now 51. Finding this blog has really helped (thank you!). I agree with the others that the medical community has little to offer. I have even seen doctors that had never heard of it! I have been mostly controlled by using Zyrtec. Last week I had dental work done. I was very nervous about it. The next day I itched from head to toe. I started taking Benadryl at night to help me get through the night, but still can’t sleep well. I am very interested in trying holistic methods to help control it. I have never experienced an exacerbation of the disease as I am now. Has anyone tried anti itch lotions? Can pollens be a trigger? I was cutting back my oleander and hibiscus the morning it was triggered???
Arianaon July 7, 2016 at 12:01 pm
Thanks Wendy! Have you seen my posts http://skintome.arianapagerussell.com/what-to-do-with-the-itch/ and http://skintome.arianapagerussell.com/how-doing-an-elimination-diet-can-help-heal-your-dermatographia/ ? I believe all things can be healed with diet and lifestyle changes, so yes, holistic methods work. You just have to do some tests on yourself and see what your triggers are. Maybe try an elimination diet… Good luck and please let us know how it goes!
irvennaon August 20, 2017 at 8:31 am
Hello i am a 46 year old female. i have severe allergies and have been taking allergy shots but not consist with them these past few months. I have been freaking out because i have never heard of this and to have your body doing things like this is scary.. I actually thought this means i am dying because the internet has been scaring me to death. This diagnose is as recent as this pass Tuesday.
I am at a lose…very depressed and sad i have been very stressed out lately which i am reading doesnt help at all. I would like to know what and how to start a elimination diet and also is this condition hereditary as i have 3 younger cousins 1 is allergic to bug bites and the other 2 just break out in hives for no reason. Please help.. I’m so scared.
Arianaon November 4, 2018 at 3:23 pm
I’m sorry to hear you’re depressed! I hope you’ve found some relief since posting this comment.
Dermatographia will not kill you, so please don’t worry about that. It isn’t necessarily hereditary, but it can be.
There’s so many unanswered questions around dermatographia! I’m currently writing a book about it to help people like you and me get answers :+)
Evaon January 8, 2017 at 11:30 am
Hello! I am 43 and just got diagnosed with this skin issue as well. These articles are so interesting. I too am allergic to all antibiotics and I have never had these problems until I started taking probiotics! I told my husband that I swear I imbalanced the bacteria in my body and that’s what’s causing it. I am beginning an elimination diet tomorrow for 30 days to see if that helps. It seems like dairy exacerbates my itchiness. My urinalysis test also showed high levels of bacteria but I know I do not have a UTI. I noticed many people on here said they had bladder infections. It seems like there is a link between this and bacteria in the body. If this is true, then Now I just need to figure out how to balance my bacteria out.
Arianaon January 9, 2017 at 4:33 pm
Thanks for sharing Eva! Please let us know how it goes with the elimination diet. Do keep in mind that you may not see a huge decrease in itch right away, so be patient with the process. I’ve learned that it takes awhile to get our systems back in balance once they’re out of wack enough to produce something like dermatographia!
Also look into ways to heal your gut. I’ve heard that will help balance bacteria in your body.
Qon October 5, 2017 at 11:24 am
Contrary to what you have suggested I have been taking pro-biotics( vybact) and I think it has helped reduce the outbreak. Initially, a slight scratch would cause a large area of the skin to hive and welt. These welts were usually pretty soft. After taking the pro-biotics my welts have reduced while they have become harder. I read an article suggesting the use of antibiotics but I’m too scared to mess the bacteria environment in my stomach in case the dermatographia increases.
I hope this nonsense goes away soon I am 19 and I think I got it either from taking a painkiller /from taking Alaspan or my friend hitting me on the head. This happened around 3 months ago but luckily I have adjusted to this and now wear short sleeve shirts! c:
I was also wondering if doing an endoscopy could help find a solution. Please let me know if you have any knowledge on the same
Arianaon November 4, 2018 at 3:26 pm
Yes I agree, probiotics do help.
I think it’s wise to not take antibiotics. There’s no guarantee it will work and then you’re just taking them unnecessarily.
There’s not much we know about what causes dermatographia, unfortunately.
I’ve never heard of anyone finding relief with endoscopy, but will let you know if I do.
Marinaon May 21, 2017 at 7:12 pm
Hi Wendy. I’ve had dermatographia accompanied by severe itching and inflammation for three years now. The ONLY thing that works for me is zyrtec every 48 hours. I talked with my doctor and an allergist about this, because I am very concerned about long-term use of zyrtec. They were like “don’t worry about. It’s not a big deal.” No one seems to take me seriously. I am beyond grateful for the zyrtec, but want a more sustainable solution!
Edmund Trujilloon May 26, 2017 at 6:53 am
Like you the only thing that has worked is Allegra 24 hours but I also don’t want to take a drug for the long term. My dermatologist said it’s no problem.
I have, however, found some relief naturally with a pill that consists of turmeric, curcumin and black pepper extract. The bottle suggests a single capsule but I take four of them.
Nicoleon July 25, 2016 at 2:37 am
Hi. My name is Nicole and I just found out tonight that my 3 year old daughter’s recent wealt outbreaks is actually Dermatographia. I think it is neat that her skin is like a canvas, but it also has me a little worried because I don’t know why this just came out of nowhere and I don’t really know what to expect or to do other than use antihistamines or diet like what has been stated on this website. Please feel welcome to reply.
Arianaon August 2, 2016 at 5:33 pm
Hi Nicole! It’s really hard to tell you what to expect or what to do since everyone is so different. Your daughter might outgrow her dermatographia, she might not. But she’s very lucky to have a mom with a positive outlook on the condition! Just pay attention to what triggers her itch the most… like certain foods, household cleaners or detergents. Hopefully as she gets older you can help her heal with diet and lifestyle adjustments, like I did! Let us know how it goes!
Emilyon July 25, 2016 at 9:14 pm
I’m so happy I found this! Every few years I google dermatographia to see if the medical community has made any advances. It’s nice to know there are others with this-even in other countries- and I’m not just a freak with a skin condition. I’m 30 and mine started when I was 18. At first, I thought it was so embarrassing but after years of explaining and lack of explaining, I just tell people “It will go away in like 5
minutes.” A dermatologist was at a loss and prescribed me some antihistamine that knocked me out for three days straight. Although the welts subsided for a while and I was just left with red marks. A few times a month I’ll have someone point out one on my body but there’s nothing I can do; I will have this forever. Every now and then I have scratching fits but my biggest hobbies like running, etc are huge stimulators so it is what it is. Benadryl and Zyrtec knock me out cold or keep me up all night depending on whatever’s most inconvenient. We are so lucky!
Arianaon August 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm
Yes we are ;=) Thanks Emily!
Iesha Speakson August 8, 2016 at 6:54 pm
I found out earlier this year that I have dermatographia. I now know that I have always had it but did not know what was causing me welt up just from a bit of pressure or something rubbing on my skin. It was kind of the family joke (in good fun). I’d just randomly be welted up and we’d all laugh about it. It itched (sometimes a lot) but nothing too awful (with the exception of a few extreme breakouts). However, after a course of amoxicillin in January, my skin went bonkers and my dermatographia went to a whole new level (and has been there ever since). The welts were huge. And it was not just welts now but lumps. They were covering my body and on top of that my eyes and lips were swelling from just me moving around on a pillow at night or rubbing my eyes. The breakouts were nearly non stop for many weeks. The itching was unbearable. I was taking Valium just to sleep at night. After my doctor tried just about everything he finally sent me to an allergist who figured it out. I feel like he saved my life because I really could not have taken much more of that. I have been on steroids and antihistamines ever since. Now, I don’t need the stronger meds and can get by on the stuff that doesn’t knock you out. My goal is to get to where you are and control this with diet and better living. I don’t think perpetual steroid use is healthy. I really appreciate your positivity about dermatographia and this blog as well. You have changed how I see it. I am an artist as well so I love how you use it to express your creativity. I’m not there yet but someday perhaps 😉 I really want to thank you for being so awesome!
Arianaon August 18, 2016 at 8:40 pm
Thank you Iesha! You’re so sweet :=) I’m glad to hear that you don’t need the stronger meds now, and that you want to do some experiments on yourself to see how you can ease the itch. Please keep us updated on how things go with your dermatographia once you start adjusting your diet and stuff! Just don’t lose patience… it can take awhile to find your triggers. Good luck!
Elena Nygardon October 24, 2016 at 8:38 pm
I’m only eleven years and I figured out I had this a couple weeks ago and I’m going to go see a dermatologist about it next week but it really been getting worse but I have a already figured out what helps which may help others too . I To help reduce the effect for at least 18 hours I use Neosporin once a week before bed and Vaseline. This has worked like a miracle I can walk thru a dense forest with branch’s and lots of sticks every where 8th my reactivation n reduced my st least half and little itching but I also expertise and eat very healthy.
Arianaon November 3, 2016 at 10:21 am
Hi Elena! How did it go with the dermatologist? Coconut oil also works really well to ease the itch 🙂
Zerlina Dwion December 8, 2016 at 11:06 pm
I had this Dermatographia last year, and at that time i didnt know that it was called Dermatographia…
I was kinda freaked out and tried to hide it, but i cant hadle it anymore so i told my mom about it
she didnt know what is wrong with my skin so we planned to go to a dermatologist, but I didnt have time, because i had to focus on my exams.
But one day my friend send me a post about Dermatographia…and now i feel special because only 5% have this…i usually tease my friends with my skin
but sometimes im disgusted by how the scratch look like
Arianaon December 15, 2016 at 4:22 pm
Awesome Zerlina! You are special :+)
I hope you find some helpful tips to relieve the itch here on Skintome. Don’t forget to read the comments because people have offered great suggestions! Let us know how it goes.
Charlotte Maillardon December 13, 2016 at 5:23 am
You cannot believe how relieved I am right now! I am french and ended up to read an article about Dermographism for work with a link to your blog. I have this condition for a while now (I’m 30) and didn’t manage to put a name on it neither my dermatologist. I take antihistamines every 3 or 4 days otherwise, it gets really itchy. I am often ashamed about those marks, especially during the summer when the skin is all exposed and when people make you notice in a “what’s wrong with you?” style. My family and closest friends are used to it and sometimes “play” with it by drawing funny things. So far I thought I was the only one in the world with this issue, I never met someone with this condition (or I didn’t notice). Winter gets itchier than summer so I assume the change of temperature is a trigger. I will follow your advice, change my diet and why not get a tattoo as I was sure that it was something impossible to get with a very reactive skin. So thank you! I’m so glad we are a community and that we can help and support each other
Arianaon December 15, 2016 at 4:24 pm
Yay you’re welcome Charlotte! Welcome to Skintome :+)
Oh and I hate it when people ask me, ‘What happened to you?!’ if I have a little mark on me lol
Elizabethon December 22, 2016 at 5:29 am
SHOES ahhhhhh I normally wear flip flops because the less rubbing the better but as an adult apparently I have to grow up and wear normal people shoes but my sneakers are causing me to be very reactive what have you guys been wearing ????
Sanderon December 27, 2016 at 7:57 am
My name is Sander and I’m 17. I recently found out about my dermatographia ( I had no idea I had it and it didn’t bother me)( I literally found out by watching another person and trying it myself) and I might be weird guz I don’t feel that me having it is a bad thing guz well I like the fact that I can write on my skin. I really liked the tips on how do prevent the itchiness but I don’t think I want to cure its maybe because I’m so young but I think that deramtographia is a part of us it maybe a contusion but it’s not a bad thing people generally like seeing what dermatographia can to and if others think its gross or weird than fine but do me what’s important is what you think of it and I think that it’s just another thing that makes me well me.
Arianaon January 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm
Hi Sander! I’m so glad to hear your positive attitude about having dermatographia. Sounds like it’s not too bothersome for you so yeah, have fun with it :+)
Brad Lindenon January 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm
I stumbled on your website and congratulate you on your sharing of information about this affliction.
At 49 I have been suffering with the itch all over my body that has at times driven me close to insanity for the past 35 years I have scratched my legs with my toenails until they bled and have the scars to prove it.
As a teen dating was at times very awkward as I attempted to relieve the itch by either leaving the room or covertly scratching so my date wouldn’t notice or my friends.
School was often a place of ridicule and shame especially after gym class when ìt’d be sure to rear it’s ugly head.
I found the legs groin area, under the armpits,and my back to be the most common places where I would have to scratch but everywhere else was also affected and at any given time too without warning or provocation I’d be going bonkers trying to relieve the itch.
Finally I discovered little yellow pills called novo-phenoram an over the counter antihistamine that was a blessing from God for me and I carried some with me at all times .
This medication worked quite fast to relieve the itch usually with only one pill but two pills were often needed .
I am happy to say that in recent years I appear to have outgrown this affliction for the most part but always have a few tablets on hand just in case thankfully so because the itch does come unexpectedly and instantaneously with no warning what so ever.
I pray that none of my children end up with this problem but if it does happen at least I will understand and be able to help before the teasing and shame become too unbearable like almost happened to me.
Thanks for starting this Web page so those looking for answers and support have somewhere to go for both its too bad it wasn’t available to me back in my early years it might have saved me from alot of tears and loneliness.
Arianaon January 9, 2017 at 4:22 pm
You’re welcome Brad! I’m glad you found us. Thanks for sharing your story and welcome to Skintome!
Shoromaon January 4, 2017 at 7:01 am
I had gone to my GP about 3 years ago when I though the itchy breakouts happened way too often. Even my doctor googled dermatographia and showed me that there isn’t necessarily a cause for it. Which sucked, because I had tried eliminating wheat, and dairy, and sugar…to no avail. Over the years I assumed it would lesson or stop, it hasn’t. I’m 29 now, and its a daily struggle. I have to be so cautious with what clothing I wear as the material will irritate my skin. It’s bearable, but it can be quite embarrassing when I meet new people.Having to explain the condition just so they don’t think its some contagious rash. I carry antihistamines in my handbag everywhere I go. One usually does the trick to ease the itchiness, however I’m trying to avoid depending on them. Any pressure on my skin aggravates it, and the urge to scratch is unbearable at times, which just worsens the inflammation. the worst is probably when i touch my face, involuntarily..I end up red marks and slight swelling that just looks weird. Its odd how something that seems so trivial does affect us on a daily basis…and still so few answers are available for it’s cause. It’s comforting knowing you’re not alone with this condition, but I do wish it would go away.
Arianaon January 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm
Thanks for the note. Have you tried doing a full-on elimination diet? Maybe something like eggs or corn is triggering your condition? Also, soaps and lotions make my skin itch like crazy, so I use coconut oil and sweet almond oil for washing and moisturizing. I also use all natural laundry detergent, which helps a ton. For hand soap I use Dr. Bronner’s because it’s nice and gentle.
Let us know if you find something that helps (besides the antihistamines)!
I’m going to be writing a new post soon with lots of information on how I’ve (almost) cured my dermatographia. The itch is so much better now!
Check back soon,
Dellaniraon January 10, 2017 at 12:01 am
Hi, everyone. I think I have news for each person that suffers this condition. I found your blog a few weeks ago. I have had this problem for about 5 years but is not consistent. Sometimes I forgot I even have it. The thing is that someone that has the same condition told me that this was the cause of the parasite giardia. I got shocked when she told me because I had Giardia when I was about 10 years old,( I have 25 now). I’m not sure if I treated it the right way back then. She told me it was so difficult to cure it. The only thing that help her was Ozone injections I think. I took a stool example the other day to the lab and it gave negative but I still have dermatographia. I will treat my problem as soon as possible. Hope this helps everyone and would love to hear your opinions
Arianaon January 31, 2017 at 5:56 pm
Thanks for the tip! I think the cause is different for everyone so it’s hard to pinpoint. Let us know if you find out anything else!
Mareikaon February 9, 2017 at 6:24 am
I believe I have always been able to write on my skin, and have always had sensitive skin, e.g. would get hives from wool no matter how soft. And sometime I’d get hives on my hands and lower arms for no reason. It really hasn’t historically been too much of a bother! I’ve never experienced what I’ve been experiencing now and I wondered if this seems like dermatographia or something else: this week my scalp started to itch something crazy and it spread all over my body… and now when I scratch, a group of small bumps (like hives) appear on my skin and become even more itchy! And then when I leave it alone they go away in about an hour. Do other people experience a random worsening of symptoms like this?
Caton February 24, 2017 at 8:03 am
In my experience, hives disappear in about 10-15 minutes. Your new symptoms do not sound like dermatagraphism if the hives/bumps lasted 1 hour.
Arianaon February 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm
Actually, dermatographia hives can last for 1 hour. It’s happened to me before!
Jameson November 27, 2017 at 9:11 am
I’ve known about having Dermatographia for over 50 years but it is only in last year that I started to have the same itching you describe; starting at and most intense on scalp, them spreading to other parts of my body. I never associated the itching with my Dermatographia and they actually may not be related at all. I have a feeling the itching is more diet related. My Dermatographia has been constant since my Father diagnosed me in 1966.
Caton February 24, 2017 at 8:00 am
Can any women with dermatagraphism advise whether they have had children after diagnosis?
I’ve was diagnosed 20 years ago and I’ve been trying to conceive for 4 years. I’ve had a few miscarriages and am wondering if my overactive immune system could be part of the problem.
My symptoms have calmed down somewhat in the last 10 years but I still itch and have redness on a regular basis. I don’t take any antihistimines. My IVF doctors put me on Prednisone and Lovenox as a precaution the months that we did embryo transfers (put frozen embryos into the uterus) so that my immune system was suppressed and would not attack the embryo.
Arianaon February 25, 2017 at 1:12 pm
Have you had a full thyroid panel done? Sometimes the thyroid can affect fertility (see my post about hypothyroidism here). Make sure you get the antibodies and T3, T4 tested! You might also want to try an autoimmune paleo type of diet and see if that helps. Things like dairy and gluten can be very inflammatory for some people and wreak havoc on your system. You could also try the Elimination Diet (see my post about that here) to see if you’re mildly allergic to something you’re eating.
Let us know what you discover!
Caton February 27, 2017 at 10:32 am
Yes, I have had a full thyroid work up. I’m at increased risk for hypothroidism, but I’m testing normal for the moment. Thanks for the diet suggestions- I have been keeping a food journal and probably need to do the elimination diet.
I am curious to know if other women with dermatagraphism have been able to conceive and have healthy babies?
Arianaon April 4, 2017 at 2:15 pm
Yes definitely! As long as you keep your thyroid levels in check, and take care of your skin, you should be able to conceive and have healthy babies. Have you tried an elimination diet yet? I’m so sorry to hear about your miscarriages. Struggling with fertility issues is so frustrating. How did your last IVF go?
You might want to check out this helpful book about fertility: How to Conceive and Have a Healthy Pregnancy After 35. They offer great tips for getting your body ready to conceive. Also, check out my new post about how I’ve healed my dermatographia.
Emmaon March 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm
I found out I had dermographism, last year and I was prescribed an antihistamine every day. It takes away some of the itch but it is horrible if I either forget or run out of the tablets, because my whole body itches horribly. It’s nice to see a webpage like this though where I can read others stories, because although I suffer from this, it’s something I know very little about
Dawn Borneon March 20, 2017 at 1:37 am
I’m 12 and I just learned I have dermatographism. I have had this for about a year now and it has really made me self conscious. I have become scared to take of my jacket at school now because of it. People at school always ask me and toy with me about it and it really bothers me. I was wondering if you had any thoughts about how I could boost me self esteem while haven’t dermatographism. I have tried being postitive about it but I just does not work. I know this sounds stupid and you don’t know me, but I never knew others had this. I never even knew this many people have it.
Arianaon April 4, 2017 at 2:09 pm
I’m sorry to hear about how people at school are treating you. Kids can be mean! My suggestion to you is to turn it around on them. Instead of trying to cover it up, be proud of what your skin does and show it off. If they try and make fun of you and you respond with writing your name on your arm, or making some kind of drawing, then that takes away their power to make you feel bad. Show them it’s something you can have fun with and think is cool, and maybe they’ll be jealous. Tell them it’s unique and only cool people have it. It definitely won’t be as satisfying for them to make fun of you if they see you actually aren’t bothered by it :+)
Let us know how it goes if you decide to try this!
Henry Perrettaon April 1, 2017 at 9:08 am
My doctor has suggested I look into Singulair (aka Montelukast) — I’ve been on Hydrazine since 1998 for my dermatographism.
kris Walton June 19, 2017 at 6:01 pm
I take Singulair and it really helps. I am currently looking for more natural fixes because I don’t want to be on long term pharmaceuticals.
Philipon April 5, 2017 at 7:33 pm
Ariana, have you heard of dermatographia occurring only at certain times of the day? Mine seems to flare up mainly after work. It may be that that is actually my most stressful time with two toddlers to host at dinner and put to bed, so it could be that stress, but any thoughts you could share are appreciated!
Arianaon November 4, 2018 at 3:38 pm
Yes! I have heard from many people that it flares up at night. And stress definitely exacerbates it for most people. I have 1 toddler and am stressed enough, I can’t imagine having 2!
Here’s some suggestions:
Moisturize when you get home from work, to help prevent the itch coming on.
Do some relaxation techniques on your way home from work to help prepare you for the potentially stressful evening.
Change clothes when you get home–wear something light and loose to let skin breathe.
Try to get enough rest at night, which I know is hard when you have little ones!
Your circadian rhythms change at night so it can make skin itch more. I’m not quite sure how that all works, but it’s something to look into.
I hope that helps!
Georgiaon April 26, 2017 at 12:04 pm
Hello! I’m 15 years old and I’ve got dermatographia – not diagnosed officially but it’s clear that I have it – and I’m finding it hard to cope. Me and my friends joke about it, but it’s getting really painful and with exams coming up, it’s only getting worse. On a night, I can’t sleep for hours because my skin gets really itchy when I’m too cold or too hot, or even when I seem to be fine, then the welts appear and it looks like I have claw marks across my whole body. Stress definitely increased how often the welts appear, but I really don’t know how to deal with it at this point. I’ve got eczema and another skin problem too, so I’m very weary to start treatment as I don’t want it getting any worse. Is there anything you could suggest? I’m hopefully going to see a doctor soon, but I’m in the UK so I don’t know if the treatment options are the same here as they are in the US. Please help!!
Arianaon May 5, 2017 at 6:08 pm
I’m sorry to hear that Georgia! Have you tried coconut oil on your skin?
I’ve written a lot about how diet and lifestyle choices can affect dermatographia. Check out my recent post about it: http://skintome.arianapagerussell.com/how-i-almost-cured-my-dermatographia-the-all-natural-way/
Other than that, you might want to try an antihistamine. I’ve never taken them before so am not familiar with what works, but I’m sure your doctor will have input for you.
Oh, and try doing a gentle meditation before going to sleep, that should help relax you.
I hope you feel better!
Ritojaon April 28, 2017 at 7:25 am
It’s really wonderful to see such a lot of useful information on this condition put together. Dermatographia is benign enough, but gets tricky to care for, and can get frustrating without adequate information on the subject. You’ve done a great job!
I would like to know if you have any tips for hair removal and consequent skincare in dermatographic persons.
Arianaon May 5, 2017 at 6:05 pm
Thank you for the kind words Rotoja!
For my own hair removal, I just do some plucking here and there. Then I follow up by using a little witch hazel to prevent clogged pores and too much irritation. For shaving I use Schick sensitive skin razors and Aveeno unscented shaving cream for sensitive skin. That seems to help! I’ve heard people say that taking a Benedryl or something before waxing can help a lot too.
Good luck and let us know what works for you!
Jeremyon May 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm
Im so glad i came across this page, ive been getting these symptoms for about a month and had no clue what was going on. Im going to see a dermatologist next week to see what they have to say. Im 30yrs old and i see that its more common for younger people?
Arianaon November 4, 2018 at 3:43 pm
It affects all ages, but yes it typically comes on in adolescence.
What did the dermatologist say? Apologies, I know you wrote that last year!
Edmundon May 26, 2017 at 7:56 am
Thanks for this page. I developed this condition last year. Allegra 24 hours works but I don’t like taking antihistamines for the long term.
In the meantime I’ve had some fun. When I went to my dermatologist I etched in the word “HELP” on one arm and “ME” on the other. She appreciated the humor. I was also at Macy’s several months ago and etched in “MACYS” in my arm. When checking out I told the cashier that my body told me to go to Macy’s for my purchase and showed her my arm — she freaked out. Another time at the gym, I had a choice of the SPIN class or the PILATES class. I etched in “SPIN” on my arm and told the instructor that my body was telling me to do spin that day. She also freaked out. Quite fun actually. 🙂
Arianaon November 4, 2018 at 3:44 pm
Hahahaha that’s great! I love it! I’m so glad you’re having fun with it :+)
Any luck with other treatments besides antihistamines?
Maria Isabelon June 1, 2017 at 4:01 am
Hai everyone, I’m Isabel 18 yrs. old from Philippine s, at the age of 14 I noticed something on my skin when I scratched it. I’m scared at the first time I saw it because my skin is different from my friends. After 4 years, I decided to have a check up because at the same time the hair falling from my scalp is not normal because I heard that our scalp is also part of our skin, so then, I found out that I have Dermatographia (skin writing) When I read this, all of your comments made me feel relieved. The doctor said that it is normal to have a falling hair if we have a fever or we are sick. So I decided to have some rest after work because I’m currently a Student Assistant, you know self supporting because I am eager to finish my studies despite of poverty to become a teacher someday . Thank you Ariana <3