Dermatographic urticaria – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

800px Dermatographic urticaria Dermatographic urticaria   Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dermatographic urticaria also known as dermographism, dermatographism or “skin writing” is a skin disorder seen in 4–5% of the population and is one of the most common types of urticaria,[1] in which the skin becomes raised and inflamed when stroked or rubbed with a dull object.[2]


The symptoms are thought to be caused by mast cells in the surface of the skin releasing histamines without the presence of antigens, due to the presence of a weak membrane surrounding the mast cells. The histamines released cause the skin to swell in the affected areas.

This weak membrane easily and rapidly breaks down under physical pressure causing an allergic-like reaction, generally a red wheal (welt) to appear on the skin. It can often be confused with an allergic reaction to the object causing a scratch, when in fact it is the act of being scratched that causes a wheal to appear. These wheals are a subset of urticaria (hives) that appear within minutes, accompanied by a sensation of burning, and itchiness. The first outbreak of urticaria can lead to others on body parts not directly stimulated, scraped or scratched. In a normal case the swelling will reduce itself with no treatment within 15–30 minutes, but in extreme cases, itchy red wheals may last anywhere from a few hours to days.

It has been reported that one artist with dermatographism uses her skin as her medium.[3]

via Dermatographic urticaria – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Sounds like a delightful situation to find yourself having.  I remember having a bad case of hives back when I was younger due to an allergic reaction to some detergent, but it wasn’t as arty as this!

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7 thoughts on “Dermatographic urticaria – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    1. Not really… not when you have hair on your arms.

      I “have” this thing… it’s not a disorder.. it’s just how my skin reacts to cuts. The burning is more like warmth and the itching is bearable, almost like it’s not even there.

  1. One of my best friends growing up had this. When we were in high school, she used her skin as art. She used a knitting needle and a bunch of mirrors and draw on herself. It would last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, or so. It was kinda cool.

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