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What Is Dermatographia?


Dermatographia is a condition in which lightly scratching your skin causes raised, inflamed lines or welts.  These marks tend to go away in less than 30 minutes. The condition is also known as dermatographism and skin writing.  It may even happen when the skin is rubbed when pressure is applied.


Symptoms of dermatographia may include:

  • Raised, inflamed lines where you scratched.
  • Welts from friction.
  • Swelling.
  • Itching.

The symptoms may occur within a few minutes of the skin being rubbed or scratched.  They tend to go away within 30 minutes.  Rarely, the skin symptoms develop more slowly and lasts several hours to days.  The condition itself can last for months or years.

Symptoms may worsen in extreme temperatures.  Dry weather can also increase the incidence of dermographism.  Warm water from hot showers, baths, and saunas can aggravate symptoms.

What causes dermatographia?

The exact causes of dermatographia aren’t known.  The condition is thought to be triggered by:

  • stress
  • a history of allergies
  • excessive rubbing from clothing or bedding
  • infections
  • certain medications, including penicillin
  • exercises that cause excessive skin rubbing (such as wrestling)

Though its causes are not known, there are suspected risk factors for dermatographia.  You may be at an increased risk if you:

  • have dry skin
  • have a history of dermatitis, which is a skin inflammation
  • are a young adult
  • experience frequent scratches of the skin
  • have thyroid disease
  • have a nerve disorder or an internal illness that causes itchy skin

Children are more susceptible to dermatitis in general, while teens and young adults are more likely to develop dermatographia.

Are you suffering from any nail condition?  At The Chelsea Clinic, we can help.  One of our podiatrist can assist and then recommend what treatments are best to get you back on track. Podiatrist South Kensington
Schedule an appointment here or you may call us at +44 (0) 207 101 4000


We hope you have a feetastic day!

-The Chelsea Clinic and Team



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