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Dermographism - The Skin Writing Allergy

Updated on October 5, 2013

Drawings On My Skin From Dermatographic Urticaria

Dermatographic urticaria or dermographism is a form of physical urticaria, usually due to underlying allergies or possibly diet. It's is my peculiar honour to suffer from this rather interesting form of hives. Dermographism means "skin writing" and anyone who has it knows why. Another interesting name that I've come across, rather less used, is the term Paper skin (It is also known as dermatographism, dermographia, contact or pressure urticaria, urticarian dermographism...)

Dermographia is an indirect allergic reaction to unknown allergens. No-one knows exactly what causes their dermographia - for example, I know that I am allergic to dust, dogs, fungal spores, cats, and pollen - but I don't know which, if any, triggers my dermographism. It is a chronic, underlying condition that cannot be avoided or mitigated completely. It has also been tentatively linked to underlying immune disorders such as Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease and others, but very little research has been done.

It is common in late-teens to early twenty year olds, children (especially young teens) and people in middle age. Triggers have been identified in some cases - certain strong antibiotics, for example - but other cases appear completely random. It can last months or years - for some people, it goes away after a few years, while for others it will last ten or twenty years, or for the rest of their life.

The hives are triggered by pressure on the skin - a finger, a watch, walking on gravel, scratches, bumping into corners, or pushing a trolley - even the repeated pressure of pushing books or papers around (for example, when shelving books or putting letters in envelopes, both regular activities at somepoint in my life).

This pressure causes a welt - urticaria, or 'hives' - to form where the pressure was applied. Which means I get welts in the shapes of my scratches. And it is from this that the name comes... for a quick doodle with a fingernail and a five or ten minute wait produces a message in full burning glory for the world to see. This mass of hives usually lasts around fifteen minutes (but can be visible for up to an hour).

For an allegedly common condition, there isn't that much information available and in this lens I have attempted to describe my condition, the causes, and how to live with it. I have met exactly one other person with this condition (that I know of) and hardly anyone who knows about it - which has led to a lot of soothing explanations for horrified onlookers! As for curing dermographism? I'm afraid I have only speculation to offer. I am seeing increasing evidence (from my research and from the stories people left here) pointing towards diet and digestion, gluten and other things in the system, but everyone's story is different.

It does have its better side. The ability to write on your own skin lends a certain fascinating aspect to Dermatographic Urticaria. For more about this, and the original artist read this section - and you can read a short article on exactly what Dermographism is like to live with, and what it means to me.

The last page has a list of all the websites, journal articles and stories that I link to, or read, in one handy list, as well as pictures of Dermographism from Flickr.

Dermographism is NOT contagious

At all. In any way. You can be genetically more likely to get it, or pass it on, but you cannot infect people.

Do You Have Dermographism? - There's a fire under my skin... Everyone is different, and most of the information for 'new' sufferers comes from people like you!

If you DO have dermographism, or know someone who does, please visit the next page to share your story for other people to learn from!

Well? When you write on your skin, do you get hives? (Assuming you aren't on medication)

See results

Symbols Emerging

Aaaaargh, why won't my back stop itching?

Looking back, I always had the signs of mild dermographism - itching on the soles of my feet when I walked on gravel, an itchy head which I blamed on nits (headlice) that I could never find - but I wasn't forced to take notice until the year I was eighteen.

In this year, I underwent, or already had, practically every connected factor:

  • I had pale, sensitive skin; mild hayfever (which also increased); a family history of allergies (hayfever, eczema and psioriasis, among others);
  • I was in my late teens approaching twenty; I had recently undergone a major course in antibiotics (maxillo-facial surgery) and was stressed due to the surgery, being unable to eat properly, and in my first full time year of university (along with part time work).
  • I am also the eldest child - therefore less exposed to all the nasties other children bring home and more likely to develop allergies.
  • I also, (possibly), have other associated conditions - the underlying immune issues possibly linked to various conditions such as gluten intolerance, IBS and celiac disease, and Asperger's Syndrome (which I do display many mild traits of).

So, I was in fact the perfect candidate.

I will also mention that I am, and was, not any kind of cleanliness fanatic - no excessive antibacterial ablutions, vaccinations, worries about cats sitting on my head, people coughing near me... I never bother putting anything on my cuts, which my cat gives me a lot of, and if I drop a piece of chocolate on the ground, well, it's proably still getting eaten. I am also very healthy - it's unusual if I take more than two sick days a year, and I don't get much in the way of infections.

In the months after my surgery I noticed that red marks appeared when I scratched. This was a curiosity that I attributed to some lingering imbalance in my body from dealing with the stress. However it swiftly escalated to unbearable itching, and soon I ended up with a mess of welts whenever I scratched or took my watch off, or ... or any of the hundred other things that happen every time you touch.

The welts begin as white marks on the skin, then red marks, which slowly welt up as hives form, then turn white and the skin around is red. It is worse on my body and decreases in visible reaction towards my extremities - my hands get red marks, but rarely the wheals.

This led to a search for both the reason and the cure - we identified my marks as urticaria, ('nettle rash') or more commonly, hives and tried various natural remedies to soothe it. All this time I was trying to attend lectures (and being terribly distracted by itching fits) and shelve books in the library (my hands suffered greatly) and discovering that I could write messages and distract people sitting next to me... (I am exceedingly mature).

And finally I tracked it down in one of our medical encyclopaedias - a brief paragraph describing my condition exactly, and naming it an allergic reaction. From that, it was off to the doctor.

The single other person that I have met with this condition, was a lady a couple of months ago in the library. She was european, late 40s (maybe 50s? People seem to always be older than I guess) and had the welts from scratching down her arm. It had just started up recently, and she didn't know what it was. So it can pop up spontaneously at all ages...

Physical urticaria is easily identified, but the literature usually stops there. One is allergic and one reacts to pressure. This condition is idiosyncratic and has many possible causes, and a variety of names. Treatment is vague and usually involves guesswork or antihistamines.

Watching Dermographism Emerge - Pictures over ten minutes - welts rising on my hand

Progess of dermographic urticaria on my hand
Progess of dermographic urticaria on my hand

I took the chance, after missing my antihistamines for a few days (around Christmas 2010), to finally take some photos. This is a picture of my hand, once every minute or two. The spiral was drawn with the blunt end of a pencil, and took about eight minutes to fully rise.

From top left... white lines, red lines, rising welts with red skin from the activity (and heat and itching) around them, and then the final result - welts and no red around it on the bottom right. This is known as the 'triple response of Lewis' (red line from capillary dilation; flare from arteriolar dilatation; wheal due to fluid).

It stayed there for about thirty minutes, and the white outline was visible for about quarter of an hour more. This isn't usual for me - but I haven't been off my antihistamines for months, so it seems it's changed a bit. Usually it lasts no more than 10-15 minutes.

Hands tend not to react as strongly or as visibly - I used to be unable to create a visible welt at all.

July 2011: I've been cutting out gluten (wheat, oats) and dairy (although not completely) from my diet, as well as managing a whole week without sugar (the horror), and I noticed my reactions seemed to be fading. I stopped taking Zyrtec (a.k.a. Cetirizine) for a couple of weeks to see if this was true, in case my antihistamine was just masking the symptoms. During that time, I started itching and getting welts and then after about a week, it faded away (Zyrtec takes two weeks to get out of your system, and you get withdrawal itchiness during that time as your histamine production sorts itself out and reacts to the remaining Zyrtec). Since then, I haven't seen a trace of my dermographism.

I still take my antihistamines a couple of times a week, because my cat makes me sneeze violently, but I'm needing them less and the dermographism is gone. Currently, I have three theories:

  1. I was intolerant to gluten and/or dairy (it seems that no matter what the problem, gut malfunctions always lead to dairy sensitivity) - however, I've not completely sure, and I've not actually managed to be completely anything-free. But I avoid gluten in my 'regular' diet, though I tend to give up on dairy!

  2. My environment is cleaner and there are fewer allergens around (it's the middle of winter. I still sneeze a lot indoors in rooms I always used to sneeze in, but less the rest of the time). This may mean it will return.

  3. My body has simply 'gotten over it' (another typical - and frustrating - trait of dermographism!)

  4. I'm simply less stressed/run down (it correlates to when I finally finished my postgrad degree and got to relax

August 2011: Aaagh itchies!

While it's still lying fairly low, the itching came back with a vengeance when I was sick, and again more recently. Itching red skin, and occasionnally lines - but no welts. I've also been sneezing a lot... so it could be because of spring. It could also be because I stopped being careful about what I ate and have been eating lots of dairy (no more gluten than usual, though).

Or again, it could be the #$$@#$# side effects of Zetop (cetirizine). I've been off it about four days (despite the sneezing) and I'll see what happens again.

That's me. The human lab rat!

January 2012: It got a bit worse again. I'm still on antihistamines, and it's still cetirizine (it just works best for me, and while it is annoying to come off it, I need it to control the sneezing as much as for the dermographism), but I usually take a pill every couple of days. Again, whether it's seasonal or diet related, or both, I still don't know.

May 2012 Ran out of pills. Welts lasting an hour. Send help!

But what I can say is that:

1, Moving to a place where I was generally less allergic to stuff helped.

2, Messing around with gluten, dairy and sugar did seem to cause changes, but I haven't been able to keep to a strict enough diet for at least three weeks to be absolutely certain which were to blame and how much they affected me.

3, Antihistamines are still the best way for me to keep it under control, and it generally only interferes when I either run out, or someone sees a red line on me and panics.

Nov 2012

I've switched back to Loratadine (Claratyne) from Cetirizine (Zetop) as I was concerned about depression and actually being allergic (or something) to the damn stuff (specifically a higher rate of sneezing and sniffling when on it, and insane itching when I try and get OFF it, and of course the fact my dermographism seems to just be getting worse). I've had depression, attention span, fatigue and weight gain issues for the last two years or so (not obvious at the time, but looking back I'm pretty sure something has been going on. I have been on the Cetirizine for about four years now, I think. Maybe three!). Please note that this is anecdotal. None of these have been huge enough for other people to really notice, though I may just be good at covering them. And even if my problems are real, they may not be caused by this, (other possible causes: diet, lifestyle, SAD, it's all in my head, actual immune/medical issues such as my dermographism going crazy all on its own). But as it's the only medication I'm taking and I CAN'T not take antihistamines, this seems to be the best way to see if its having any unpleasant side effects.

Claratyne isn't as strong for me, which was one reason I changed from it to Cetirizine. But as I live in a much less allergenic house now (and have a better diet) it should usually be enough. I am having to take it more often (daily, whereas I had the Cetirizine every other day). I don't sneeze half as much.

After I've been on it about a month (to give the Cetirizine time to get completely out of my system and to have a chance to see what only being on Claratyne looks like), I'm going to try stopping it and seeing what my dermographism looks like.

I will note that I'd rather be on the Cetirizine than nothing. It stops me getting sore/itchy throats, the sneezing is manageable, and it's strong enough to suppress its own symptoms. The only problem is when I run out - and I aim to discover if that's Cetirizine's fault or not (although there's plenty of anecdotal data online to suggest it is). It seems to be much stronger and more effective than Claratyne (kicks in a lot faster and definitely stays in my system longer; one reason I didn't take it daily was I found that I built up a 'buffer' of excess antihistamine in my system). Of course, this makes it harder to get rid off, as well!

Jan 2013 I've been on Loratadine for nearly two months. It covered the withdrawal symptoms of Ceterizine, which now appears to be completely out of my system. The Loratadine isn't as strong, and I had to take it every day as it wore off quickly, taking three (or even four!) pills on very bad pollen days (which are thankfully pretty rare).

I stopped taking Loratadine around New Year's and have been off it for a full week. I have minor itching/burning, and redness (it looks like a rash when I scratch) but very few welts. It's aggravating enough that I want to take my pills again, but it's not as severe as expected.

Current theories:

- low allergens due to season and diet and environment (I am also not sneezing much), so my dermographism isn't flaring up, quite separately from antihistamine issues.

- the last of the antihistamine is still in my system / it takes my body a while to 'restock' the excess antihistamine, and it's all going to explode on me in another week.

- my worst problem was indeed the cetirizine (I mean, one hour welts is just ridiculous!) so now it's all settling down again.

I guess I'll find out!

(Oh, still avoiding bread and dairy, but not consistently, and minor traces in a lot of different things).

Later in Jan 2013

Now I'm off antihistamines and not reacting much, I've been able to identify some of my symptoms as acid reflux, not allergies (asthma-like breathing issues when lying down, chronic cough, sudden sore throats - I seem to get genuine allergy sore throat reactions as well, but I was able to identify that many of them aren't).

The Difference Between 'Normal' Hives and Dermographism

Is all urticaria a dermographic reaction?

Hives are a standard feature of allergic reactions. If you are getting hives, this means that there is a histamine reaction going on. How and when they appear is what determines exactly what you are suffering from.

For example, if you had cold urticaria, drawing an icecube down your skin might produce a line, and falling in a cold pool might cause most of your body to swell up.

But if you had a violent allergic reaction to strawberries, you might pop up with spontaneous hives all over your body, or a rash, or your throat might swell up due to internal hives.

Physical urticarias means that the reaction is caused by a physical trigger such as touch, and then your body reacts in that particular spot. Random hives and rashes means that the problem is something else.

Treating Dermatographic Urticaria - I just want it to stop!

Some people are lucky, and it doesn't hurt. Good for them.

However, for some people, it hurts. Many have it disappear after a few months or a couple of years. But in the meantime they have to live with it - and believe me when I say 'living with it' is barely an option. I have trouble opening door handles and walking! Leaning back on a chair leads to a half hour scratching marathon. Brushing my hair...

So how to fix it? As far as I know, you can't 'fix' dermographism. But you can lessen the symptoms to a bearable level.

There are five possibilities that I have discovered:

Take antihistamines every dayAvoid the allergens.Herbal/Natural Remedies and Holistic Solutions (Detoxification and other things)Phototherapy (to be researched - although this is apparently only a short-term cure, so not actually useful for most people, and the only sites about it seem to be companies offering it)

You may be able to find more information in the links below, but I think I've covered everything. And I always want to hear if something worked for you.

Photos of My Dermographism

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Harry Potter scar!Tictactoe anyone? The grid has been there an hour...
Harry Potter scar!
Harry Potter scar!
Tictactoe anyone? The grid has been there an hour...
Tictactoe anyone? The grid has been there an hour...

Art on Your Skin - Ariana Page Russell - An artist who uses her dermographism to create artwork

Dermographic urticaria art from Ariana Page Russell
Dermographic urticaria art from Ariana Page Russell


Ariana Page Russell is an artist who uses her dermographia to create designs and patterns and photographs them. She then uses the photographs to create more art and designs.

She has some fantastic photos of some of the skin writing she has done, and has been interviewed below.

(I would draw your attention to the part when she says it does not hurt - for many people it does.)

Ali Yakubov - miracle or hoax?

This video covers the story of Ali Yakubov and discusses Dermographism about halfway through

"The story of little Ali Yakubov a Dagestani toddler who has been made the center of attention in a region desperate for hope. Is Ali a sign from God, or a hoax? Watch the video and decide."

Antihistamines - Take an antihistamine every day, keep the doctor, insanity and itching away,

As the urticaria is basically a histamine reaction it can be easily countered by taking antihistamines. I was prescribed the antihistamine Loratadine (sold over the counter as Claratyn or Claritin) which I took once a day, and saw an immediate improvement.

I was prescribed it once a day, but took it in the evening as well, as my hayfever and respiratory allergies had also increased. It took two or three days for it to work completely from scratch - and now if I stop taking them, it takes a couple of days to wear off completely. Non-sedative v sedative antihistamines

There is relatively little to choose between different antihistamines. The need to avoid sedation may affect which kind is picked. Combination H1 and H2 blockade may be helpful. Many antihistamines block histamine weals despite not preventing attacks; presumably because histamine is not the only mediator. Use continuous medication if attacks occur regularly, and as required if attacks are sporadic. Loratidine, mizolastine, fexofenadine and cetirizine are the most useful antihistamines for urticaria.

I have now had this condition for four years. Occasionally I stop taking my pills for a week to see if it's still there. It always is. It does not affect me from day to day, while I take antihistamines. I still get the red marks - and often have to explain to others that I did not hurt/scratch/burn myself - but I do not feel them. It might go away in a month, or a year. It might not.

Brand names, active ingredients and subsidised medicines

Often different companies will sell exactly the same medicine under different brand names. Look for the active ingredient, not the brand name. This may or may not affect which ones are subsidized or available over the counter - please check with your local pharmacist or doctor for more information, if you plan to buy this regularly. Please be aware that the anti-histamines can cause the usual terrible list of side effects. I have never noticed any, but they do exist. Please read the warnings on the box. Both the ones I discuss here are non-sedating.

Kirkland Signature Non Drowsy Allerclear Loratadine Tablets, Antihistamine, 10mg, 365-Count
Kirkland Signature Non Drowsy Allerclear Loratadine Tablets, Antihistamine, 10mg, 365-Count

Loratadine, also known as Claritin or Claratyne, is a non-sedating antihistamine that only needs to be taken once a day. Claratyne relieves symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis, (hay fever) such as sneezing, runny or itchy nose, and burning or itchy eyes. It is also used for the relief of symptoms and signs of chronic urticaria, (hives) and other allergic skin disorders. It is not considered addictive.


An Alternative Antihistamine - But the pills are still little and white...

Your body can build up an immunity to your antihistamine - if it no longer works, or if you suffer side effects, you might want to try a different kind. This year my doctor switched me to Cetirizine - (the current brand name is Zetop on my box, Zyrtec online). This was a precautionary measure, as I had been taken Loratadine twice a day for three years, rather then the recommended once a day. And possibly because the funding changed and this one was better subsidized.

I did trial another one, but it didn't work very well, and I can't remember the name... Razene, I think. Apparently that works well for other people.

Members Mark Cetirizine Allergy, Tablets, 350-Count
Members Mark Cetirizine Allergy, Tablets, 350-Count

A classic case of check the ingredient, not the brand name - Cetirizine is the active ingredient, and this product is effectively identical to the more expensive Zyrtec brand.


Avoiding the Allergens - Does removing the allergen fix dermographism?

Firstly, this involves identifying what you are actually allergic to (or if it IS an allergic reaction). If you can't do that, then you can't avoid them. Some people have reported tremendous success with avoiding dairy, for example. My allergens however are environmental and many.

I recently had a perfect test case for this option - I went travelling overseas, back to visit my family in the UK, and at one point forgot my antihistamines.Now, the thing about my home is that I have evolved perfectly to be allergic to everything in the area - the cats, the neighbour's dogs, the dust, the mould growing under the plaster in my walls, and of course, the bush. New Zealand is quite bad for allergies, due to its humidity - and of course, I blame the bush itself. I end up sneezing violently two steps into the treeline. I suspect the invasive weed Tradescantia (also known as Wandering Jew, Purple Heart and Purple Queen) may be partly responsible - it grows everywhere and spreads a lot of spores around, which have been implicated in allergy attacks. Unlike pollen, spores (usually from moulds and fungi) are released in damp and humid conditions, at any time of the year.

And the thing about England was that, especially in winter, none of these allergens existed. Three days with no antihistamines and I had never a sniff. Not a single smidgen of hayfever. Nothing in the way of allergic reactions.

Oh wait.

Within two days, I was itching. Within three, I was going mad. Lack of obvious allergens did NOT stop the dermographic reaction. Or not exactly... I never got the dreadful welts, just the itching and burning, red lines and occasionally tiny hives.

So in conclusion? It might have worked, if I'd held out for another week or been in a certifiably 'pure' environment.The hives don't appear as much, the dramatic welts aren't there...But the itching and burning doesn't stop - and that's the important part.

Where Am I Now? Allergy Free Environments CAN Cure Dermatographic Urticaria

Since writing this lens, I have moved out of home and into a flat (yes, I'm a student!) away from the bush, the mould, the dust...

My dermographism almost disappeared. I still sneeze, I still get red lines - even welts, if I've been carrying something heavy. But I barely notice it. I forget to take my antihistamines for a couple of days, until the sneezing starts.

When I go back to visit, I take my antihistamines because after 2-3 days, the welts return.

Dermatographic welts on my arm from leaning on something
Dermatographic welts on my arm from leaning on something

Allergies caused my dermatographic urticaria

I should also mention that my diet has changed slightly (less gluten), and while we do have cats around (an outdoor one and a kitten that we caught from a litter of strays and now follows me everywhere, and climbs on me at every opportunity, the quick turnaround when I go back up to the bush makes me think it's definitely allergy based.

Edit 1st January, 2011: I got caught without my antihistamines while around home and my welts are back and most aggravating. Oddly, they are now lasting up to a full hour, especially on my arms.

Antibiotics and Digestion

One theory I have seen, that seems to fit many cases, is that antibiotics destroy the stomach enzymes and digestive bacteria, causing your body to over-react to certain foods or allergens.

Natural Herbal Remedies and Holistic Solutions - Do they work? Can I avoid the chemicals?

Most of the sites I've found about dealing with Dermographism usually promote some form of 'All Natural Product' - however I cannot tell you if they work. Also, many natural remedies (apparently) require time to 'balance' you, so to speak.

While I would like not to be taking pills everyday, I'd enjoy the alternative a lot less. And so I've been a little leery of attempting any holistic experimentation. What I do know, and have tried, I'll describe here.

Firstly; there are theories that it is a symptom of underlying immune problems,

These are possibly tied to Celiac disease, thyroid disorders and gluten intolerance (which are also linked to Asperger's Syndrome, something else I have mild symptoms of). If you have any of these conditions, addressing them may help your dermographism.

I have seen suggestions that people try immuno-depressants - or change your diet and see what the effect is. While this does make sense, I DO NOT KNOW what truth there is in this, what steps you would have to take, and how long the process would take to help you.

Secondly; Nettles and Urticaria

Urticaria is taken from the name for the nettle genus Urtica, due to the similarity to the nettle rash caused by stings from the Stinging Nettle. The rash is actually very similar in cause, effect and treatment (anticortisones and antihistamines) to allergy hives.

When I was first trying to identify my symptoms, my mother found out that I was displaying urticaria (we didn't know this was just the name for hives) and bought an extract of nettle for me to take a few drops of, every day. I have also tried drinking nettle tea (bought in the UK, not available locally in New Zealand) which was frankly rather boring. For both the 'nettle' related products, I noticed no particular difference.

Thirdly; Soothing the Hives

The last thing we tried was balms for the welts - violet and chamomile, with oil and beeswax, from the local market. Violet to heal and chamomile to soothe itching... I applied them on the welts and yes, they worked. The itching was soothed and this lovely cool greasy balm smelt nice, so I took to carrying it around. Of course,that didn't last long, as they didn't stop NEW welts - which meant I just ended up with very greasy skin and still itching. They would have been very good for eczema or psioriasis, though. There's also Kukui Oil, which does not make your skin greasy and is apparently very soothing.

Fourthly; Acupuncture

I only know about this from what I have read, but acupuncture has long been used by the Chinese to address skin conditions. Studies report improvement for acute (short term) urticaria, but nothing conclusive for chronic urticaria.

The Immune System, Antibiotics and Dermographism - Gluten and Digestion. A common connection - a possible cure?

Dermographism is basically an exaggerated response of the immune system to certain substances. It is the same thing that happens with allergies - overproduction of histamines - which is why antihistamines help. It is controlled by the immune system, which is probably why it appears connected to many immune disorders.

However a common theme in many cases is antibiotics and food intolerances. Strong antibiotics destroy the bacteria cultures in your stomach - which is why you should eat yoghurt when you take them to replace these! It is entirely feasible that they have an effect on your digestion and immune system reactions.

Several anecdotes from people - and there really are only anecdotes - have had success with identifying certain foods that they are very sensitive too (sugar, dairy or gluten, tend to be the commonest) and avoiding these, or by 'cleansing' their systems, over a month or two of careful eating to purge their systems and replacing the missing bacteria or giving themselves a chance to heal (it is all speculative).

This article on just how bad gluten is for you points out that it can lead to autoimmune disorders - which is basically what dermographism is. (It's a chapter from the book The Paleo Solution, which you can find below)

The Paleo Solution - Give it thirty days.

The blurb on this is ridiculously over-promotional but the reviews bear it out and I was impressed with the chapter about gluten that I did read (linked above and again here if you're curious). Gluten is attracting an increasing amount of suspicion... sadly pasta is so is easy to cook!

Books About Allergic Urticaria and Antihistamines You Can Buy - If you need more information, or have enough to act on, these may be what you go to next

Because dermographism is such a 'straightforward' problem, there isn't much written about it. And because it is rare, non-fatal, and mostly mysterious, once you have identified it as dermographism there isn't much more information out there, except from people's experiences. These books are the only ones generally available that are of any use.

the antihistamines are a very good investment, however, if your dermographism is allergic in nature. I can't survive long without mine! I have to - depending where I'm living - take between 2 a day to one every three days, and I cannot go longer without the pain and itching coming back too strongly to cope with. I get three months supply at a time from the doctors, which is a lot of pills!

If you do decide to try the detox/bowel cleansing route, please take care - especially if you are pregnant, on medication, or have pther health issues. Also remember to take some form of probiotics (yoghurt, at the very least) to replace the bacteria cultures in your stomach afterwards. I've looked up a few books to start with - hopefully they'll help if you do try this route (and I'd be interested in hearing what happens).

The Best It Gets - Minor Urticaria - I scratched my arm just now before I started writing ten minutes ago, and got two red lines - they're just fading to pink..

The given percentage of the population with dermographism is supposed to be 5%. And yet it also appears to be a very rare condition... how can both be true?

My theory is that the 5% includes everyone who reacts in some way - not just the dramatically whealing and welting people - are included in that number. My brother and my mother both get red marks from scratching at their skin. They exhibit very minor dermographia. They do not get hives.

They look like this

In fact, they are nearly comparable to the red marks I get when on antihistamines, or when I am in an allergen-free environment (note: for the former, I do not usually itch, for the latter, I definitely do.) While my marks last longer, they look the same.

For an example of the amount of welting - the standard amount when on antihistamines or when not constantly breathing cat fluff or pollen, the video below is pretty close.

Furthermore - every time she scratches her nose, or brushes her hair back, or touches her face? Everytime that happens, there's a chance she's caused a red mark to appear. Now imagine walking around with scratches all over your face...

Natural Remedies or Go to the Doctor? - What works and what's worth it when trying to cure Dermatographic Urticaria?

While being forced to buy antihistamine medicine longterm is a pain, and possibly a strain on the wallet, at least they work. (I get mine prescribed, and therefore save through the funding for prescribed medicine and by going, as a student, to the subsidised University doctors). There are many stories floating around of miracle cures - no two alike, and more believable allevation of symptoms from homeopathic remedies or cutting certain foods out of your diet, such as milk. Some people claim that certain drugs increase and perpetuate their dermographism.

I do not know what is available in your area, but both the antihistamines I take are available both on prescription and over the counter in the UK and USA, as well as on Amazon - check the wikipedia articles or talk to your local pharmacist (chemist) or doctor for updated and relevant details. For homeopathy, I really do not know. One aspect of homepathy is that what is right for each patient can vary significantly, so even if something had worked for me, it might not be right for you.

Has anything ever worked for you? Is it worth the time and effort?

Is it worth trying a homepathic remedy?

Dermographism affects the skin, and its ability to be touched. - The importance of holding in our insides


The skin is one of our most important organs, and also possibly the most sensitive. It is vital for touching, feeling, and not leaking. Skin protects us against pathogens, and reduces dehydration. It insulates us, sweats, provides vitamin D, scars, blushes, burns and wrinkles up. It is used as a visual form of communication - we are judged by our skin, be it colour, health, attractiveness...

Dermatographic Urticaria

Dermographia interferes with our ability to touch and be touched. Out of control scratching can cause damage to the skin. Ugly red marks influence other people's judgements and reactions.


Touch is an incredibly important part of human development. Touch deprivation has a hugely negative impact on the behavioral, health and physiological development of people - up to, and including premature death in babies.

Expressing Yourself: Body Art and Skin Writing - Body Painting, Henna (Mehandi), and Tattoos

From henna, to tattoos; painting pictures on yourself in pregnancy to painting pictures on others in love; inscribing meaningful words on your skin in statement and in appreciation - expressing yourself through your skin has an important and beautiful role in human culture. Peter Greenaway's Pillow Book describes the story of a young woman whose life revolves around the words her lovers write on her body

Tattoos and Dermographism - Can I get tattoos if I have Dermatographic Urticaria?

Tattooing involves pressure on your skin. This means hives and welts will form and as the skin will distort while the tattoo is being applied. If the skin swells and bleeds too much, the tattoo will be permanently blurred and distorted. As dermographism is often due to other underlying issues, such as autoimmune disorders, there is also a higher chance of your skin rejecting the tattoo ink.

But can you still get a tattoo if you have dermographism? The answer to this is 'maybe' and talk to your doctor and tattooist. Dermographism leads to a higher risk of distortion, scar tissue and uneven take-up of the ink.

You will need to consider what exactly causes your dermographism and how severely you will react. You can minimise the problem by taking antihistamines beforehand, and an experienced tattoo artist can probably work around the welting. It may also be a good idea to have a small test tattoo done. Also remember that tattoos itch when healing! You will have to be very careful not to scratch it - much more careful than most people.

Looking through the scientific and medical literature (the joys of being a student) I found one anecdotal study from 1973, which observed that dermographia was greater in tattooed areas. K. V. Thiruvengadam, K. Haranath, T. S. Sekar and K. R. Rajagopal. 1973. The British Medical Journal, (4), 5893, pp. 674-675

And did your dermographism interfere?

Have You Ever Gotten A Tattoo?

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Delayed Pressure Urticaria - A Slower Form of Dermographia

Delayed Pressure Urticaria is similar to dermographism, except that instead of an immediate to ten minute reaction, the hives may not appear for three to twelve hours after the instigation and then lasts for hours more. Because the reaction is much greater, it can also lead to generally feeling very ill for a day or two.

I know of one person in real life who has this condition, and it appeared to be triggered by a surgical implant. He had to go on cortisone to control it, but has since switch to homeopathy.

Can Allergies Be Cured? - Some can.

Chronic allergies can spiral into all kinds of other health problems. While I have never tried to 'fix' mine, as they are quite bearable, this is the best book I've found on the subject of curing one's allergies.

Please read the comments for specific cases and reviews from numerous people who have tried the NAET method. Most of them are highly positive - Be warned, though, that it is apparently designed to work in conjunction with a trained practitioner, and if you do not have access to one, I'm not sure if this will help you. (From the comments, NAET practitioners exist in the US, Australia and Britain - and probably other places as well).

Say Good-Bye to Illness (3rd Edition)
Say Good-Bye to Illness (3rd Edition)

THIS IS NOT A SELF-HELP BOOK as I had thought. As the doctor notes on page xxxv :The framework of this book is drawn from a formal dissertational I submitted as a basis for my doctorate degree"

This information is not helpful for treating people who live too far from a NAET practitioner or who may not be able to afford care. As the doctor states on page 28, "This book will teach you how to test yourself and locate your problem. STEPS OF TREATMENT ARE NOT GIVEN HERE BECAUSE THAT IS BEYOND THE SCOPE OF THIS BOOK. NAET TRAINING IS LIMITED TO ACTIVELY LICENSED MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS ONLY"


This was my second time buying this book. My first one has traveled through many hands and has yet to return. The information is so intriguing and validating. Most of my childrens allergies have been treated and elliminated and their health problems have disappeared-just as I hoped they would after reading this book and going through these treatments. The technique described (NAET) is phenomenol. It works. I just wish I didn't wait a year to call the Doctor in our area who performed it. Literally this is medicine of the future.


Stories of people having rid themselves of plaguing pains and illnesses and how NAET successfully eradicated health conditions like peanut anaphylaxis, allergy to shellfish, constant sciatic pain, food allergies, hives, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, colitis, lactose intolerance, hay fever, bronchitis, asthma, dust allergy, eczema, hair loss, arthritis, osteoarthritis, sports injury, psoriasis, lupus, bed wetting, allergy to dairy, PMS, sinus headaches, migraines, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, osteoporosis, diaper rash and so many more which all help the reader truly understand the miracle that is NAET.


When Did Your Dermographism Appear?

Did you first get it as a child or not notice until your forties?

Dermographism is common in children, and early teens after which it supposedly clears up. however I have also read authoritative statements claiming that the late teens-early twenties is the mostly likely time for an outbreak. and again, it is said to be common throughout mid-late life

Help figure this out and tell us when your dermographism appeared? (If you are answering this for another person, such as a child, please pretend you are answering AS the child, as you can only vote once per IP or Browser or Squidoo log-in)

When did you first notice your dermographism?

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Do You Have Gluten In Your Diet?

Just testing a hypothesis here!

If you read through the first section, you'd see there was a section on diet, immune disorders and gluten. It's all conjecture and people's personal stories, unfortunately. However, there does seem to be some sound science against gluten - grains, oats, quinoa, anything like that.

So I'm curious, do you have gluten in your diet? (And most of us do, so it doesn't prove much). Did you ever try cutting it out? (And it would have had to have been about three weeks or more to count).

Do you have gluten in your diet? Or did you cut it out and see an improvement?

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Sweeten the Statistics: What About Sugar?

Another common culprit. Maybe.

Sugar's something else that often gets blamed, and a few people have said they've seen improvements - as long as they don't eat it. Or occasionally, if they don't eat it for long enough to give their body a rest or a cleanse, then they're fine.

The problem is, people who cut out sugar are more likely to be eating more healthily anyway - and exercising! So they'll be less fatigued, possibly eating less of other foods, drinking more water... this muddles the issue somewhat.

Have you tried not eating sugar? Did it make a difference?

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Did Dairy Do It? - Or does your dermographism remain undecipherable?

Have you tried not eating dairy and was a link found to your dermographism?

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Were You On Antibiotics Before Your Dermographic Urticaria Occurred?

Antibiotics appear to be a common 'trigger' - but how common?

One of the things people tend to mention a lot when describing their experiences is that they were on antibiotics shortly previously - and as you may have read on the previous page, this may have an lasting effect on you by destroying your stomach cultures and from there to your immune system by increasing your 'internal' sensitivity to certain substances.

On the other hand, it may just be coincidence. It's possible that getting sick/infected is what triggered the reaction. I don't think it was co-incidence in my case - I can't remember the last time I took antibiotics apart from the major surgery that preceded my dermographism, but one person doesn't prove anything!

Were you taking antibiotics when, or shortly before (ie within half a year) of noticing your dermographism?

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Do You Have Any Other Auto-Immune Disorders?

This is an awfully vague question for a frustrating area of medicine!

The label Autoimmune disease covers a long list of accepted, suspected and possible conditions.

For example: Coeliac Disease, Diabetes mellitus type 1, Lupus erythematosus, Narcolepsy, Psoriasis, Ulcerative Colitis (one of two types of idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease "IBD")

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Kawasaki's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Schizophrenia are all suspected Autoimmune diseases. Being on the autism spectrum has also been tentatively linked to both genetic and autoimmune disorders.

Have you been diagnosed with any autoimmune disorders or diseases?

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Are You Allergic to Anything Else?

Or are spontaneous skin welts your only flaw?

Dermographic urticaria is anecdotally linked to allergies, immune disorders and food intolerance - all issues with the immune system reacting too strongly, or against the wrong thing, but there's no common feature of all of the stories. It doesn't help that sometimes allergies and food sensitivity can be hard to identify!

Do you have any known allergies or sensitivities?

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Does Anyone Else In Your Family Have Dermographism? - Is yours genetic? or are you just unlucky?

Do any of your relatives have dermographism or any (possibly) related conditions?

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How Long Did Your Dermographism Last?

How long have you had it for? How long until it went away?

Outbreaks of dermatographic urticaria can last from days to years, appear once or recur frequently.

How long did your dermographism last for? (How long have you had it for, if you still have it?)

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Or did you find a cure?

Do You Still Have Your Dermographism?

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Was it worth taking antihistamines for your dermographism?

Did Antihistamines Help You?

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What About Gender?

Is there a bias for dermographism sufferers?

While most of the (very short) medical blurbs about dermographism claim that females are more likely to suffer this condition, anecdotally I haven't seen a difference (the stories online seem as likely to be from men as from women).

Edit: The results are 3/4 female so far. Of course, that could mean women are a) more likely to be researching Dermographism and finding this page or b) to be answering polls!

What is your biological sex?

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Dermatographism on DeviantART

Dermographism on the inside of my wrist
Dermographism on the inside of my wrist

Please leave others a comment below.

Will you share your story about dermographism?

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What's Your Experience With Dermographism?

Will you write a comment in the guestbook?
Will you write a comment in the guestbook?

Have you ever seen anyone with dermographism? Does yours vary from what I have described?

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    • profile image

      thomas 2 years ago

      I have been suffering from (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) disease for the past two years and had constant pain, especially in my knees. During the first year,I had faith in God that i would be healed someday.This disease started circulating all over my body and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i came on search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the prevention of this disease, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from (Hepatitis B and Cancer) by this Man Dr Lbezim and she also gave the email address: (( of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to Dr. Lbezim telling him about my (HERPES Virus) he told me not to worry that i was going to be cured!! hmm i never believed it,, well after all the procedures and remedy given to me by this man few weeks later i started experiencing changes all over me as the Dr assured me that i have cured,after some time i went to my doctor to confirmed if i have be finally healed behold it was TRUE, So friends my advise is if you have such sickness or any other at all you can email::

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      tisury1 3 years ago

      This is a follow up to my previous post. After reading through all these comments, I had some things similar to other people. I will be 54 this week. When I was 26, it was discovered I had a high white blood count. Still do. They just consider it the norm for me. Right before I developed the dermatographia symptoms, I suddenly became allergic to medical tape. Can only use fabric tapes now. I do not know of any allergies, except an allergy to the antibiotic Augmentin many many years ago. Although when I was 35 - 19 years ago, I was sent to the hospital 2 times in one week, once by ambulance, because I was covered in hives and they were afraid my breathing would be cut off. Never did find out what caused that. Recently I have had severe edema twice in my feet and legs that they could find no reason for. I also have a hiatal hernia and take Prilosec everyday for it. But have found when the hives flare up, I still get horrible heart burn and indigestion. I don't know if any of this has anything to with the dermographic urticaria, but I saw that other people mentioned these things.

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      skinwriteranonymous 3 years ago

      I spend much time going through all message boards, articles and publications since the day i discovered i had dermatographia, trying to find a solution or at least a clue that would cause some relief. I feel obligated to type out my own experience and add a possible solution (or at least a clue) to what is already known about this condition.

      * Just skip to the last 3 paragraphs if you want to avoid my tearjerker life history ramblings:

      A little history. Im a 30 year old male and about 1.5 years ago amidst a very stressful period i developed dermatographia.

      It started on a random day: someone noticed my face and neck were red. I looked in the mirror and it was swollen. I figured an insect bit me or some other allergic reaction. Later that day i found out that wherever i would touch myself: it would get red, swell and start itching. A mosquito bite type of itch, impossible to ignore.

      Not familiar with dermatographia and having a history with allergies i figured some substance was on my hands or in my direct environment that caused all this.

      For a week i spend most of my time washing all things in my environment, my clothes, my bed and so on to get this stuff that made me allergic out of my environment and system.

      It didnt help, my skin condition only got worse: the smallest touch (where before i had to scratch) would make my skin itchy and swell like an insect bite for 30-45 minutes. After a week it got so bad that changing clothes, walking, sitting, shaking someones hand or anything else that created pressure on the body would cause itching and swelling from hell on and near the area touched.

      Sometimes at night i would scratch myself by accident causing swelling and itching, i would scratch more, more swelling and itching and by the time i realized what i was doing of my body would be swollen (legs, back, bottocks, stomach area!): the appearance identical to that of someone who had scartissue from a severe fire accident. Swollen, thick, itchy hot skin. Terrible.

      By then i realized it was not a normal allergy, not caused by some external factors and the internet taught me about Dermtographia. I could write texts on my skin! After hours (days!) of obsessive internet research most people seem to indicate it is food related so the months that followed i focussed on food: changing diets, leaving out certain ingredients, trying oats, adding vitamins, trying different brands of mineral water: all ideas and tips available on the net i tried them. Nothing worked.

      (Only thing i did notice that for some reason my symptoms got worse after eating a lot of processed sugars. Drinking cola or eating mcdonalds for example would almost instantly create an itch-attack causing my skin to swell much faster than normal.).

      After some month where i could find nothing that would make any _substantial_ difference i decided to move on to the next phase: anti-histamines:

      I bought a random type of antihistamine (first generation as i later learned) and wow: no more swelling and itching after 30 minutes taking a small pill! What a relief! No more itching!

      But within a few hours i learned about the downsides: i got tired, decided to take a small nap.. and woke up 24 hours later! Heavy sedation from a pill just a few millimeters big for almost 48 hours. Not good!

      Second disadvantage: although no more itching and swelling: the anti histamine seemed to make my skin even more red when touched and not just red: a more unnatural type of red that would last for an hour instead of 30 minutes: touching my face, neck or hands by accident during the day really made me look like a clown.

      During this period i also did several blood and urine tests even an allround STD test: all came out normal.

      I soon discovered second generation antihistamines (that would still make me tired but not as much) but unfortunately they all caused my skin to turn orange instead of red when touched.

      (Note for antihistamine users: i experimented with 8 different antihistamines: the one most effective and least sedative was Loratadine / Lorano. If you intend to take antihistamine daily take a half or even of a pill instead of 1. Same effect after a week of buildup, your body will not become resistent to it as fast as when you take 1 a day and less side effects (sedation).

      Hard to believe such small pill can be so powerful but it works.... If after some months the effects of your antihistamine become less: switch to another one.)

      After 9 months or so i got used to my condition, quit using antihistamines and trained myself enough to avoid most things that would cause symptoms. (interesting how your brain adapts, from how you shave, sit down, take of your tshirt, touch your neck, learn to not scratch yourself when you itchy etc. You automatically adapt your habits to avoid skin pressure).

      Except for public embarrassment (shopping for clothes and trying them on in the shop? or getting a haircut anyone..?) i got used to it.

      A month ago i developed a urinal tract/bladder infection. Nothing special, just painful when peeing. So i went to the doctor and he prescribed me an antibiotic (Norfloxacin 400mg). 2 pills a day for 7 days. Simple treatment. I took the pills, 3 days later my bladder infection symptoms went away. All good.

      Next day i walk on the street with a girl and we were fooling around and as a joke she grabbed me by my neck with her hand. She didnt know i have dermatographia but i ofcourse knew that 3 minutes later my neck would be so swollen and red it would look as if someone had tried to strangle me...oh boy.

      3 minutes later i looked into a mirror to see how bad the damage was and i was stunned: just a few spots where her fingers touched my neck but nothing severe!

      5 minutes later even those spots were already gone and my neck was back normal!

      I quickly found myself a paperclip and did some scratchtests on my arms and hands: skin would still become a bit more red compared to a normal person but no more swelling and itching!! And 5 minutes later the red would already dissapear. Conclusion: my Dermatographia dissapeared for at least 90% compared to a week earlier!!

      My obvious conclusion is that there is a relationship between the antibiotic treatment and the disappearance of most of my Dermatographia symptoms. During my research days i did find a few messages on several messageboards claiming peoples symptoms went away after their infection was healed but didnt put much weight to it.

      Another thing that changed since my small antibiotics treatment that could be a clue: bowel movements. I wasnt really aware i had a problem with this (they were irregular and i always had issues with my bowels but i have a terrible diet and fast lifestyle so i figured this was the cause) but since my antibiotics treatment i am regular and somewhat normal again.

      This leads me to 2 conclusions:

      Although no signs of any infection, viruses, yeast fungal issues or other things were found during labtests i did earlier:

      Maybe somewhere in my system there is/was a bacterial infection that also caused my dermatographia symptoms and it got fixed with the antibiotics treatment.

      Maybe it was a bacterial imbalance in my bowel system causing my Dermatographia symptoms and it got fixed with the antibiotics treatment. The latter seems most logical because i suppose any other infection in the body for over 1.5 years would have caused some symptoms (pain).

      I hope this information may be useful or a piece of the puzzle for someone out there trying to solve the mystery of this condition that seems to come and go without a clear reason.


      Skinwriter Anonymous

      19 july 2014

    • profile image

      lauxeck 4 years ago

      I really didn't know about Dermographism (and apparently nor google since it suggests me to put Demographics Lol), but I got to say I'm tremendously impressed with your research and findings! One thing to be real proud of is your will to dig deeper into this and show its nature to people!

      Even though you put a lot in curing/treating dermographism I'd like to suggest you Chapter 2 of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill... There is a true story there about his son and I think you'll be amazingly surprised by that book!

      I wish you the best for your health!


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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: this is really interesting.. I want to try this too.. I don't want to take drugs everyday.. do you think its one more than the other.. maybe sugar??



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      anonymous 4 years ago

      we have overcome it,..

      After 18 months of pain and no answers from our Doctor (who just prescribed more antihistamines) a dermatologist diagnosed my 12 year old daughter with dermagraphism.. he said "read as much as u can and decide your own route from here". My daughter's skin got really itchy in the evenings, reduced to tears and we even resorted to her bathing in our swimming pool in the middle of winter.. freezing, but soothed her skin which she couldn't "climb out of". After reading many blogs we told her she was allergic to: wheat, dairy and SUGAR and we were not going to give her drugs to help as those who's blogs we had read, said that, had they know now what damage the drugs did, they wouldn't have taken the drugs (antihistamines). So we stopped wheat, dairy and sugar.. COLD TURKEY. We are 11 months down the road and she has had two mild recurrences ... and we know why its happened when it's come back. At a cake sale at school, a mom who's daughter is gluten intolerant told her that their cakes were safe.. forgetting the sugar issue! and the other time, she ate pre-marinated meat.

      The hardest thing to watch out for is sugar, because it is in everything ! literally every boxed thing out of the shops has sugar in it. I use xylitol, agarve, honey as sweeteners now.. baking is very difficult as the gluten free flours just don't bind! But that is it for her.. no sugar, no wheat and no dairy. simple really. she lost 8kg in 3 months - she had it to loose. She looks much better for it. Her blocked sinuses are no longer blocked. She has just recently had a few sneezy days, but that must be our dry, dusty winter air.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      ANSWERS! IT FEELS SO GOOD TO HAVE ANSWERS! A few years ago, my skin began breaking out into hives. Whenever I scratched my skin, it would look like I was attacked! Last year, I did finally go to an allergist and he didn't really know what to say, except for that it was definitely urticaria (and to avoid stress, ibuprofen, and excessive heat). I did some research on it and saw dermographic urticaria, but I felt as if it was too extreme for what was happening to me....until today (9 months later), when I decided to look up what else could be the cause and actually READ the information on dermographism....and everything I have read is exactly me! My skin begins to tingle a little, as if I have an itch, followed by a warm sensation, then it puffs up in the form of whatever scratched it. If I am accidentally slapped, the lines form in that hand shape (working with little kids, I have received handprint tattoos for an hour), or pressure against my skin causes it to swell up. I have also noticed it mostly happens when I am stressed or enter a warm climate (thus whenever my external body temperature is raised). It also lasts for 20-40 minutes, causing people to freak out and ask if I am ok! It never hurts either, just really uncomfortable. It's amazing what the human body can do!

    • amosvee profile image

      amosvee 4 years ago

      I am sorry you suffer from this, but it is fascinating, and you covered it very thoroughly and engagingly. I am starting to think that many people are pre-disposed to have trouble with grains and gluten, and I'm trying (for other ailments) to rid my diet of them.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Onset for me was s semester into medical school- my advisor says it is stress but I'm not entirely convinced thats it. I take an OTC antihistamine everyday but it still happens in the evenings. My back, stomach, knees, ankles, and elbows are the worst. Acquired a gluten intolerance 6 mo prior. Really distracting at night when I need to study. Thank God for antihistamines though- I can at least fall asleep now. Was allergy symptom free after 5 yrs of allergy shots, for at least a year until Med School. Looking forward to the Skin, Blood, and Lymph blockthis fall- perhaps it will provide some insight?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I got diagnosed with Dermographism almost a year ago. I am 24 years old. The only thing I can contribute it to is STESS! I have been under tremendous stress and it has led to other medical issues as well. My Dr. Prescribed 2 antihistamines. 1 in the morn and 1 at night cuz it was pretty severe. Absolutely anything that touched my body anywhere would cause a scratch and then a welt and extreme itchiness!

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      touchreader 4 years ago

      I've never known anyone with dermographism. This is the first I have heard of it. I'm sure I've met people that had the condition but I just didn't know it. This has been very information. Thank you for the lens.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi and thanks for this site - it's been so helpful! I've been suffering with breakouts of hives for the past several months - I've recently bought a house, and many people have suggested that the hives were the result of stress from the move. I do believe that's what triggered it, but after seeing this site and a few more I'm convinced I have dermographism! I have no other allergies that I know of, but I do suffer from low thyroid function, which I've seen in a few places may be linked to dermographism. Since a bad flare-up a few days ago, I've been photographing and documenting my hives pretty well - I guess I should go to the doctor and get an official diagnosis, even though there's no doubt in my mind that I've got dermographism. I'm also going to try researching the link between dermography and thyroid. Thanks so much, you've been so helpful! And if you'd like photos, I've taken a few this weekend.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have had this since I was a child. I am now 43. I scratch, I welt, & people freak out. It goes away within 30 mins., so no big deal. I am an elementary school teacher and have to explain to my students every year about my skin. When they first see it, they get worried. I just laugh it off. It goes away. I have met one other person (another teacher) with the same disorder. I have my ears pierced (since I was 7), no problems. No choice though. This is just something I have always lived with & when I welt, my kids tell me to stop scratching ( I don't even realize it), but it goes away & life goes on. :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm 15, i can't remember when i exactly developed it but i think it was just after i broke my left wrist. it was a bad break as the tenant got trapped between the bone and i had ro endure a two and a half hour operation. My hives constantly bug me although they seem to be improving. I am constantly getting embarrassed at school if i get hit with the ball in p.e or something and i suddenly develop a huge red mark. i have perviously researched it but i do not want to take tablets because they make me feel hazy. I have just started researching again recently because i'm looking into getting a nose piercing but i don't want to take an allergic reaction. does anyone have problems with piercings?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I developed this condition when I was about 14 years old (I am now almost 25). I first noticed it while I was trying on clothes with a friend at the mall, who pointed it out to me. I was immediately embarrassed. I have seen one dermatologist, who told me that I might grow out of it - clearly that hasn't happened. My father has Celiac disease so it's possible he passed that on to me, but I haven't been tested for it yet. I don't have any other symptoms of the disease, however, I understand it can present very differently in everyone. I have not tried taking anti-histamines because they make me feel like a zombie. I wish the medical world had a better understanding of this disease. I realize it's not life threatening, but it's a constant nuisance. I hate when people point out welts to me (that I didn't even know were there) and ask about it. I was so worried about welts being noticeable in my wedding photos (luckily I was welt free during photos). I have been doing research on this disease for years and still feel like I don't completely understand it.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I developed Dermographism after I was diagnosed with Crohns disease. I just live with it, but do have to take an antihistamine every day. If I miss a day, it's okay, but if I miss two days without the antihistamine then I am itching from the top of my head to my toes. I just live with it. It is what it is. It does get some screwed up faces from the people I come into contact with when I'm welted up, but I try to explain as best I can. I have so far not have anybody say that they know anyone else with it, so it must not be all that common....

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      A long time member of the itchy club I have been on generic ATARAX LIQUID, about 1/8+ tsp at night. Skip a night? OK. Skip two and I'll suffer, head to toe. After almost 40 years- that's what I said- it is the only thing that works consistently. Oatmeal baths, Calydryl lotion, Benadryl, etc. are all short, short term band aids. Current P.A. Thinks I should wean from it as I have been on it soooooooo long. I found a new health care provider! Don't know of underlying conditions other than personal experience: thyroid disease and thyroid cancer, skin cancer and possible glycogen storage disease.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am in agony. I am having to take fexo180 every day to reduce the itching and the embarrassing welts. My partner and I are wanting to start a family and I am scared that the tablets I am taking is going to affect this(says not to take when pregnant or trying to concieve)? I am over weight, and I suspect that this disease has something to do with my rapid weight gain. PLEASE PLEASE, Someone help me work this out. Its driving me insane! :(

    • LovelyMom77 profile image

      LovelyMom77 5 years ago

      I never knew of this and it was a VERY interesting read. BEST of LUCK!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm thirty one years old. I've never had skin problems other than acne all my life. After four kids all of a sudden I've been itching terrible so,my chest, my arms, head, back, my chin and neck. I welt so bad till it looks like Braille, sometimes like scratchirri marks but most areas just looked all blotchy n red n sitting up from myn skin like minor keloids. I'm so happy I'm not alone,I pray constantly about this matter n in faith hope for healing. Its embarrassing nirritating

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      oiloflife 5 years ago

      Terrific lens! Thanks for all of the other lens references and online resources.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: sorry to say topical treatments dont help at all, at least for me. believe me, i've tried them all! i got a tattoo and i had no problems, but it was also a small tattoo so it didnt take long. hope this helps

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am 25 now, i first started getting symptoms when i was 21, just 5 months after i had my oldest son. i would get insanely itchy and i couldn't resist scratching, it was especially bad on my back, head and my stomach, my back would look like one of those bumby topagraphical maps. sometimes it would only last for a couple hours, sometimes for a day or 2. my doc and i did the whole, eliminating riggers thing and nothing worked, benedryl didnt work. she gave me an antihistemine that knocked me out for a day or 2 but i couldnt really take them because i have kids, not sure if they even stopped the itching, i was passed out,lol. i was miserable, stress makes it worse. i hated bringing groceries inside because the plastic handles would leave red welted stripes all over my wrists for hours. i went to a dermatologist and she diagnosed me with dermographism. i take zyrtec once a day and it helps, but not as much as it used to. especially if i'm stressed out or overtired or sick. I've resigned myself to being itchy and bumpy for the rest of my life, with a small glimmer of hope that it will just go away someday,like they say it can

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Ive come across this site , i was wondering if anybody knew of anyone doing this to themselves? im constantley digging objects into my arm and legs to make imprints , i absoloutley love the feel of the texture of it, I take pictures after just to look back on . When i finish making patterns ect, irl just rub my hand over the patch and it just gives me shivers . i love it so much . everybody i know just thinks im a complete nutter, i cant find anything on the internet anywere about it . its frustrating it would be a huge comfort to get more information on this PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME! :(

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      TeamEdward10120 5 years ago

      I was diagnosed with Dermographism when i was just a baby. i have had it all my life. over the years, it seems to me that it has indeed gotten worse. i think about acupuncture, hiding myself, and covering my face everywhere i go. i am 12 years old, and school doesn't help. people who have asked before, but don't remember always ask "omg! what is that!?! r u OK? who hit u?" when i know no one has hit me, i cannot even feel pain. i cannot play around without having welts and red splotches all over me. i get so embarrassed, so after every class i go to the bathroom just to see if i am covered in red and ugly marks that have invaded my life. i know it must seem not so bad but walking around with marks, bumps, welts and not knowing y people look at u is truly terrible. i should have gotten used to it, but no i havent! im glad to finally know that other people have this skin syndrome other than my cousin.- she got acupuncture and says it works.

    • Willow Wood profile image

      Willow Wood 5 years ago

      Wow, this was incredibly interesting. I'd never heard of Dermographism before, I didn't even know Urticaria branched out into so many different areas. My cousin has severe Cold Urticaria and I have Raynaud's phenomenon, but I've never looked into the different skin syndromes. This was seriously fascinating and I've learnt a lot. Thank you!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: David

      My youngest daughter also has dermatographia for her entire life. Contact pressure causes hives and welts. When she scratches, which she rarely allows herself to do, her back looks like drawings and paintings I have seen of slaves that were whipped. When people stare at her back, legs, arms, chest whatever part that is affected that hour from contact pressure she would say to us if people do not want to see it, then they should not look. Their staring never bothered her, but the worse was yet to come.

      At 15, she started to itch and burn spontaneously with no rash or hives present. She would sit on the couch and cry from the hours of discomfort and pain. Presently, she is 19 years old. She cannot go more than 48 hours without an itching episode. We feel bad for her as her family, but she does not feel bad for herself. She never asks, Why me? Instead she asks someone has to get, so why not me? She also tells us that they are 1000s of teens that would trade conditions with her. At least in between episodes she has a completely normal life and even during episodes she can do more that most teens with medical conditions. Her attitude came from volunteering as a tertiary care hospital for two years. From the ages of 14-16, she worked with people who had the most horrible injuries or birth defects. She admits every time she would feel down, her volunteer work would make her realize how silly she was being. She wrote her college entrance essay on the amazing residences of that hospital doing the best you can because there is no other choice.

      She does not think of herself as a freak! Perhaps you should seriously consider stepping outside your own problem. Ask your parent to help you. You need to find positive inspiration and direction. You can do it!!!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was diagnosed today by a dermatologist with dermagraphism and a google search led me here. After reading many of your stories I believe ive just put together a puzzle about myself overt the last hour.

      I believe I have had this my entire life (I'm 44). As a kid my friends made me a human etch a sketch. And an hour later they'd do it all over again. In those days I didn't have any of the hives and itching that have have bothered me over the past decade.

      The rash seems to effect my entire my entire body to some degree except my face. Perhaps my face just receives less contact. My arms legs trunk Burt and back are the worst areas. For years my Dr. Has believed that I had allergies to adhesives and latex. Now I'm wondering if perhaps I'm breaking out from the pressure behind the proceduce rather than the adhesives/latex/bandaids. Ive also nooticed hives after carrying wood folders and paper realms (previously assuming a wood allergy) now considering it was the pressure from carrying/touching these items that caused the rash. Baths are a terrible trigger for me. I almost dread bathing because its always followed two hours of painful misery. Heat and sun affect me the same as bathing.

      I have very dry skin with eczema. The eczema cream does tend to calm to welter from this disorder slightly as well. I scar very easily and develop large keloid on my skin from stitches which I'm told is rare for caucasion skin. I have I high degree of stretch marks and scar very easily. I also bruise easily. Does anyone else notice any of these other strange symptoms?

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm no sure you've read the article properly; I do not describe those symptoms anywhere and do not suffer from them, and nor do any of the commentors so far. If you ARE talking about dermographism, then UV light has been shown to only provide temporary relief, if that.

      I see you have been leaving variations on this comment on articles about allergies all over the internet; if you are genuine, that isn't really the best way to get responses, and it makes you look like a spammer or a scammer, or just very confused.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Who ever has this problem, don't give up. There is a remedy for this. Please let me know the calcium content in your blood. I feel the skin surface is tough and hard and stiff bone too. You will be having itching in bone (inside) and pain too. I am having a solution in the form of Light rays that can be passed through Silver vessel that contains certain herbals. No oral medicine. Please mail me!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      ive had this for all of my life people call me a freak or say thats cool but people except it and im glad its hard to live with this im 15 almost 16 and its still hard sometimes i dont know what to think because i sometimes wonder why me i find myself as a freak.

    • AnnMarie7 profile image

      AnnMarie7 5 years ago

      I have never seen or heard of this skin condition before. This lens was fascinating to read. I know that it hurts you, which is awful, but I think it's kind of neat for the people it doesn't hurt. The lens photo is what caught my eye and made me decide to read this. Great lens!

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      MissChassit 5 years ago

      I saw stuff about the artist on tumblr! As soon as I saw the word and the picture on the lens, I knew I wanted to read this.

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      JustOneGuy 5 years ago

      An absolutely beautiful lens. I'm an old man and the two kids in the videos break my heart. I wish I could help them somehow.

      Maybe I can. I am pretty damn good with databases and would volunteer to collect metrics (measurements) of blood test information, prescriptions and consequences, that sort of thing.

      I have glaucoma and the doctors know how to treat it and delay subsequent damage somewhat but have absolutely no idea about what causes it. It could be related to uticaria, for all we know. In a study performed at the Mayo Clinic using a database containing information about glaucoma patients, a correlation was stumbled on which seemed to connect retinal damage (which is technically what you have to have to be diagnosed with glaucoma) with low spinal fluid pressure. A high percentage of people with glaucoma damage also have low spinal fluid pressure, but not all. Again, no clue as to cause so they deal with the effect.

      Without the data, none of this stuff will get handled properly and the causes will not be identified. The incentive for solutions is not in curing and dealing with the cause, it's in dealing with producing bandaids. So, we need to do it ourselves.

      Thanks to the creator of the lens and the two kids, the beautiful girl and the guy with the incredible voice who looks so sad. (I don't do beauty judgements on guys, sorry, not my thing).

      Please pass along any ideas for measurements to flynn the cat and if he wants me to lay out a database for this or collaborate with him, I will. And maybe something already exists that we could plug into. If I can help before I go blind, I will..

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      What a remarkable condition! I'm very sorry you have to live with this complication, but grateful you shared this information. I would have assumed such markings were intentionally made... wow, the human body is truly astonishing.

    • RaidaMoon profile image

      RaidaMoon 5 years ago

      Wow! As someone who's been on the other end of daily allergy shots, I'm sorry that you have to go through this but great job on writing about it. This article it very well thought out and put together. Very interesting read.


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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have had dermographia for at least 8 years. I say at least because I've had it for as long as I can really remember (I'm 21 now), but I always thought it was a normal reaction. Originally I thought that i had an allergy to adhesives, because contact with adhesives would make me break out into hives. It didn't take long to realize that any pressure, whether from myself, from carrying something, or even from clothing would give me hives. Mine seems to be especially pronounced when I am hot or when I am under a lot of stress. My doctor prescribed Allegra and initially I had some success with it, but now it doesn't really seem to help. Unfortunately, my doctor doesn't seem to think it's a big deal. Although I wouldn't necessarily describe mine as painful, it is extremely itchy. Once I get a breakout it is a constant struggle to not scratch because of course scratching only makes it spread. It is extremely uncomfortable and sometimes makes it impossible for me to sleep or participate in normal activities.

      I'm curious to know if any of you have had more success seeing a dermatologist versus a general practioner. My doctor said a referral was not necessary because she doesn't believe its a serious problem, but somedays the symptoms are almost unbearable. I am particularly interested in finding something topical that would help with the itchiness once an outbreak occurs.

      Another slightly random question for those with this condition. Have any of you every gotten a tattoo? I am very interesting in getting a tattoo, but I am concerned about how my skin would react given my condition. Just wondering if anyone has tried it, and what the results were.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @MissRiss2012: Yes to everything you said and i also have keratosis pilaris

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Try ALOT of lotion. I get pretty itchy too especially at night when I try to go to sleep. So I just Lather up on the lotion and it seems to help. i recommend gold bond. smells like old man but it works.haha

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I had this condition for quite sometime now 4 or 5 years. it usually gets worse in the winter when my skin gets dry but it is consistent all year round. I don't have any allergies to anything that i know of nor do i have any other conditions, skin or otherwise. I do constantly get a friendly teasing that i have been getting hickeys or someones been beating me haha but turns out i just ended up accidentally scratching my neck, swiped my arm against the corner of the countertop or something equally trivial. I've heard that some people only have certain triggers such as a pencil tip, some sort of metal, or fingernails but mine seems to happen with, well, anything. sometimes if someone grips my arm for long enough i get the swelling a bit.

      I don't take anything for it because I am only 18 and I really don't care to use medication in the first place. It doesn't seem to affect my life enough for me to really feel the need to be medicated. There isn't any pain with it, I'm not terribly embarrassed by it either. people ask questions but they are usually fairly understanding once you say noncommunicable haha.

      I know that all our conditions are different, some more or less severe than others but I was wondering if any one would be able to answer a question for me.

      Is it wise for people with this skin condition to get tattoos??

      I should probably ask a doctor but I thought I would get if first hand from those who live with this.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have chicken skin (keratosis pilaris) on my upper arms and backs of my thighs, dandruff (treated with Nioxin a few years back and I'm currently on Head and Shoulders dandruff control shampoos to keep it from recurring), eczema ( though nearly cured, it flares up every two months or so), and moderate acne around my nose and hairline.

      I used to get rashes when I'd wash dishes because of the soapy water and when I was younger I'd get itchy elbows from eating apples (that's just freaking weird). (I also have dark, dramatic stretch marks on my stomach, sides, arms, hips, backs of my knees and armpits from a mishap where a doctor prescribed me an antidipressant that they also prescribe for people with eating disorders who need to gain lots of weight quickly...)

      So it's safe to say I have sensitive skin. Plus, I hardly ever get out in the sun, so I'm rather pale and almost sickly looking right now.

      I just turned 18 a month ago and one day out of the blue I started to get a super itchy back. And everywhere I scratch, there's lines of red, raised bumps where my nails have scratched. My grandma (who was a nurse for thirty years) told me that they were allergic reactions to something and that the bumps were definitely hives.

      I read up on it and did a few tests and I can write my name on my forearm with a fingernail and it will puff and stay visible for nearly twenty minutes. Fight before writing this I wrote a few letters on my arm to test it out and forty-five minutes later, there are still white, raised mounds where the letters were.

      I haven't been diagnosed, and the lines only occur with slightly sharp objects like pencils and my fingernails but I'm fairly certain that I've got some form of dermoghraphism.

      It's mostly on my back, forearms and shoulders, but I've noticed it on my feet, sides of my hands and the insides of my knees.

      Is there some other explaination for it? Thanks.

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      MissRiss2012 6 years ago

      I have a quick question. Do any of you, particularly those that have had dermographism since they were children, have extra difficulty managing in-grown hair? How about stretch marks? I have difficulty managing both but the in-grown hair in particular is a nightmare ... in order to get the skin to release the hair trapped below it it means, you guessed it, provoking a welt to appear which further exacerbates the problem.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I HAD same problem with that, i and now i am thinking that maybe it's the allergy reaction to vaccine or maybe some usual production like shampoo, soap or food with those nitrates and everything else who cause it, or we are victims of pharmacy. I had same problem, i think it was even bigger than yours, yes i was scratching like hell, after every single scratch itching was even worse, my illness was a little harder than yours (hope so), do u imagine when u scratch with your nail a certain place, and that small place starts to be itchy right? Well imagine how do i had to feel when my all legs was itching, i mean all legs area except feet's, i went to do allergy reaction survey witch didn't gave me any result, what my doctor did they even didn't know what illness is that, they writed recipe which was cream who has to be applied to reduce itching, i never used it cause i wanted to HEAL my self, not to make my itching temporarily decrease till my organism get used to it i don't recommend for u too people use that medication which only reduces disease not heals it because that's body poisoning. Oi i forgot to say that they did take my blood samples my hemoglobin was pretty high 184+~, so after few months i after father encouragement started to drink more water to decrease my hemoglobin , and i did, it was relief, itching decreased like to 2% from 100%, and by that time little by little disease was falling away, however disease appeared to me from time to time, and i still have those small, very small scratch marks, its for me only noticeable cause i did know about my disease. So i never did take any medication or anything it go away by itself, i hope it will happen to u too, i am from Lithuania, my first disease appeared 13 or less old, now i am 19 and i am healthy. Sorry for my English, i hope u did understand what i had in my mind, things like that wont leave with some kind medication which does practically nothing only harm. Have hope in yourself, don't drink, buy healthy food, eat healthy, sleep well, do gym, love yourself.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Omg I can't belive other ppl have this it started about a month ago an won't go away I can't wear anything that my skin will show an now its starting to come on my face more. The medicines work except for the fact they make me sleepy so I can't take them when I'm at work or wanna not b groggy this sucks I'm itchy all the time an look like freddy kruger attacted me

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have had it for about 8 years. My drug of choice is Waltin (Clearitin knock off). If I don't take my pill every morning, by about noon I feel like I am going to crawl out of my skin, almost like that chill through your body when you first get the goose bumps? It is enough to drive you CRAZY. When I first got it, I didn't know what was wrong with me until I could not stand the ichy feeling anymore so I saw my doctor. He had no clue why I would have got it. I have no allergy that I am aware of, dark hair, not fair skinned, and was not too stressed out at the time, well maybe a little, but who isn't. I have by now just learned to not touch my skin much (but my friends love to write notes on my back in the summer). The only time I have to explain my sittuation is when I get a hair cut and they use the clippers on my neck, they freak out everytime, then I have to expain its not them and I am ok, but it looks like they were tourchering me. No way am I changing my diet and trying to figure this thing out, I will just keep taking my pill every day and wait for it to go away.... I hope, but if it doesn't I have leared to cope.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Since I was 6, I have had dermographism. I have been able to control the disease for a majority of my life, but sometimes I just want to scream it itches so bad. Should I try to change my diet? I heard that could help.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Four months ago I started getting extremly itchy skin and welts to the point where I just couldnt take it anymore. I went to the doctor and he told me I have dermographism. I wish I could say it was just visual but its not. Let me tell you, the itching can be unbarable! It has affected my life dramatically. I do take an antihistamine which helps, but it never completely controls it. Im so glad to have found other people who can relate because no one ever seems to understand. They just say quit itching it (its not that easy).

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @SCStrat: I did try the diet for urticaria when first found out about it and did seem to work, though I did not start introducing things back in to see which one it was. There were lots of things on the diet; yeast (bread, wine and beer), citric acid (remarkably in lots of things including most soups!), caramel colouring (coke, sweets, etc - there were specific e numbers 101 as I remember) and much more. I found it hard but did it; I ate wraps instead of bread, I made my own soup, I gave up alchohol for a month (what a killer!) and made various amendments to follow this and I didn't get any recurrances within the month. Quite randomly last night a friend was drinking tonic water and remarked it had quinine and said its good for you, I said yes I think it helps with my restless legs at night (see restless leg syndrome!) I said its what they used to combat malaria in old India and how gin & tonic came about (a tonic for malaria). Anyway (long story this one), I did further investigating as it came up with this Restless leg thing which I knew vaguely about, said quinine did help for this, but one of the causes was use of anti histamenes. This tied in with the start of me using them on a regular basis, so did more digging. So now I am going to go back to the diet thing, try to cut out anti histamenes and see where I go from there. It also went on about a link with RLS and parkinsons and further on ADHD and further on alkheimers. Well it started me thinking, as I feel I have soem of the symptons of early onset Parkinsons, but may just be a paranoid hypocondriac! However, all the preventative stuff goes down to diet and exercise and vitaimins, especially iron, sodium, vit K... so i'm trying to get hold of the sheet from my doc with the diet stuff on, so I can start back on it and then start to eliminate the foods one by one. Hope this helps. PS Mine is triggered by heat. I don't have to be touching hot stuff, just hot, though not after exercise (not that I do much), nor from showers (they sometimes help!). My ex used to play noughts and crosses on my arm when she knew I was hot, knowing it would come up! Its not very nice and its hard not to have anti histamenes when you're getting blotches all over your face (i'm a teacher) and the kids are asking if alright or more generally what's up with your face urrrr.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have chronic urticaria with dermographismd and have had it for over 5 years. When I first found out about it I was given a strict diet and this seemed to work, however was very limiting and involved no alchohol! I decided to go back to a normal diet after a month and not so long after they came back. I was told they should disappear within months, at most 2 years. I also spoke to a different Dr recently, who has urticarea, who said it never goes away. Mine is brought on by heat, not touching heat, just being hot, though funnily enough not particularly after exercise? I have recently started getting restless leg syndrome, which I have just found out can be brought on by anti-histmines! SO now I have to go back to the diet or other things??? Anyone any herbal remedies??

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      SCStrat 6 years ago

      This is so weird. I have had Dermographism since I was 13, I am now 29. I was about 14 when I finally went to the doctor and he told me that I had dermographism, but at that time he could not explain my itching. He just gave a prescription to Claritin, (now I just buy my pills from Costco). This is the first time I have read about anybody else having dermographism and the itching. It actually makes me feel a little knowing that there are other people going through the same issues that i am dealing with. When I was reading this lens, it felt like someone was writing about me and my own experiences.

      So far I have not been able to find anything that makes me feel better. I did the Atkins Diet a few years back, erasing gluten and most dairy from my diet, I lost a lot of weight, but it did not help my itching or welting. I live in the great state of Washington (the great northwest), so it can probably be an endless amount of allergy triggers. I am still waiting for a cure, even as I am writing this comment, I am itching, which means I need to go take my pills.

      Thank you for writing this lens, I will probably try to see if I can change anything in my diet again, to see if that will help get rid of this itching and welting.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi, so I read you story and I just found out about it today. I have had this my whole life but the chronic itching is driving me insane I start twitching because if I keep scratching it can go on for hours, so I bite on something drink some Clarityne and twitch and go through it with out scratching although it get pretty hot and itchy it ends in about 20-30min if I don't touch myself or anything sharp till it ends. I should start drinking the pill know what they say prevention is better then cure (well not cure but hey)! Thanks for all the info though.

    • ngio64 profile image

      ngio64 6 years ago

      Thanks for the info. My kids all have this, without itching just red marks and raised hives. They liked to write on their stomachs and watch it pop up after they were first diagnosed. I am so grateful it is only visual with them, it does not itch or burn them.

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi oneanjel - I'm afraid I have nothing to do with that, and I can't even see your email. The people to contact would be the actual staff of Squidoo -

      I've never heard of anyone getting spammed after commenting here before though - you don't use this email for Facebook or anywhere else, by any chance? FB has led to spammers/hackers getting hold of people's emails en masse at least twice in the last year. Maybe try googling your email to see if it's showing anywhere?

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi, is there some way to remove my email from your system or whereever it's stored, maybe remove my comments? This is the only site I've posted to with this email and ever since then I have recieved over 300 spam. previously I had NO spam so I know it's connected to my comments here somehow and leaving my email address for updates. Thanks.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      For several years I had a classic case of dermographism which was treated by antihistamine prescribed by my doctor. After about six months the condition persisted so I attended a skin specialist in Manchester, UK. She confirmed my demographism, but said that my only solution was to discover the cause and eliminate it. After about three years, by chance, I found that it was caused by instant coffee. Now I totally avoid instant coffee and am completely free of dermographism. The only time I get it is if I inadvertently consume instant coffee, when it has been put in a cake for instance. A friend has also narrowed down a gum inflammation to instant coffee.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      If you are on daily Cetirizine, and you go to a place that is allergen free as far as you can tell. Be really sure to step down from the Cetirizine slowly. One of its commonly known but unlisted withdrawal symptoms is allergic itchiness, for months after use. (Read: How to confuse an allergy sufferer for years) For me this presented as dermographism for months following years of use. I am no longer on antihistamines, but at least now when I know when I'm in an environment that is causing my allergies and when I am not.

      Good luck!

    • Loveyourshoes profile image

      Loveyourshoes 6 years ago

      just stumbled onto this lens after seeing you leave some harsh but fair(contradiction in terms?) comments on a spammers lens. The depth and scope of this lens is very impressive and I was never aware of the existence of Dermographism.

      Time to stop complaining about dry skin then.....

    • Frank Edens profile image

      Frank Edens 6 years ago

      Now i know what you get the purple star for this! I know someone in my family who has the same problem for 2,5 years, and suddenly it stopped and he said : I won't do it anymore, i want to live further. amazing... Thanx for the lens...

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Update: Due to a feeling of hunger after eating I discovered I have something called Candidas Albicans. This is a yeast overgrowth in the organs and can cause several similar symtoms to Celiac Disease (and is associated with Celiac Disease) such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and also can cause skin abnormalities such as intense itching (although it doesn't specify Dermography). This happens when the yeast are very active after they are fed by the person consuming sugars, yeasts, or milk. I have gone on a very strict diet (look up Candidas Diet) and my dermography has subsided completely so far as well as much of the fatigue and weakness. You have to follow the diet very strictly for 6 weeks and then you can start adding foods back (dairy, sugars, grain) one by one to see if you have a reaction.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I am a 16 year old male

      The first that I can remember having the condition was a couple of years ago, I might have had it since birth but I don't think so. It is sometimes good but ussually annoying, all I have to do to turn red is jsut rest my hand on my skin, but if I scratch it breaks out and puffs up. It seems to be increased when I'm nervous. It is very bad on my neck, it barely happens on face on feet or anything like that. It is quite embarrasing, people ask to draw on me and stuff, which is a bit funny but it is mostly embarrasing.

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      CofCJenny LM 6 years ago

      Wow! I've never heard or seen anything like this. I wanted to check it out because my brother has serious skin issues that the doctors can't seem to figure out, but it's nothing like this.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I was not officially diagnosed but I believe I have Celiac Disease and the symptoms were greatly reduced by eliminating all forms of gluten. It took me some time to realize all the hidden gluten in processed foods so it was several months that I had no relief. Then I started reading ingredients very carefully. Unfortunately anything labeled "natural/artificial flavors" usually means a good chance it has gluten. Go for fresh unprocessed food that have all pure ingredients. Also keep in mind that some people actually think that only Whole Wheat has gluten (I have no idea why) so if you're eating with friends who tell you they did not put gluten in the food ask what exactly is in it instead so you can determine for yourself. If they used a certain seasoning or sauce it might have gluten. Read the label. Also most potato chips have some form of gluten. For the same reason don't trust restaurants that you have not researched yourself. Even corn tortillas are sometimes made with added ingredients that contain gluten; and some restaurants add pancake batter to their eggs, and so forth. Be very diligent and then see if your symptoms are not greatly reduced. Mine still come a few times a week but they used to be several times a day! Good luck.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I do believe I have Celiac Disease. I did take antibiotics at different points & but I can't attribute my symptoms to that. Mine began in my 40s. Eventually I found that Celiac Disease listed all of my symptoms. Cutting out gluten entirely (one must take there diet to whole natural foods completely, and this is an easy way of life with lots of food choices when you get used to it) took my dermographic symptoms from several times a day down to several times a week, and reduced or eliminated several other Celiac Disease symptoms such as muscle weakness and fatigue, but I still have some unexplained fatigue often. It also eliminated snoring & heartburn completely & I lost 10 lbs within a few months. I still consume oats since most studies now show oats do not have gluten naturally. As far as the hives and intense itching, it seems to just show up one day and not another. At times I have intense itching where scratching causes the writing welts; other times it begins when I take off clothing, then I see the redness and the itching and welts just appear (in the shape of buckles of bra straps, etc.)

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow, thanks for putting this page up. I've had this about 7 yrs & had no idea what it was other than "hives." The link for sharing a story doesn't give me anything but Squidoo's home page so I'll leave a bit more info here. Mine isn't as constant as yours but I had thought it was a food allergy gluten & I went to every measure to avoid all forms of gluten (hidden in almost every processed food on the shelf of your local market!) yet the intense itching and skin writing hives still occured though much less frequently. The thing that I find relieves the itching and pain oddly enough is rubbing alcohol, although it burns for a second.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, then told I didnt have it, and am now told I may actually have it. My Dermatographism is getting worse, for sure, and Im afraid it may actually be a gluten allergy. I was gluten free for three years and I know I can do it again, but Im just not convinced that gluten is the culprit. Does anyoe have any experience with eliminating the skin symptoms after riding themselves of gluten? If so, how long did it take? Thanks!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have dermatographia. I got it about 4 years ago, I had no idea why all of a sudden my skin was itchy and would welt up with hives. It became so terrible I ended up going to the doctors and he knew what it was right away, but he didn't have a cause. He perscribed me zyrtec 10mg and cimetidine 800mg, one tablet of each, once a day. I took these until the perscription wore out. Amazing, the symptons went away and I didn't have it anymore. Until....I gave birth to my son, out of no where, the itching, and swelling of my lips from hives came back. So, I went back on the perscriptions and it kept the welts and itching at bay (only if I took them every day, missing one day, would bring it right back). I thought I might be allergic to something, because I also have very bad sinus problems, headaches and ear pressure, bad enough to make me feel like I have a mashmellow for a brain. So, I finally went to see an allergist last week. Turns out I have food allergies to many many foods (chocolate, wheat, oat, malt, rice, chicken, corn, tomatoes, etc.), basically every basic food that is in everything. For the past week I cleansed my body (usually takes up to one week), of all the foods I have sensitivites to. I also stopped taking my meds just to see if the hives would go away too. So far the hives are not bad, still there but not as severe. Since the allergist couldn't test me every food (because there are too many), I have to now monitor everything I eat and journal how I feel. I am not a doctor or anything, but it seems like dermographism is associated with many of us who have food sensitivities/allergies. It is a strange condition, but it fun to watch people freak out when you write something in your arm. It was great to hear other peoples stories, since the research on dermotographia is limited. Best of luck to everyone!

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 6 years ago

      I have to admit that I have never heard of that before. Great lens... very informative.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      i first had dermatographism 3 years ago and il lasted foe about an year..durring that year i took 5 kinds of drugs but none of them worked, i mean it didn`t each but the redness was still there.. after a year it just disappeared..don`t know why,don`t know how..

      now,about a mounth ago it came back worst :(

      what i actually wanted to say is that the doctors i`ve seen told me it is caused by stress and for me it was a good explation because both of the times it appeared i was under a lot of stress..i mean a lot!!! BUT when i started to make a research i couldn`t find anything about the link between stress and the disease.. so i don`t know if they told me that just because they didn`t have a clue to what i am allergic at or if it really is stress that makes my skin each :)

      the doctors also told me to cut off caffeine,chocolate or alcohol...

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 6 years ago

      When my daughter was in her early teens, she started developing intensely itchy welts wherever she scratched. We were so confused and tried so hard to figure out what the problem was. Then we found a photograph in one of our medical books that showed what dermographism looked like - and we knew we had a diagnosis. It couldn't be anything else. We never found the cause of it - until maybe now - because my daughter (now 31) has been diagnosed with Celiac. I have no idea how long she's had it. Wow. Thank you for this fascinating lens. I'm going to share it with my girl.

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      jseven lm 6 years ago

      Interesting lens. I am interested in building up my immunity to allergies through minerals, vitamins and enzymes. It seems that the histamines are on high alert because of the enzymes in the digestive tract not being activated and certain enzymes will help that.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      blessed by a squid angel

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      wow! my husband has it. he"ll suddenly start itching ( usually on his upper back and upper arms.) he starts scratching uncontrollably and within minutes looks like someone whipped him repeatedly! he also is always taking off his watch and scratching though that doesnt get such dramatic welts. a trip to the allergist confirmed dermographism but the testing didn't help much since he reacted to every single thing they pricked him for! (due to the skin sensitivity) he basically just lives with it

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for these info. I often have hives which I blame on strawberries or wine but just a bit pressure on my skin gives me rashes but I don`t think it is dermographism. My skin is just more sensitive.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I had this condition with overwhelming uticaria - it was driving me nuts. Usually worse just on getting into bed at night the overwhelming urge to scratch would make every nighttime a nightmare before sleep. I've had this for over 10 years with no cause although have often thought it was associated with a food allergy - I don't have any other allergies. Recently I did a lifestyle change to a primal diet and cut out grains altogether - no bread, rice, pasta, flour etc. That was 6 weeks ago and over the past few weeks I noticed the bouts of itching just stopped. The weals still come up but not as often and they go quicker. I'm not holding my breath but maybe this is my cure!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have had dermographism for about a year and a half now. It took a while to accept it and learn to live with it. Summertime is the worst, since heat seems to make it worse. The hardest part is the itchiness and burning. I'm used to the welts. I'm hoping one day it will disappear, but I'm not holding my breath.

    • AgingIntoDisabi profile image

      AgingIntoDisabi 6 years ago

      Live and learn - never heard of this until now.

    • stylishimo1 profile image

      stylishimo1 6 years ago

      Wow, I never knew about this condition until now, this is a very interesting lens, thanks for educating me on the subject.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Mine does. There are times when i have extreme prickly feelings without a rash. Feels alot like mosquitos biting-It hurts then itches and is migrative, affecting random places.

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Jana. It really depends on what's causing it - one of those would be good, and a GP could run basic 'are you allergic' tests and refer you.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Would you recommend seeing a General Practitioner, dermatologist or an allergist to discuss this problem?

    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 6 years ago

      Very interesting. I've never seen this on the internet before. There were some young teen girls that would do this occasionally for fun, but it was much milder than the welts shown here, and their skin seemed to grow out of it. I hope this is not too uncomfortable for you.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      thank you so much for writing about your experiences. I was just told I have dermographism and have dealt with comments from friends/coworkers for years about marks on my skin that I rarely even notice. Turns out my boss has the same thing. zyrtec for a month works for her to clear it up. Not sure what works for me, but zyrtec seems to help. I'm almost afraid it gets worse when I stop taking the pills, but we'll see how it goes. A dog said trying zantac could help as well. Will keep on trucking. Thanks again!

    • vkumar05 profile image

      vkumar05 6 years ago

      Excellent Squid. I don't think better information on this topic is available anywhere else. Great work. Thanks for putting it up.

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      wheelbound 6 years ago

      Have never heard of this before this post. Thank you for sharing it with us. Very informative.

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      tuesdayblues 6 years ago

      wow that is weird but kinda cool :/

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 6 years ago

      @rorymullen lm: Haha, not yet - I do get various 'OMG WHAT HAPPENED' comments, but anyone who knows me well enough to ask me about it usually knows me well enough to know that it wasn't there earlier, so clearly isn't an old injury but something that must have 'just happened to me'

    • rorymullen lm profile image

      rorymullen lm 6 years ago

      I feel soo bad for these people.I do not have this condition but I feel for the people who do. Question, Do you get blamed for self mutilation at times?

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      scar4 6 years ago

      This is such as long lens:) well done! Good to know something about Dermographism.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I daughter has dermatographia since she was young (about 10 years old). About the age of 15 she started itching and burning with and without the presents of raised marks. Mostly without. She can itch 20 minutes to 72 hours. The doctors tell us she just has a very bad case of dermatographia. I am not sure I believe them. Does anyone's skin burn and itch without the presents of red raise lines or wheals?

    • nenierhea profile image

      nenierhea 6 years ago

      This lens got my attention. Amazing! As I read your lens, I can't imagine that this happens also. I thank God that He blessed me to have a good health. I can't imagine what they are doing to those people who have this kind of skin allergy..

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I was diagnosed with dermographism several years ago. I slowly began to get this unrelenting itch starting on my scalp and hands, which eventually was all over my body! It was 24-7, I couldn't sleep and had no idea what it was. When I went to the clinic at my university, they had no idea what it was, and told me to take antihistamines and use moisturizers. I was able to get a referral to a dermatologist and she diagnosed me right away (she herself had the condition as well).

      This condition doesn't go away. For years now Ive taken an extra strength antihistamine every day, and if I stop, the itch comes back. Even when I am medicated, any pressure from brushing up against something or scratching myself reveals an angry red welt.

      Thank you for all the info you have here about the condition, it was a very good read! ^^

    • pixelposy profile image

      pixelposy 7 years ago

      The only time my skin will do that is if a cat scratches me and it doesn't feel good. Very interesting and well put together lens. I loved the video of the artist. How cool to turn something that embarrassed her into her lively hood.

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 7 years ago

      And blessed by a Travel neighborhood Angel. :)

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 7 years ago

      I have never seen anyone with this condition. But, I have all the allergies mentioned. At about age 30 I had the full allergy test and then 1 year of doctor given injections. My allergy symptoms have been much reduced since then. Maybe those shots saved me from developing this condition.

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 7 years ago

      This is a truly incredible page, a lot of clear and concise information, well written and very useful. I had severe dermographia as a baby, huge blisters all over my body and although i cannot remember it, I know when mistakes have been made with my food, usually by well meaning people and a couple of times myself that it flares up and it is horrible.

      Thank you for this wonderful page. I have added a link onto a page i have created as I think people should read this. Thank you again. Natasha

    • JeremiahStanghini profile image

      JeremiahStanghini 7 years ago


      Very thorough lens!

      With Love and Gratitude,


    • crazycuriosity profile image

      crazycuriosity 7 years ago

      Interesting Lens. I have something going on with my skin, and I recently seem to be getting more and more allergic reactions to foods or something. I need to get tested. Thanks for the Lens. I am new to Squidoo and appreciate ideas.

    • calliemorris lm profile image

      calliemorris lm 7 years ago

      Really really interesting lens... Thanks for all the information! Will be checking out your other lenses now :)

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image

      Grandma-Marilyn 7 years ago

      Great lens on the subject. Looked very thorough.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 7 years ago

      I have not heard about this condition as well. But I may have encountered a number of people having the symptoms. Great information by the way!