Dermatographia: Causes and Symptoms of This Unique Skin Disorder

Dermatographia causes raised lines on the skin, which is the only major symptom. It is not known to cause any major complications. Scratching and rubbing of the skin may cause irritation, which may be uncomfortable.

Dermatographia: Dermatographia: Causes and Symptoms of this Unique Skin Disorder

© 2010 Dr.P.Elayaraja

It was in last winter that I noticed something strange happening to me. The change was not from inside, but an external difference. My health was absolutely normal and no symptom of any disease or disorder was noticed in me. Yet, I was having a condition called dermatographia. This is a   condition in which a slight scratch of the skin causes raised red lines.

I was initially worried a lot and only after consulting a physician, my worries were gone. I would like to share some interesting information on dermatographia with you. Dermatographia is not a serious condition, yet can be disturbing at times. This is characterised by the skin cells being overly sensitive to minor injury, such as scratching or pressing on the skin. Symptoms of dermatographia are similar to hives.

Exact reason for the onset of dermatographia is still unclear and it is believed to be caused by some allergic reaction. The allergen is yet to be identified.

Symptoms of Dermatographia

Dermatographia causes raised lines on the skin, which is the only major symptom. It is not known to cause any major complications. Scratching and rubbing of the skin may cause irritation, which may be uncomfortable.

Cool climate, hot weather, pressure changes, exposure to sunlight and emotion disturbances can trigger dermatographia. In my case the culprits were dusty environment and cold.

In my personal experience, the raised red lines (I have a brown skin, therefore raised lines) were noticed couple of minutes after scratching my skin with my nail (or a used ball point pen). This symptom of dermatographia lasted for 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the pressure applied to scratch. It diminished or disappeared thereafter. I never have a mark of dermatographia on my skin now. I still have this condition.


Dermatographia needs treatment only when the situation is out of control, which is very rare. The dermatologist may recommend antihistamine drugs. These drugs block a chemical called histamine, which is responsible for causing inflammations. Histamines are released by the immune system during any allergic reaction.

Do not take histamines without prescription. It may be dangerous to your immune system and health.

Dermatographia as an art

Dermatographia is a skin disorder found in around 5% of the population. Many people take it seriously and go in search for remedies. Some even panic and hide their skin. But instead, some people take this disorder to their advantage. Home some of my friends remember the picture I had posted on Redgage.


There are people who see dermatographia as a medium to express their artistic abilities. They paint their skins with amazing designs and patterns.


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© 2010 Dr.P.Elayaraja 

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  1. Hmm…all ur articles are very informative. I haven’t heard of this name itself.

  2. Interesting article. :)

  3. Excellent work…..i really like it.

  4. Really this is an awesome post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I have never heard of this problem before. Thanks for the information.


  6. I never notice the lines on the skin. It usually goes off after a good night sleep.

  7. Excellent and very imformative health article that will be helpful to many.

  8. Very creative skin condition, but troublesome for the patient.
    Another innovative article.

  9. Excellent info doc!

  10. Excellent article. Cute graphics.


  12. Interesting read doc. My cousin has this condition.

  13. First time I hear about Dermatographia. Very magical. Thanks for sharing.

  14. A unique knowledge shared.

  15. Another rare skin condition hopefully not similar to psoriasis.

  16. never heard of this. interesting!

  17. I have this condition…I wish it was as easy for me to deal with as it is you. I itch and burn all the time, not to mention the fact of the embarrassing red marks left on my skin for everyone to see. I was diagnosed about 4 years ago. I have researched it and have read over and over that it will probably go away by itself…still waiting! I have to take zyrtec EVERYDAY just to control the itch but there is no hope for the marks on my skin:( They appear by the simple swipe of a tissue across my face. I don’t know the cause of it for me…wish I did! But I have learned to deal with it.

  18. hello any1 and every1.i have had this condition for ages now and everytime i have had 1 beer and i meen 1 beer, my body seems to vent it out (the smell) like i have been drinking all day and it goes to my head like i think this condition speeds up my blood..any1 else have this problem???
    plus it is nice to know im not the only person with this condition,,many years of not knowing who else has it.

  19. my daughter has dermatographia; she was around 3 years old when we started seeing it on her skin. She is turning 5 now and it gets worse. I hope some doctors can do a research on this condition so we can know what to avoid.

  20. I have this too. Not fun. I have it all over. It’s really irritating. Please doctors! Research this! We dermatographics need help!

  21. Not as light heart as this article would lead you to believe. I am in pain daily with this. I flush, burn, itch to the point of bleeding. The breeze from a fan causes me to break out into hives. I wish it would go away. I also have fibromyalgia.

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