Dermographic urticaria: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Prevention

Dermographic urticaria
Dermographic urticaria

Because our skin is directly exposed to sun, dust, and other elements, developing different skin issues is pretty common. Various reasons include aging, allergic reaction, sun damage, etc. Dermographic urticaria is one of these skin issues found in mostly younger adults and older children. As per statistics, about 5% of people develop this condition.

Overview of the Condition

Dermatographia is also called skin writing. If someone with dermatographia scratches their skin, even lightly, the scratches develop into a red and warm wheel, which looks exactly like hives. Usually, these marks disappear after 30 minutes. 

Dermographic urticaria
Dermographic urticaria

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Common signs and symptoms of dermatographia include:

  • Raised red lines
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Hive-like welts
  • Itching

These symptoms may occur in just a few minutes after rubbing or scratching your skin. However, it does not last more than 15 to 30 minutes. 

The first outbreak of urticaria can result in various reactions on other body parts that are not scraped or scratched. 

While red lines and swelling last for a maximum of 30 minutes, rare instances of these conditions prevailing for a few hours to days are also recorded. 

Things may become severe in extreme temperatures. Other factors that may worsen the situation include dry weather, saunas, and warm water from hot showers.

What Are the Causes behind Dermographic Urticaria?

The exact causes behind dermographic urticaria are still unknown. Doctors suspect it to be caused by:

  • A history of allergies
  • Stress
  • Infections
  • Excessive rubbing from bedding or clothing
  • Exercises that cause excessive skin rubbing, like wrestling
  • Certain medications, such as penicillin

Dermatographia involves several risk factors. Conditions may become serious if you:

  • Have a history of dermatitis, a skin inflammation
  • Have dry skin
  • Experience frequent scratches on the skin
  • Are a young adult
  • Have a neuro disorder or any internal illness-causing itchy skin
  • Have thyroid disease

While young adults and teenagers mainly develop this condition, children do not suffer.

How Do Doctors Diagnose This Condition?

Doctors usually use a dermographometer to diagnose patients with this specific condition. This device also helps them measure the disease activity and trigger thresholds. 

The latest versions have come to the market, and they have a comb-like and four-pronged design. Each tip has a different length and exerts different provocation levels. 

Doctors place this device vertically on the volar surface of the forearm of the patient so that all four tips can touch the skin. After that, each of these tips is scratched against the skin for about 6 centimeters. 

Positive test responses ensure the presence of symptomatic dermatographia.

What Do Doctors suggest?

Doctors suggest several prevention techniques to reduce discomfort and prevent symptoms.

Avoiding Things That Cause Skin Irritation

Using harsh soaps, avoiding wearing woolen clothing, etc., can help you avoid skin irritation.

Avoiding Scratching the Skin

Dermatographia causes frequent itching. But, make sure you try your best to avoid scratching your skin.

Keeping the Skin Moisturized

Using creams and lotions after bathing can also help.

Final Words

Various treatments are also available now at several clinics. So, if you develop dermographic urticaria, book your appointment at any top clinic and get treated by some of the best professionals.