The skin is the largest organ that protects the body from infection. Unfortunately, the skin itself becomes infected sometimes. Bacteria that infect the skin and sometimes the deep tissue underneath the skin cause skin infections. Skin infections can vary from mild to severe. While some types of skin infections can be treated and cured over time, some others cannot.
Dermatographia is one such. Also called ‘skin writing’ or ‘Demographism’ or ‘Dermatographic Urticaria, Dermatographia means a skin condition with minor scratches that cause significant but temporary allergic reactions and symptoms like redness and itching.
It is a rare disease that affects just 5% of people. It is most common in older children and younger adults who have a history of allergies. The effect of it can be mild but can turn worse at times.
Facts About Dermatographia
Here are seven facts that tell you everything about dermatographia.
Fact 1 – Why Refrain From Scratching?
If you scratch they tend to irritate your skin even more. But at the same time, they tend to also heal swiftly.
The scratches can be white or red against the skin. With dermatographia, however, the scratches can worsen leading to the formation of deep wounds or allergic-like reactions.
Fact 2 – When And In Whom Does It Occur?
It can occur at any age and tends to be more common and predominant in teenagers, especially older children and younger adults.
In case, you are suffering from skin conditions like dermatitis or dry skin, then you could be more likely to contract dermatographia. Medical experts affirm that any person needs to be cautious if suffering from any skin condition that causes one to frequently scratch the skin spot. This in turn may increase the risk of dermatographia.
Fact 3 – Symptoms That Lead To Dermatographia
Though the exact cause of dermatographia is not known or not clear yet, medical experts say it can be caused by an allergic reaction in a person or sometimes it can be triggered by an infection or emotional feelings or intake of certain medications like penicillin. Overall, however, no specific allergen has been discovered to date.
You need to watch out for symptoms like swelling, raised red lines, inflammation, itchiness, and hive-like welts. They generally occur within a few minutes when you rub or scratch your skin, and then disappear within 30 minutes.
It is very rare where they develop at a slow pace or last for several hours to several days. However, the condition can stay with a person for several months or several years, depending upon the nature of its severity.
Fact 4 – How To Prevent It?
If you want to prevent dermatographia, then you need to keep at bay the symptoms that cause it.
- Don’t irritate your skin in any manner. To prevent skin irritation, refrain from using soaps that are harsh or rough on the skin; wearing clothes made of materials that tend to itch like wool or synthetic; & taking hot showers or baths.
- Don’t scratch your skin at any cost. They will only aggravate the condition. This can be so especially if you suffer from any existing skin condition.
- Don’t keep your skin dry. Instead keep them well-moisturized, for dry skin tends to make the skin feel itchy. To prevent this from happening, use lotions and after-shower creams for they will keep your skin moisturized.
Fact 5 – How To Keep The Skin Safe?
Adopt the following lifecycle changes to keep your skin safe from dermatographia.
- Use soaps without any fragrance. Soaps with fragrance can contain harmful chemicals and dyes that can make your skin itchy.
- Use a humidifier during cool and dry months.
- Always take cool or lukewarm showers.
- Moisturize your skin, daily. Apply a good quality moisturizing cream or lotion after you take a bath.
- Keep your mind and body calm and controlled. This will help manage your stress. In addition, also do regular exercise and meditation, get adequate sleep, and drink lots of warm, clean water. These will alleviate stress.
Fact 6 – How To Treat It?
Currently, there is no specific permanent cure for dermatographia. However, you can obtain relief from it for a temporary period if you use anti-histamines. This will help suppress the reaction, reduce itchiness and overall discomfort that otherwise can cause you to scratch your skin.
Doctors also recommend a home remedy in the form of cold compression. It helps provide relief from the many symptoms of dermatographia.
Fact 7 – When To See A Doctor?
You need to see a doctor if
- The signs and symptoms bother you a lot or become severe over a period of time.
- The symptoms tend to persist for long.
- You are not responding to over-the-counter drugs or remedies.
In case you experience the above signs, consult with an expert dermatologist. They will test your condition thoroughly, have you diagnosed with a skin test, and eventually might recommend prescription medications or ointments that can provide relief.
Even though dermatographia has no known cure, its symptoms don’t last long. However, the condition, on the whole, can persist for long – in some cases for years. People who tend to have such a condition can experience symptoms at regular intervals if they keep scratching their skin.
If you have any skin condition, never ignore or neglect it. Else, it can eventually prove fatal. It could come to a stage wherein your skin can become flushed and swollen with a mere touch.