Dermatographism Treatment In Gainesville, FL

Dermatographism, sometimes referred to as skin writing, is characterized by minor scratches that become temporary yet severe reactions. Like hives, this condition causes redness, inflammation, and itching when the skin is scratched, stroked, or otherwise exposed to pressure. Learn more about the skin conditions treated at our clinic by our dermatologists with Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery. We offer clinical skin treatments customized to the needs of our patients. Contact us today to schedule a dermatology appointment and to learn more about dermatographism treatment.

What Is Dermatographism?

Dermatographism, also known as dermatographia or dermographism urticaria, is a common, benign skin condition. Patients with dermatographism develop welts or localized hive-like reactions when they scratch, rub, or put pressure on their skin. Dermatographism is the most common type of physical or chronic inducible urticaria. This condition can appear at any age and may occur in children, though it is most common in young adults. In most people with dermatographism, firm stroking of the skin first produces red skin, followed by slight swelling along the stroke line. Though uncommon, certain individuals with this condition may experience significant symptoms.

Dermatographism Causes

The exact cause of dermatographism is not known. The main cause of dermatographia most likely points to an inappropriate release of histamine without a typical immune signal. The resulting red welts, skin inflammation, and hives, are caused by the local effects of histamine. Those with dermatographism may also have an allergy to an external substance, though this is uncommon. Simple actions may trigger symptoms of dermatographia, such as skin irritation from rubbing clothes or bed sheets against the skin. In some cases, dermatographia may be preceded by an infection, emotional distress, or medications such as penicillin. Other potential causes of this condition include the following.

  • Exercise
  • Heat Exposure
  • Stress
  • Vibration
  • Cold Exposure
  • Skin Pressure
  • Skin Trauma
  • Dry Weather

Symptoms Of Dermatographism

Common dermatographism symptoms may happen within a few minutes of your skin being scratched or rubbed, and they usually disappear within 30 minutes of the event. In rare cases, dermatographism may develop more slowly and last for several hours or several days. However, the condition overall can affect patients for months or years. Symptoms may worsen in extreme temperatures. Additionally, dry weather can likewise increase the incidence of the condition, while water from hot showers, baths, and saunas can aggravate symptoms further. Signs and symptoms of dermatographism may include the following.

  • Raised Lines
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Hive-Like Welts
  • Itchiness
  • Skin Redness
  • Deep Wounds
  • Skin Rashes

How Is Dermatographism Diagnosed?

Dermatographism appears within 5–7 minutes after the skin is irritated. If the skin is scratched or stroked and hives appear, the hives will occur in the same orientation and direction as the irritation. To diagnose dermatographism, our dermatology associates may use a medical instrument to scratch or press on the skin and wait to see if welts appear. Patients, primarily young adults, with the following may have an increased risk of developing dermatographism. While teens and young adults are more susceptible to dermatographism, children are more likely to develop dermatitis.

  • Dry Skin
  • History Of Dermatitis
  • Skin Inflammation
  • Frequent Skin Scratches
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Nerve Disorder
  • Illness That Causes Itchy Skin

Dermatographism Treatment

Patients with asymptomatic dermatographism may not necessarily require medical treatment. However, patients with chronic symptoms from dermatographism or symptomatic dermatographism may require treatment from a dermatologist. Symptoms of this condition may be distressing and significantly impact a patient's quality of life. Treatments include ultraviolet light therapy and prescription medications. Ultraviolet (UV) light therapy, also referred to as phototherapy, may treat symptoms associated with dermatographism. UV therapy, however, may only be successful for short-term relief. Medication used to treat dermatographism includes antihistamines, such as cetirizine hydrochloride, loratadine, desloratadine, levocetirizine dihydrochloride, fexofenadine hydrochloride, hydroxyzine pamoate, and diphenhydramine. Contact us to learn more about available treatment options.

How Can Dermatographism Be Prevented?

For patients living with dermatographism, the condition may last months, years, or even throughout their lives. However, for many patients, the condition clears up in 1–2 years or in a way that skin irritations do not cause substantial symptoms to occur. To help prevent the occurrence of dermatographism symptoms, consider the following prevention tips. Contact Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery for more information and to schedule a consultation.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing
  • Avoid very hot or cold water
  • Use a towel to pat dry after bathing
  • Use dermatologist-recommended skin care
  • Keep your skin moisturized
  • Avoid irritating or scratching your skin