Born with Dermatographism Skin Condition

by Tatiana
(Kennewick, Washington)

When I was an infant and my mother took me in to be weighed at the hospital, the nurse rubbed my head and a welt appeared. She saw it and began to question my mother - she thought I had been abused! Since both my mother and grandmother shared my condition, mom was able to explain (and demonstrate) that the nurse herself had caused the welt.

Growing up, it took me a long time to realize that my skin was not any different than other kids. When bored in class I would doodle on my arm with an eraser, drawing pictures and random patterns. The itchiness and burning never stopped me from competing in judo and soccer, and I noticed that repeated exposure to friction made certain parts of my body immune to swelling. If I haven't run in a month or two then even a short jog will turn my legs red and give me a headache from all the blood rushing to the surface. If I run every day then that doesn't happen.

I think being born with dermatographism skin condition has made it a lot more bearable than if I had contracted it later in life. For me it is instinctual not to rub my face (there's nothing like a big red mark on your forehead when you have to be someplace public) and I can ignore most of my itching and burning. Since I was also born with Tourettes, which causes muscle spasms (tics) all over my body all day long, by comparison I consider my dermatographism skin condition to be more of an annoyance than a real problem. Plus, there are a few good things about it - all I have to do it pinch my lips with my teeth a few times and they become red and plump - perfect for that night out on the town!

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