There are several suspected dermatographism causes, but in approximately half of the cases, the exact cause cannot be diagnosed. Often this condition is referred to as being idiopathic, which simply means that it is “of unknown cause.” Also, uncertain is the exact mechanism that leads to the formation of the raised skin patches or welts and other dermatographism symptoms.
The most fundamental of all causes for dermatographism is the application of friction or pressure to the skin. This is not the underlying source of the problem, but it is what triggers the appearance of the dermatographism symptoms. It is speculated that pressure or friction on the skin causes the release of inflammatory mediators.
Visit our pictures of skin rashes page for more information.
If you would like to share your story about dermatographism and help others please visit this page.
Inflammatory mediators are molecules that are released by immune cells in the body during times when harmful agents invade the body.
Histamine is the primary inflammatory mediator suspected of being released from Mast cells into the skin when dermatographism occurs. However, other chemical mediators may also be involved.
A mast cell is found in connective tissue and releases substances such as histamine in response to an injury or inflammation of bodily tissues.
The result of this process is that small blood vessels in the skin begin to leak. This leads to an accumulation of fluid in the skin tissue and a wheal or welt develops in the area and in the shape of the applied pressure or friction.
The release of histamine and other mediators of inflammation may be caused by allergens or may be a result of non-allergic factors. In many cases, urticaria or dermatographism is autoimmune. In other words, the body produces antibodies against itself and this triggers the release of the histamine. The mechanism of histamine release differs depending on the urticaria or dermatographism causes.
For website updates, feature articles on skin care and skin care problems, and more, please register to receive the monthly Healthy Skin Newsletter.
If dermatographism affects people that are generally in good health, then what can possibly be the causes of this skin condition?
The following diagram summarizes the dermographism causes, which have been speculated as being responsible for the appearance of this skin condition.
The elements shown in red act on the immune system of the body and eventually alter it. This process then leads to the development of urticaria or dermatographism. A more detailed look at the dermatographism causes is provided below.
An allergy to a food is a possible urticaria or dermatographism cause. Typical foods that can lead to this skin condition are:
Certain elements in the environment are also speculated as being dermatographism causes.
In addition, not necessarily considered environmental allergens, but use of personal products such as deodorant, perfume, talcum powder, cosmetic products, and latex rubber can all be dermatographism causes as well.
A common allergen that is often overlooked is dryer sheets. Regular dryer sheets contain many chemicals that can affect your skin. Therefore, as a first step, dermatographism suffers should switch to hypoallergenic dryer sheets and unscented laundry detergents.
One of the suspected causes may be a drug such as:
More information on hives from drugs can be found at this page.
Infections and infestations may lead to the formation of dermographism. Some examples are:
A systemic illness is one that affects the whole body, not just one localized area. Dermatographism or urticaria may be a sign of another internal illness. There are many such possibilities:
This list is broad and therefore, an individual should not panic and assume that a more serious underlying disease is responsible for the dermatographism or urticaria symptoms. However, it is a possibility that the skin condition may be an indication of some other health problem. A physician will assess the presence of an underlying health problem by by being aware of other symptoms for the various illnesses and performing diagnostic testing where required.
Emotional stresses can be one of the dermographism causes. The effects can be direct or indirect and may act to make an individual more susceptible to possibly developing, aggravating or maintaining the presence of this skin condition. Basically, such stresses trigger the mechanism for histamine release.
For more information on stress causing dermatographism, please visit this page.
Dermatographism or susceptibility to this skin problem can be passed on via the genetic route. In terms of frequency, this is one of the less common causes for dermatographism.
Having any type of surgery is suspected in causing dermatographism. Some information on this can be found here.
A variety of other dermatographism causes are described in posts submitted by dermatographism sufferers at this page.
If you have a question about dermographism and would like that question answered by an actual sufferer of this skin hives condition, then please ask the question in the box below. Our resident dermatographism sufferer may not have all the answers, but he can pass along his experience in dealing with this skin problem which may help you in your battle with this skin condition.
Click below to see questions from other visitors to this page...
Dermatographism Skin Problem
Is it possible for this to lay dormant for 10 years and then flair back up? I remember having these particular type of hives 10 to 15 years ago. Antibiotics …
Coconut Allergen in Soap Causes Dermatographism
My daughter is four years old and we recently had an issue with her using soap. The soap we were using on her dried out her skin severely, making it red …
Dermatographism Itchiness and Scratching
Question Do I have this skin disease? Here are my symptoms. I get this overwhelming urgency to scratch my skin when: I drink a lot of pop; …
Dermatographism Caused by Damp Spleen
About three months ago, I did three things that could of caused me to catch dermatographism: I used a lotion bar from Lush and I started itching …
Thyroid Medication and Skin Hives
My question is related to the use of various medications and the appearance of the dermatographism skin problem. More specifically, my question is: can …
Loss of Spleen and Skin Hives
I had psoriasis on my scalp develop 11 years ago only when I was going through a very stressful divorce from a type of character like Jack Nicholson in …
Burning Skin and Skin Sensitive to Cold
Hi! I've had dermographism for a few years but since January 2010, my skin burns, especially under the feet and the insides of the hands. Also, I'm VERY …
Mast Cells and Dermographism Skin Hives
I would appreciate your opinion on this. Both of my specialists I see (dermatologist and rheumatologist) stated at different times of course that my dermographism …
Does Dermographism Skin Condition Go Away?
The dermatographism treatment page of this website says that this skin condition usually goes away eventually. I am 31 and have had to deal with this …
Dermatographism Skin Hives Problem Questions
Hi, a little about myself. I am a 47 year old female that just went through two surgeries (back and foot surgery) all within nine months. I am still on …
Antibiotic Skin Hives Rash and Dermatographism
I was put on Cipro for 45 days but I took it for only 35 days since I began to feel different and therefore just stopped taking the antibiotic. Not long …
Antihistamines Treat Itch of Dermatographism but not Hives
My story is, at first I noticed I started itching all the time a little while after I turned 22, but my skin would not swell up when I scratched it. As …
Urinary Track Infection and Dermatographism Skin HIves
This all sounds exactly like what I've been experiencing for several months, almost a year. It started with several UTI's (urinary track infections) …
Skin is Hot and Itchy
I have been diagnosed with Dermatographia by an allergist. I am itchy on my stomach, back and sometimes my head. It doesn't happen 365 days a year. …
Scabies Caused Dermographism Hives and Welts?
I am a 32 year old mother of 3. Just recently, about 2 weeks ago, I developed itching around my hairline and it soon progressed to itchy bumps all over …
Dermographism Treatment Questions
I am having my first flare up of this and the doctor diagnosed it as dermographism. Is this something that comes and goes, does it get worse with time, …
Dermographism Causes and Treatment
Can you elaborate on the causes and treatments for dermographism from your own experience? There is no one specific cause for this condition and that …
Other dermatographism information:
Visit this PICTURES OF RASHES PAGE