What is it?

Dermatographia, or skin writing, is a skin condition in which minor scratches turn into a significant reaction, similar to hives, and then disappear within 30 minutes. The scratches worsen, become red and itchy, and cause deep wounds. It is more common in children or young adults. The cause for this condition is yet unknown but it seems to be an allergic response. In some, it is triggered by infections,certain medications, stress, allergy history, excessive rubbing from clothing or bedding and some styles of exercise. Risk factors include other skin conditions such as dermatitis or a tendency to dry skin.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Dermatographia
- Factitial urticaria
- Dermatographic urticaria

Signs & symptoms

Dermatographia symptoms may include raised red lines, hive-like warts, itching, swelling and inflammation of the skin that occur within a few minutes from the skin being rubbed or scratched and typically disappear within 30 minutes. Symptoms may get worse in extreme temperatures.


Diagnosis of dermatographia is done in a simple physical examination by scratching or rubbing the skin and looking for the typical response.


Many times, this condition does not require treatment. If the reaction is severe or it bothers the patient, antihistamine medications are prescribed.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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