Dermatographia, also known as dermatographism or skin writing, is a common and benign skin condition characterized by the appearance of raised, inflamed lines or welts on the skin when it is lightly scratched. These marks typically vanish within half an hour. While the exact cause of dermatographia remains unknown, it may be associated with factors such as infections, emotional stress, or certain medications.

It’s essential to note that dermatographia is a harmless condition. Most individuals affected by it do not require any specific treatment. However, if you find the symptoms bothersome, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider, who may recommend allergy medication to alleviate the discomfort.


Dermatographia symptoms can encompass:

  • Elevation and redness of the skin in response to scratching.
  • Hives resulting from friction.
  • Swelling.
  • Itchy sensations.
  • Inflammatory reactions.

These symptoms can manifest shortly after the skin is rubbed or scratched and typically subside within half an hour. In exceptional cases, skin manifestations may progress more gradually, persisting for hours to even days. Dermatographia as a condition can endure for months or even years.


The exact cause of dermatographia is not fully understood. While it may be linked to allergies, no specific allergen has been pinpointed. Simple things like rubbing against clothing or bedding can trigger symptoms. In some people, factors like infections, stress, cold exposure, or certain medications may precede symptoms. There are some possible causes of dermatographia:

  • Allergies: While it might be related to allergies, the specific allergen isn’t known.
  • Exercise: Sometimes, physical activity can trigger dermatographia.
  • Temperature: Both heat and cold can be culprits in causing symptoms.
  • Medications: Certain drugs, like penicillin, may lead to dermatographia in some individuals.
  • Stress: Emotional stress can also be a factor.
  • Vibrations: Vibrations from various sources may contribute to this condition.

Risk factors

Anyone can develop dermatographia. But a person might be more susceptible to suffer dermatographia if:

  • Age: Dermatographia can happen to anyone at any age. Young adults and teenagers are more likely to experience it.
  • Skin condition: An individual may be more vulnerable if they already suffer from additional skin conditions including dry skin or atopic dermatitis (eczema).