Causes, Cures, And Remission.

I have had dermatographia for just a few months. I found my way to this site mostly out of fear; that eventually my zyrtec would stop working and that my dermatographia would not go into "remission" so to speak. I believe my DG to have been brought on by an allergy to Ranitidine, and as such I do not have cause to believe it would "go away with time" either. I have 2 other rare conditions as well, which I am glad to discuss if anyone would like.

These other conditions are a form of "reflux" referred to as LPR, and Celiac's disease. I'm so glad to have found this site so that I don't have to feel like I'm the only one. (with DG, but also with these others).

Apparently, people with an autoimmune condition (such as Celiac's) are prone to have a higher "ANA titer" according to a friend who is a nurse and has DG herself; and these conditions are prone to cause dermatographia.

My purpose for sharing "my story" in this way is to provide a common central place for us to share things that have worked:

1) What do you believe to have caused your DG? At what point did it develop? Were there any new catalysts in your life at that time? (Allergens, stress, medications)

2) How do you treat your dermatographia?

3) What stories have you heard of people's DG going away?

To answer my own questions posed, and start the conversation rolling... ;-)
1) I believe I had a second, more drastic response to the drug ranitidine. The first time I took the drug gave me discolored stool, so I thought I could deal with the same side effect a second time. (Whoops! They say hindsight is 20-20...)
2) I use zyrtec about every other day; I try to minimize its use so that I don't build a tolerance to the drug.
3) I do not know of anyone who has had DG and that it later went away for... I only know that the medical community does not agree on a cause, and that my allergist says it can go away in months or in years but there's no way to tell when (or if.) :-p
phenomen0s phenomen0s
31-35, M
12 Responses Jan 6, 2013

1. I've had it since I was 6 years old, I'm now 24. I have no known cause of it. I remember the worst point was when I was in England right before I was diagnosed. The palms of my hands got super swollen and itchy. My mom thought it could be a chocolate allergy because we had gone to a chocolate factory and been eating more. I had allergy tests done and am not allergic to chocolate.

I was also recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and know that if you have one, you are likely to have another. I'm wondering if my DG could be autoimmune. However, I'm not willing to take immunosuppressants.

2. I take fexofenodine(Allegra) daily because I also have year round pollen allergies. I definitely notice the itch if I forget to take it for a day or two.

3.i haven't heard of DG going away. Mine is definitely quite controlled with antihistamines, though.

1. I don't know when it started. As far as I know, I was born with it and I am 61 now. My brother has it, too, as well as my grandson. It freaked out my DIL when she saw it. I freaked out, too, until I saw it disappear a couple of hours later. I had to break the news to her about her son.
2. I used to take nothing for it when I was a kid. Just scratch. I would scratch till I bled and then I was ok. I had to shave my legs every day until I was in my 50's because the stubble caused tiny itchy welts all over. It eased up within the past decade. I would carry my books home from school and, man, if I was carrying spiral notebooks in my arms, I had welts all along my forearm where the spirals were.
3. I still have it but to a much, much lesser degree, thank God. I can still cause raised red marks on my forearms, but they go away fast and barely itch.

1. I do not know what triggered the onset of my DG. I have had increasing allergies for the past 15 years. The allergies have progressively worsened in the intensity of the reaction and the number of allergens to which I react. For the last 3 years I have been living with DG.

2. Initially, to treat the intense welting and itching, I was taking Benadryl. I still had not been to the doctor for the condition. Approximately 1 year ago, I suffered an allergic reaction at work, where my tongue and lips swelled and did not subside- even after taking Benadryl. After that incident, my doctor referred me to an allergist. She prescribed me Allegra and nasal sprays every morning, Zyrtec, famatodine, and more nasal sprays every night. Skin testing would later show that I was allergic to nearly everything. You name it, I'm allergic- foods, animals, plants- all of it. I am on a restricted diet for the dietary allergies.

3. I do not know of anyone outgrowing their DG. I have read that people do, but I am not holding out much hope that I will be one of them.

I also suffer from dermatographia. I have had it for 2 1/2 years. It started a few days after I gave birth to my daughter.

I was taking Claritin 12 hour once a day. I now try to only take it when I can no longer stand the itching.

I found through a blog that this is something that has happened to other woman post partum and for few it went a way after the first year

1) I have been depressed and alone for most of my life. My parents hate my guts and at a young age they told me they hated me, and by friends betrayed me a few years later. I never let anyone get close to me for years, except for one girl who wanted to know what I was always such an ******* to everyone. Fool I am, I fell in love with her, and I have had dermatographia ever since. Now that we ended things forever, it's just a constant reminder...
2) I use Allegra or store-brand equivalent (usually just another salt formation). I skip out on it for a week and use it for a week, so that, just like you, I do not build a tolerance to it. ( Do not recommend this course of action. The itching is SO BAD for that week without meds. I'm considering switching to every other day...)
3) I have heard of one story somewhat similar to mine where someone was allergic to their own endorphins, and my doctor said that would be a plausible explanation for me. Seems there are three ways: a: Never be happy; b: Wait until the body recognizes the endorphins as my own; c: It is possible I am absolutely and 100% wrong and that it may go away with time or may stay forever. -.- My doctor too says that in may go away in a few months or years, and I hope that is true. I don't mind taking the pills everyday, but they are starting to affect my sleeping and they are a constant financial drain.

I think I've had DG for my whole life. I had asthma when i was younger and wheeze a lot only when im sick now. I'm pretty sure DG isn't going to go away. I remember having the allergy bump test done when I was really little and I had scratched my arm so they couldn't use it to test because of my DG hives. I was prescribed claritan which I took for years until they switched me to zyrtec. I was bumped up to the adult dosage. If I ever forgot to take my zyrtec before going to school on the morning, I would barely make it past lunch before calling my mom in tears because I would start scratching uncontrollably. I would get insane headaches if I didn't take it for 3 days (the macimum). If I forgot my medicine on vacation, they would just knock me out with benadryl. Eventually I was tired of it and after finals week my sophomore year of college, I stopped taking zyrtec all together. It was the best decision ever. I still have DG but I don't get that uncontrollable desire to scratch through my skin all the way down to my bones. I am interested in the correlation between gluten sensitivity and DG.

ive have urticarial for 13 years and heard the same jive. what I found curious about your entry was ur medication source. I also take zertec every other day. sometimes I feel brave and skip a third day only to regret it. ive been to every sort of dr imaginable including eastern practices. but like clockwork, every other day my skin begins to crawl.

I’ve had DG for roughly a year. It randomly came about and I was too stubborn to talk to a doctor so I scratched myself to sleep for five months. I bought a humidifier, changed soaps, detergents, bath towels and cologne about five times before I realized I couldn’t fix it myself. After meeting with a dermatologist, she suggested taking Claritin or Zyrtec. I tested both antihistamines and Claritin worked best for my situation. My skin will turn blotchy red when irritated or after a hot shower but won’t rise up like it did before and it goes away within minutes. I recently made the switch from the 12 hour pill to the once a day 24 hour. It’s become routine for me unless I miss a few days and the itching/burning sensation returns. It’ll generally take a few days for me to get back on track so I try not to miss.

A time & money saving pointer that I would suggest is to have your doctor write a prescription and send it to your local pharmacy. This way you can get more than 10 tablets per visit and if you have a flex spending plan through your health insurance provider, you can use your Benny card to pay for the prescription and you don’t have to spend any money out of pocket. With my plan, Benny cards can’t be used on over the counter medication unless accompanied with a doctor’s prescription. If you don’t have a Benny card, you can simply use this suggestion to get 60-90 24 hour tablets in a single trip, plus you can refill the prescription when you run out. I simply mentioned dermatographism to my doctor office over the phone and they called it in to the pharmacy the next day without any questions.

I have yet to hear a case where it suddenly went away but the dermatologist tells me that it happens all the time.

Good luck!

I have known I have dermatographia for about 7 years.
1) It started for me when I lived with a smoker. I'm allergic to cigarette smoke, but the severity of it is also determined by my stress levels. When I moved away from a stressful home life and started college, most of it went away. It didn't come back until a few months before my wedding. It was the most severe I've ever had it. Random parts of my body would swell on different days and I would be red in places literally from head to toe. Once the wedding was over, it went away.
2) I treat mine as needed with Zyrtec. There are times where my feet will itch after work from being in contact with my socks all day.
3) I will definitely say mine is not nearly as severe as it used to be. Now my biggest problem is shaving. A few days after I shave when the hair follicles are pushing back through the skin, my legs will itch uncontrollably and I have scratched to bruising and bleeding. Does anyone have any suggestions for this? I can't use a normal razor. I have to use an electric one and that doesn't get it as smooth.
However I have noticed if I have prolonged exposure to stress or cigarette smoke then the itchiness and sensitivity to everything comes back.

I just found out I have dermatographia. My whole life, I thought I was allergic to my nails! Anyway, four years back, I couldn't take the itchiness of my legs. As I've gotten older, the stubble has gotten more and more itchy. In desperation, I finally decided to try laser hair removal. I was supposed to go for 4-5 sessions, but only made it through 3. However, I must say it helped quite a bit. My legs have much less stubble which has reduced the itchiness. Every other day, or so, I use EVO shaving cream and Ban de Soleil razers to shave my legs after I've steamed and scrubbed them in my shower, using my scrubbing gloves. When I get out of the shower, I immediately put Gold Bond Shea butter lotion on my legs. Right now,a I have a double whammy because I'm on Accutane..again... I have found Cetaphil cream (not lotion..the lotion is too thin) works on my face, but I'm sure it would probably work well on my legs too. However, all this being said, I should probably stop being a wimp and go back for more laser hair removal sessions. I didn't have any sort of numbing cream for the sessions because I didn't feel like taking the extra time, but it would have been better to numb the areas so I would continue with the treatments. The treatments themselves are not as expensive as you would think.... I would highly recommend this route!!

Hi! I've had dermatographia for about 17 years. I also have asthma. I wonder if the two are related, both are aggrevated by stress and anxiety. I initially took Zyrtec, but several years ago I switched to Zyrtec D (12-hour) once/day at bedtime and that seems to manage it adequately. My Doctor says that it will go away eventually, we just do not know when. I hope this helps!

1) I honestly have no idea what caused my DG. I lived with it for about 3 years (without knowing what it was) before finally being diagnosed by my Dermatologist a few years ago. My first recollection of experiencing the hives/itching was after touching my bare leg to brand new carpet when we moved in to our newly built home. However, since the hives occur in response to pretty much any contact, I haven't been able to pin point a trigger.
2) I have rotated taking Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra throughout the years. I took one Claritin a day for a year or so until it stopped working. That it is when I switched to trying the others and eventually switched back to Claritin. I am currently taking 4 Claritin a day (at the advice of my new Dermatologist) and have scheduled an appointment for blood allergy testing in the near future.
3) I have never personally met anyone else with DG and have gathered the limited knowledge that I have on it from what I have found "online." I would like to think one day it will just "disappear" but I don't hold out much hope that this will be my reality....

It's 4:00 a.m. right now and I couldn't sleep. I was awoke by hives in very unslightly places and everyday for the last week has been a series of waking nightmares. Oh my god I scratch myself until I bleed about once a day right now. The hives started when I was getting medical testing done for an ongoing reflux concern (in the hopes of saving my voice.) If anyone is reading these please message me and maybe we can offer support to each other.

I can't believe that other sources I'm finding are pointing to the fact that the hives are connected to the dermatographia (in the way I previously understood it.) I'm afraid that these hives will be the newest curse that I will have to accept as "the new lifelong normal."