Dermographism literally means writing on the skin. It is known by many different names, such as dermatographic urticaria, dermatographism, or skin writing. It is a common type of urticaria; a skin problem in which the skin becomes raised and inflamed when stroked, scratched, rubbed, and sometimes even slapped.
The underlying causes of dermographism are not clearly known; however, it is thought to be caused due to the release of histamines by the mast cells. When histamines are released, the weaker membranes surrounding the mast cells may be damaged and cause swelling. It is not a lethal disease and it is not contagious or infectious.
The underlying cause of dermographism is not known, and can last for many years without relief. At least 95% of chronic cases are never solved. Sometimes, the condition goes away; sometimes it stays forever.
Dermographism or urticaria dermographism may triggered by stress, very tight clothing, wristwatches, glasses, kissing, extreme temperatures, or anything that may cause stress to the skin of the patient. In most cases, it is only a negligible issue; however, in extreme cases, symptoms can be severe enough to affect the patient’s life.
White dermographism is a rare kind of dermographism characterized by linear blanching of skin with atopic dermatitis in response to hard stroking, scratching, or slapping.
Dermographism hives is another common name of dermatographic urticaria. Actually, hives is a commonly used name of the skin disease called urticaria in medical language. It occurs in response to certain physical allergies, in which slapping, stroking, or scratching of the skin of the person with any rough instrument produces a pale, raised, wheal, with a red flare on each side. Most of these conditions vanish within a few hours after their outbreak, but in severe cases they may stay much longer and need proper medical treatment.