The Strange and Beautiful World of Skin Writing

Dermatographia UrticariaDermatographia Urticaria—commonly known as skin writing—while only affecting a very small portion of the world’s population, makes for one of the most intriguing conditions of the skin one could imagine. Recently, artist Adriana Page Russell—who herself has the disorder—published photographs of her own, displaying how beautiful a skin condition can be.

Dermatopgrahia is characterized by extreme hypersensitivity, sometimes leading to welts and inflammation of the skin, with only the slightest scratch or pinch. This allows for the ability to ‘write’ or ‘draw’ on one’s own skin, without permanent damage, or feel even the slightest sensation of pain. As a result, this condition allows for the most beautiful and strange designs to be traced along the body, which then disappears in a matter of about twenty to thirty minutes.

Many of the causes of Dermatographia are unclear, however it can be caused by an allergen. Nevertheless, these allergens are often unknown. Penicillin and emotional stress can also to be attributed to the cause of the condition. Development of the disorder can occur at any point in life, and may even go away on its own.

Though symptoms aren’t ncessarily severe, those with Dermatographia can be prescribed a standard treatment of antihistamines. However, this treatment is usually only offered if symptoms become bothersome. Currently there is no real permanent cure available, however, artists like Russell have found away almost to embrace this condition by utilizing the unkown. What may have been considered a disfiguring disorder in the past, has become a work of art in the present.