Dermographism stands for writing on the skin. Dermatographic urticaria is a condition that might look frightening for those who are not familiarized with how it manifests itself. Fortunately, there are some home remedies that will help alleviate the symptoms and make the discomfort easier to bear.
What happens when you have dermatographic urticarial? Stroking the skin will result in a red line caused by capillary dilatation that is followed by an arteriolar dilation. This prompts broadening erythema. Next up, a linear wheal is formed that causes the transudation of fluid. Dermographism is encountered as an exaggerated response to the tendency of constitutional whealing that is found in 2-5% of the population.
Urticaria is a type of rash that is characterized by red, itchy and red bumps. It’s not uncommon for patients experiencing urticaria to also feel a stinging or burning sensation. Most of the times, urticaria will be caused by an allergic reaction, but nonallergic causes are not completely ruled out.
The distinct signs are wheals. These are pale red areas that can show up on any part of the body, no matter if the cause is allergic or not. Wheals can be as large as several inches or as small as tiny dots. The most common causes for urticaria include:
- Medication. Drugs can easily induce allergic reactions: aspirin, penicillin, dextroamphetamine, clotrimazole, cefaclor, antidiabetic drugs and piracetam are among the best known for having urticaria as a side effect.
- Environmental agents or infections. Urticaria can easily stem from a parasitic infection like ascariasis or fascioliasis.
- Exercise. Patients dealing with exercise urticaria will develop itchiness, hives and experience shortness of breath. Exercise urticaria sets in when patients exercise thirty minutes after eating shellfish or wheat.
- Water. Water-induced urticaria is caused by contact with water. This is followed by the emergence of hives that can last up to fifteen minutes on the skin.
Home remedies for dermatographic urticaria
Dubbed skin writing, dermatographic urticaria appears after the skin is scratched and is characterized by raised, red wheals that can last up to thirty minutes. While this condition doesn’t require treatment and patients usually don’t seek a doctor’s opinion on this, dermatographic urticaria is unpleasant and can lead to social isolation or anxiety.
Dermatographia can affect people of all ages, but it’s more frequent in teenagers. Dermatitis or dry skin can facilitate dermatographia urticaria.
This type of alternative medicine is used to relief a wide range of conditions and to soothe pain. Although study research is inconsistent, it is believed that acupuncture can help relieve dermatographic urticaria. The common acupuncture points could be spleen 10 and large intestine 11. There are various types of acupuncture available, including sham procedures that rely on the placebo effect to cure dermatographic urticaria.
A study involving patients suffering from chronic urticaria chose forty patients that were divided into two groups. One of the groups received the real acupuncture treatment, while the other one received the sham procedure for three weeks. The results pointed out that the majority of the patients who benefited from the real treatment were met with a remission of their symptoms. The study discovered that the best results were noticed in the third week following the treatment. Researchers also noted that the beneficial effects of acupuncture increase with each session.
2. Lukewarm showers
In order to protect your body from extreme temperatures, avoid taking baths or showers that are too hot or too cold. Dermatographic urticaria reacts to firm stroking, but could also be facilitated by sudden changes in temperatures. In the same vein, you should avoid saunas, jacuzzis and going out in freezing temperatures, when possible.
3. Hypo-allergenic products
Dermatographic urticaria is connected to sensitive skin that needs special care. Try to choose hypo-allergenic products that don’t contain harsh soaps or harmful chemicals. Avoid scrubbing the skin and use a patting motion for moisturizing. It hasn’t been proven that patients that suffer from dermatographic urticaria should only use hypo-allergenic products, however, since the causes of the condition are still being studied, it’s best not to take any chances with harsh chemicals.
4. Apple cider vinegar
For a topical use, apple cider vinegar is the ideal candidate for soothing dermatographic urticaria. It has a cooling, soothing effect and it has unique antihistamine properties that relieve inflammation on the spot. Additionally, apple cider vinegar has the ability to regulate the immune system’s response.
There are two ways you can use apple cider vinegar. You can add two cups of vinegar to a tub filled with warm water. Use this technique and soak in the water and apple cider vinegar bath on a daily basis for fifteen to twenty minutes. The second method involves diluting one part apple cider vinegar in one part water and washing down the problem areas a couple of times per day.
Oats don’t only make for a nutritious breakfast, they are also great for topical use. Oatmeal has soothing, anti-irritating abilities that make it a great home remedy for dermatographic urticaria. Topical application instantly relieves itching and wheals.
To use this remedy, mix two cups ground oatmeal with one cup baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture in a tub filled with warm water. Be sure to give it a stir before you soak in the water. You can repeat the process on a daily basis and soak for fifteen minutes.
6. Aloe vera
There is barely anything more soothing and calming than aloe vera. This universal natural remedy boasts antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties that help relief redness and calm down irritation. Great for topical use, aloe vera can also be taken internally. This stimulates immunity and eliminates inflammatory toxins.
Using aloe vera for topical applications is simple. Fresh aloe vera works best, so if you have your own plant, choose a plump leaf and break it in two. Use the gel for immediate application on the irritated skin. You can leave the treatment on for up to fifteen minutes and then follow up with a gentle rinse.
For internal use, aloe vera juice can be consumed on a daily basis. The nutrients it contains help boost the immune system. However, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid this treatment.
Although this might seem counterintuitive, nettles are a highly recommended alternative treatment for dermatographic urticaria. The unique properties that qualify it as a great remedy are the anti-inflammatory and antihistamine abilities. Nettles have the power to relieve itching and swelling.
Nettle tea can be made by using a tablespoon of dry nettles leaves to one cup of water. Steep the herbs up to fifteen minutes and sweeten the tea with a teaspoon of honey. You can also take nettle supplements, but you should consult a doctor beforehand.
The cooling effect of mint makes it a popular remedy for dermatographic urticaria. In addition to this, it has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities that put a stop to burning or itching sensations.
You can use mint to make a liquid for washing the irritated skin. You can use two teaspoons of fresh leaves to boil in a cup of water for five minutes. Allow the liquid to cool down and cool it in the refrigerator prior to use. You can also prepare mint tea by boiling one teaspoon of crushed leaves in a cup of water for five minutes and sweetening it with a teaspoon of honey.
Another universal remedy, ginger works wonder internally and externally. You can drink ginger teas throughout the day to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits or apply ginger concoctions locally to soothe skin.
Types of urticaria
Dermatographic urticaria should be distinguished from different types of urticaria:
- Acute urticaria. Also known as hives, this is a vascular reaction at the skin’s level. It is manifested through smooth, elevated papules (or wheals). It is not uncommon for these erythematous to be accompanied by severe pruritus. The lesions usually go away by themselves in a few hours without leaving any scarring. Urticaria episodes are generally of short duration and self-limited. Chronic urticaria is characterized by frequent eruptions that spread over a period of time of more than six weeks.
- Cholinergic urticaria. Caused by a physical stimulus, cholinergic urticaria appears because of sweat. This condition breaks down into four categories: poral occlusion, generalized hypohidrosis, sweat allergy and idiopathic (unknown) cholinergic urticaria. Generally, patients struggling with the latter form are dealing with an autoimmune reaction
- Chronic urticaria. Not a disease in itself, urticaria is rather a reaction representing degranulation of cutaneous mast cells. Urticaria that persists for more than six weeks can be categorized as chronic urticaria, which presents wheals or hives.
- Contact syndrome urticaria. With a self-explanatory name, this type of urticaria can be caused by anything from fragrances and animal products to metals, foods or preservatives. Exposure to these kind of agents resembles exposure to irritants, which is why the patients should be extremely cautious and seek a prompt diagnosis. The condition can be classified in immunologic and nonimmunologic contact urticaria.
- Pressure urticaria. A less frequent type of physical urticaria, pressure urticaria is characterized by erythematous swelling in the points of pressure. This condition can appear on the spot, within a few minutes after a pressure stimulus.
- Solar urticaria. Brief exposure to sunlight will cause stinging, wheals and pruritus in patients suffering from solar urticaria. The signs of this condition will go away in a few minutes or a couple of hours and won’t cause any pigmentary changes.