My Paper Skin Tale

Paper Skin

Dermatographism

I have been with this weird condition for a couple of months already. It was a suffering for me at first, because I felt that my body isn’t normal at all. Though the disorder only emerges in my integumentary system, it annoys me a lot every time it gets warm and itchy particularly when I am on class or dealing with people. It is just so embarrassing and awkward to scratch your skin in front of people; they may think that you have pediculosis when you scratch your head, poor hygiene and worst if they accused you of having some contagious skin disease. Before, every time the allergy attacks and I am in a middle of a situation, I just endure the itchiness and tried my best not to scratch it in front of people. Being curious about the localized wheal and erythema that projects over my skin after stroking, scratching, wearing tight clothing, plucking, rubbing and exposing to skin pressures, I made a research and found out that my condition from an exaggerated immune response. Unsatisfied, I visited an immunologist for a confirmation and little by little I gained hope to accept it. Dermatographic uticaria, dermatographism, dermographism, paper skin, skin writing allergy or whatever they call it, is a subset of urticaria or hives which is a distinguished for pale red, raised, itchy bumps. Chronic urticaria (hives lasting longer than six weeks) is rarely due to a simple allergy, it is usually caused by an allergic reaction, idiopathic or unknown autoimmune response, emotional and physical stress, viral infection and as a symptom to an underlying diseases such as Crohn’s disease, Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Dermatographism is the most common type of physical urticaria which could appear in any ages but most commonly in early teens to late twenties affecting both male and female. The symptoms are thought to be caused by cells in the surface of the skin letting go histamines without the existence of antigens, because of a weak membrane surrounding the mast cells. The histamine release causes the skin to swell in the affected areas. This fragile membrane easily and rapidly splits down under physical pressure causing an allergic-like reaction, as a whole a red wheal (welt) comes out on the skin. It can often be confused with an allergic reaction to the object causing a scratch, when in fact it is the act of being scratched that causes a wheal to appear. The wheal are usually accompanied by itching lasting 15-30 minutes for mild cases and few hours to days with severe cases.

Pathophysiology

  • Risk Factor:

Predisposing 

Genetic: Mom’s allergic reaction to simple antigen is evident.
Age: Late adolescent

Precipitating

Late June 2011

Insect bite: I was bitten by an unknown insect while I am asleep, when I woke up my forehead become so red and itchy. I disregard it at first, but on the following day it swells up so bad starting on my forehead then going down to my nose making me look like the girl on splice.

Antibiotic therapy:  I was scared due to the inflammation process that I had with the insect bite. URGGHH! Terrible insect how much toxins did he inject to my skin that it swells out very bad and made me look like a monster. Afraid that it would radiate into my brain, I went to a doctor. The doctor advised me to have an antibiotic therapy. Having clinical backgrounds, I was confused, she didn’t prescribe an antihistamine.

Early August

Splice face is started to vanish but still on antibiotic therapy.

Early August

Splice face is started to vanish but still on antibiotic therapy.

Mid-August 2011

Physical Stress:  School and thesis stuffs while I am in the middle of my cosplay career where I got busy doing my costumes and preparing skits. In addition to that, I’ve got a dancing group and went into exhaustive dance rehearsals, auditions and photo shoots. Just imagine how I managed all those activities while being a responsible daughter at home. Maximizing my time pressured and lack of sleep.

Late August:
Emotional Stress: TT my boyfriend went back to his country.  He didn’t contact me right away around 2 weeks upon arriving. With the promises we had, it made me so depressed and started to think negative things. Tears suddenly fell when I’m alone thinking that he is already gone. So, I diverted my attention to the things that keeps me busy. In short, I pushed myself to the limit.

Excessive Dust Exposure: After church, we stepped in into an “ukay-ukay” (surplus-shop), amazed by the cheap bags that they sell. So, we picked and picked and grab the chance to shop bags which has been tucked with dusts. I’m aware I’m allergic to dust, like when I clean our household and simply sweep the floor; I sneeze and develop a runny nose but I never thought that it would be harsh that time.

Diagnostic evaluation:
Eosinophil count
CBCwith differential count

Skin tests:
Total Serum Immunoglobulin
Provocative testing
Radioallergosorbent

Daily Management:

Avoid extreme hot and extreme cold temperature
Avoid wearing tight outfits, use loose cotton clothing as much as possible
Avoid crowded places
Low protein diet( avoid eating foods that triggers allergy like chicken, sea foods like crab and shrimps, chocolates, nuts, soda and etc.
Avoid hopping into grassfields
Limit time on swimming, especially on sea.
Use hypo-allergenic products from soap to cosmetics; with everything you use on your body
Change bed linens regularly
Take shower at least twice a day.
Have a healthy diet, consume vegetables and fruits

Medical management:

Antihistamines
Steroids
Adrenergic agents
H1 blockers
Mast cell stabilizer

Uh-oh, it might be abnormal, but just think positive and everything will turn out fine, who knows you will be the next Ariana Page Russell who uses her body as a basis for art then you will become famous for that!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa says:

    I am currently being treated by a doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. I know that this will work as the condition will only be alleviated once the cause of the problem is identified and cured. Mine was brought on by a period of EXTREME stress. My son almost didn’t graduate from high school. Prior to that, I had poison ivy on my arm which healed and was then followed by six spider bites which finally healed. The incident with my son happened next and bam…dermographia. Good luck with your treatment. I refuse to seek any help from “western” medicine.

    Like

  2. faeriepuff says:

    Hello Lisa, thanks for your comment. I didn’t know that Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture could also help. Dermographia do happens when there is a current exposure to allergens plus emotional stress. I am just taking antihistamines as of now, just to control the itching but am not sure if it could actually heal it. Anyway Lisa, let us just cheer up and good luck to your treatment too, please notify me whenever it would be effective. Thanks Lisa!

    Like

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