Sensitive Skin -- What are the possible causes?
November 7, 2013 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Hi, I am hoping to get to the bottom of something that has been driving my nuts ever since I was a kid. I have hypersensitive skin to touch. It turns red (or sorta faded yellow/white) the second it is pressed. If I poke my arm with a finger I can see a circle that fades from red, yellowish to white and then it goes back to normal. All within 10-15 seconds. I noticed it being annoying whenever I went for a haircut and scissors glided along my forehead. It would leave a red mark for the next 5-10 minutes. Secondly whenever I went in for a massage, the therapist would joke that I bruise easily and turn red within a second of being touched. Could my blood type be the reasoning behind this? I am ' A- ' and I am just taking a wild shot at dark here. Was hoping someone with experience could clue me in to why my skin acts the way it does. My roots are predominantly southern-european with some distant Turkish/Ottoman ancestry. Green eyes and moderately white skin complexion. I'm not Irish-white by any means but white like most southern Europeans. Thank You for your insight!
posted by bostonhill to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Dermatographic urticaria
posted by asockpuppet at 1:09 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh... I think I've developed that (Dermatographic urticaria) since being on Bupropion (Wellbutrin)... interesting..
posted by BleuLlama at 1:22 PM on November 7, 2013


I have a thing whose name I can't remember that is basically excessive release of histamines, and I also turn red really easily--if you gently scratch my skin with, say, the edge of a credit card, it will cause a red welt, for instance. An allergist told me about this when I went for allergy testing--it made scratch testing challenging because I had a histamine reaction just to being scratched, whether I was allergic to the testing material or not.
posted by not that girl at 1:25 PM on November 7, 2013


I have intermittent dermagraphia (it's never been severe enough to get treated) and it doesn't sound like an exact match to what you have, although of course I have no idea how much variability there is between people. (My marks have never been yellow -- instead they are red, and sometimes are surrounded by white, like the histamine control on an allergy test. They are generally raised slightly, like the ones illustrated on the Wikipedia page. I'm lucky enough that it doesn't happen often, but when the marks show up they generally take several minutes to fade, not just a few seconds.)

Have you noticed any triggers? If it is dermagraphia, I find mine is exacerbated by hot showers, heat in general, and allergy issues -- any other allergic triggers will make it much worse, even if the allergen doesn't touch my skin.
posted by pie ninja at 1:25 PM on November 7, 2013


Having A- blood type is immaterial; your blood type has nothing to do with this.
posted by easily confused at 1:27 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know what the medical term is for this or what the cause it is but it's not your blood type.
posted by radioamy at 1:47 PM on November 7, 2013


I have diagnosed dermatographic urticaria, and the same phenomenon you describe, also happens to my skin. I don't know if it's related, but it wouldn't surprise me.
posted by Coatlicue at 1:49 PM on November 7, 2013


Yup, dermatographic urticaria, dermatographism, or dermatographia—there are multiple names for it, but it all does what you describe. In severe cases, it can lend itself to artwork!

If you ever have a rash due to allergy or contact with something like poison ivy, having this means you should avoid scratching as much as possible, because with this condition, you can actually make yourself itch or develop hives just by scratching, which can kind of set off a chain reaction of itching due to scratching, even after the original allergen is gone. That's how I got diagnosed with it, after a several-months-long period like that.
posted by limeonaire at 3:53 PM on November 7, 2013


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