To test if you have dermatographia, your health care provider may draw a tongue depressor across the skin of your arm or back. If a raised line or a welt appears within a few minutes, you likely have the condition.


Treatment for dermatographia often isn't needed, as symptoms tend to clear up on their own. But if your symptoms are bad or bother you, your health care provider may suggest a mild antihistamine medicine taken by mouth. These are sold at drugstores. First try a type doesn't cause drowsiness, such as fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine (Alavert, Claritin, others) or cetirizine. If none of these help, your health care provider may prescribe a stronger medicine for use at bedtime. An example is doxepin.

Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care provider. Or you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in skin conditions. This type of doctor is called a dermatologist. Or you might need to see a doctor who specializes in allergies. This type of doctor is called an allergist.

Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.

What you can do

At the time you make the appointment, ask if you need to do anything. For example, you may be asked to stop taking your antihistamine pill for a few days before your appointment.

You may also want to:

  • List your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to your skin symptoms.
  • List key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • List all medicines, vitamins or supplements you're taking.

What to expect from your doctor

Your health care provider is likely to ask you a few questions, including:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Were you sick right before your symptoms started?
  • Did you start taking a new medicine right before your symptoms started?
  • Have your symptoms been nonstop? Or do they come and go?
  • How bad are your symptoms?
  • Do your symptoms get in the way of your daily activities?
  • Do you have allergies? If so, what are you allergic to?
  • Do you have dry skin or any other skin conditions?
  • Does anything improve your symptoms?
  • Does anything make your symptoms worse?
Feb. 04, 2023
  1. AskMayoExpert. Pruritus without rash. Mayo Clinic; 2021.
  2. Bolognia JL, et al., eds. Pruritus and dysesthesia. In: Dermatology Essentials. 2nd ed. Elsevier; 2022. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 28, 2022.
  3. Office of Patient Education. Care of Dry Skin. Mayo Clinic; 2017.
  4. Dinulos JGH. Urticaria, angioedema, and pruritus. In: Habif's Clinical Dermnatology. 7th ed. Elsevier; 2021. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 28, 2022.
  5. Dermographism. Dorland's Medical Dictionary Online. https://www.dorlandsonline.com. Accessed Sept. 28, 2022.
  6. Dermatographism. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. https://www.aocd.org/page/Dermatographism. Accessed Sept. 28, 2022.
  7. Nobles T, et al. Dermatographism. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531496. Accessed Sept. 28, 2022.
  8. Burks AW, et al. Urticaria and angioedema. In: Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 9th ed. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 29, 2022.
  9. Link JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Nov. 1, 2022.

Dermatographia (Dermatographism)