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Mystery Red and Itchy Skin with Raised Welts
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An_207487 posted:
One day about a year ago I borrowed a pair of my boyfriend's pajama pants and within a few minutes I started itching like crazy all over. I assumed it had something to do with whatever laundry detergent he used, but since that day I have had problems with my skin.

Areas on my body will become red and feel like they are burning, which is usually my ears and sometimes my upper lip, but this recently has spread to my forehead as well. I will find large raised welts on my skin all over my body, which usually look like a long, fat grub is under my skin. I will also get terribly itchy on my legs, bottom, back, chest, and neck. When I scratch the areas will become very red and raised from my scratch marks, which never used to happen throughout my life when I scratched any section of my skin. All of these symptoms seem to come and go. I will be horribly itchy one moment, then it will pass, then another symptom might start up.

I went to see a dermatologist, who suggested I try some Cortisone cream and said that this is something that just happens to people sometimes and that there is no reason for it, but that it usually goes away within a bit of time. I didn't want to use the Cortisone cream since it contained steroids, plus all of my symptoms come and go anyway so I didn't see the cream as being much of a help in stopping this.

A holistic doctor said I might have extreme sensitivity to fragrances and dyes and also be allergic to chicken, beef, corn, and tomatoes, which are hard for me to remove from my diet, especially since corn is in so much. For a few months I tried taking holistic medicine for sensitivity for fragrances, dyes, as well as corn. Nothing helped. I even began using fragrance free soap, conditioner, and shampoo, since often I find that when I exit the shower my ears will be red and feel like they are burning and that maybe the cause of that was the soap, but this didn't help either.

I don't feel any better or worse if I use products with fragrances or eat certain foods. The symptoms don't always happen after I eat, often I will have symptoms just sitting in bed while reading a book or working on the computer. I've never heard of anyone else ever having any of these problems and they all started so suddenly and I don't know what this could be or what I could do.

I feel like I can't be comfortable in my own skin anymore. I'll suddenly start itching everywhere and have raised welts all over my body. It is embarrassing when this happens in public and especially when I get welts on my face and my face becomes red. And my body looks horrible when I scratch at it and I have raised claw marks from my nails, which doesn't leave any scarring, but at times looks like something out of a horror movie.
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redscorp responded:
My daughter has the same symptoms. Very random and nothing in common to cause the symptoms. She has had the swollen lip twice - once at our house and once at a friend's house. She has had about 6-10 occurrences of the welts which just began in the last three months. We too have tied to find a commonality - she's never in the same place when she has an episode, different clothes and eaten different foods. We don't have anything new in the home which could be an allergen - nothing in the way of switching detergent, new carpeting or furniture. Nothing has changed during the past three months that we can determine would have caused the episodes. I am thinking possibly hives, but they are normally gone in less than 5 hours. And hers also look like something out of a horror movie. Every time I decide to take her to the dr they are gone by the time we arrive and there's no concern on their behalf. She had an episode tonight and I took a picture of it. Have you been able to find any solution?
 
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Susan Evans, MD replied to redscorp's response:
Dear redscorp and Anon 80522,

You're both doing the right thing trying to figure out what is causing the skin reactions you are experiencing/seeing. This typically does indicate a sensitivity to something in your environment.

Here is a link to WebMD's article on Hives and Urticaria . You may find the information helpful as you continue to investigate the root cause of the problem.

Best,

Dr. Evans
 
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An_207488 replied to Susan Evans, MD's response:
Dr. Evans,

I've continued to have this every day and had an especially bad looking set of raised marks the other day that I took a photo of <a href="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v331/jennekohan/leg.jpg">here</a>.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v331/jennekohan/leg.jpg

It looks like scratch marks, but I wasn't scratching and there are eight lines, which are broken in half in an area. I hadn't had anything to eat that day, nor had I used any bath products. Even as I'm typing this now I feel a small area on my upper lip becoming hot and I just checked it and it is red. This continues even when I'm in different environments and try to stay away from fragrances, dyes, and certain foods. I'm at a loss as what to do and this seems different than hives.
 
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An_207489 replied to redscorp's response:

redscorp,

I haven't been able to find any solution to this and while I've continued to have this every day since I last posted, I had an especially nasty looking episode a few days back. I hadn't had anything to eat and hadn't bathed, so I can rule out it being any foods or sensitivity to any fragrances or dyes in bath products.

It looks like scratch marks, but I hadn't been scratching. I had simply gotten up and taken my dog out in the backyard that day. And even relating to animals, I continue to have this even when I'm away from home for weeks at a time.

Does your daughter get marks that look like these?
 
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chibinuku replied to Susan Evans, MD's response:

Sorry attaching the photo here since I did it incorrectly earlier.
 
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Susan Evans, MD replied to chibinuku's response:
I understand that you feel if you don't eat anything or use any bathing products, you think that you're not exposing yourself...however, there are many things that we don't see that can be the culprit.

It appears that you've become sensitized to something. Typically the first time, you don't necessarily react, but each subsequent exposure can cause more intense reactions.

If this continues, you may consider an appointment with an allergist to see if you need to do sensitivity testing.

Best,

Dr. Evans
 
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Aedys responded:
I am so glad you posted a picture of your marks!! my 7 month old has the same thing going on. We were in a different environment when it first happened, and I was thinking cats had been the cuse at first. We have been way from the cats now for 2 days and washed all clothes but still happening. While cats may be the cause I am not ruling out anything else. I am putting bentonite clay paste on him when I see them forming because I can only immagine having that itch that you cant quite scratch. If it continues, I'l take him to a specialist, but I prefer the holistic approach.
Please let me know if you found out what it is called and if you know the source and how you have dealt with it.
Thanks!!
 
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An_238220 replied to An_207489's response:
I get the same raise red marks that look like scratch marks. I only get them on my arms though. I also can not figure out why I get them. I have had some crazy thought sometimes that maybe it could be paranormal, like a ghost doing it. I know it sounds crazy but I have always had to deal with the paranormal since I was young so that is why the thought acrossed my mind. I know I have no allergies and I have never made any changes to my diet or soaps. If anyone has an answer please let us know.
 
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Anon_80522 replied to An_238220's response:
This is the original poster. While I haven't had the opportunity to go to a dermatologist to confirm this, I believe that I have dermatographsim, also known as dermographis, dermography, Dermatographic urticaria, or "skin writing". This is a skin disorder seen in 4—5% of the population and is one of the most common types of urticaria , in which the skin becomes raised and inflamed when stroked, scratched, rubbed, and sometimes even slapped. If you google pictures you can see how by just touching the skin it will look like my photo. I've seen numerous photos of other individuals with this where they can spell out visible words just by touching their skin. I tried it on myself and just a few minutes later exactly where I touched was raised and welt-like in the patterns I'd touched on my skin.
 
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Seven74 replied to An_207489's response:
I HAVE THE SOLUTION!

Ok I get the same exact thing!! And after a lot of research I finally found out what it is and what is the cause. Ok first of all the thing is called Dermatographic Urticaria, and the main cause is STRESS. Tight clothing, temperature can also cause it, but it is mainly caused by stress. The underlying cause of dermographism is not known, and can last for many years without relief. Ninety-five percent of chronic cases are never solved. Sometimes the condition goes away, sometimes it stays forever. It is not a life-threatening disease and is not contagious (transferable to other persons).

So honestly I wouldn't worry because it's not life-threatening.

Dermographism can be treated by antihistamines , which prevent histamine from causing the reaction.

But again, it's no big deal, and if it happens, just try to relax and relieve some stress! Good luck everyone!
 
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mamawatkins1 replied to An_207488's response:
OMG that is how my welts look,sorry to say this feels sooo good to see it on someone else and know i'm not the only one.
 
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MCapatan replied to Seven74's response:
OMG ! I am glad I came across this site, I have been suffering from this burning itch all over my body or face, with raised scratch marks ( that i didn't scratch) that would last for a long while . I have been using some itch lotion to get rid of the itch but it doesn't work all the time. I usually end up taking benadryl and it helps but it knocks me out. I have been trying to figure out what's causing it , trying to rule out what I'm allergic to but nothing seems to be consistent. I can be at work or at home or even in the car driving and I would have this intense itch . I can't say I'm not worried coz I am and it's been bothering me for years now. What you just said kinda made sense though, coz I tried to figure out if it's the food,the detergent or anything,but one thing I noticed is that when I'm stressed or as soon as i get off my tight uniform that's when it starts. I am just glad that I am not imagining things and that there are other people who are experiencing the same thing. That picture is exactly how it looks like for me too. Scratch marks that could be long or short anywhere on my body. At least now I have an idea of what it really is. Thanks a lot !
 
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76bobby replied to MCapatan's response:
My back gets itchy at times and turns to red welts with slight rubbing or scratching. Sometimes when I wake up by back will be covered with red welts, even if I have not scratched it. They seem to go away after a few hours. I would like to find the cause. This is my first post here. Thank you.
 
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FloridaCountryGirl replied to Seven74's response:
Thank You for summing this up for alot of us. I have been going through this for over 2 years now and I have always tried all kinds of itching creams/ointments and spent alot of money and nothing really totally would work. I went to my doctor with pictures and he gave me steroid pills to take for 3 weeks and every week was a different dosage until finished, well that did not help at all. I have been doing alot of searching and I came up with nothing until now. I was going to make an appointment to a dermatoligist and bring the pictures I have and see what they had to say. I am going to research Dematographic Urticaria and look more into this. I understand it is not life threatening, but it is very annoying and so uncomfortable, especially when you are in bed and trying to get some sleep. I really wish there was some kind of cure, cause sometimes at work when it happens its very embarrassing and when it first started up on me my husband would say dont scratch it and he would really piss me off, he just does not understand how intense the itching can get. I get it all over my body, it will start on my arms and then just start spreadding all over and then after a while it just all dissappears. there are times I can go all day will nothing and then be at home watching tv or being on my lap top and bam it will start up. I will try to take your advise and will try to relax and relieve some stress, but it does not always occur when I am under stress.


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