Teen Allergic to Touch Uses Her Own Body as Human Etch-a-Sketch

An 18-year-old girl suffering from a skin condition called dermatographia, which causes her skin to swell up when touched, is using her own body as a canvas for playful doodles.

18-year-old Emma Aldenryd creates her very own type of body art by running a pencil over her skin, which causes the lines she traces to swell and redden, leaving behind temporary doodles that fade after about 30 minutes. The Danish teen discovered that she had dermatographia three years ago, after a friend noticed that her arms turned red and swollen. Instead of hiding away her skin condition, Emma decided to embrace it and use her own body as an artistic medium.

Photo: Emma Aldenryd/Instagram

I started by drawing quite random stuff like a bunch of words that came to mind on my arms,” Emma Aldenryd said. “I started by drawing quite random stuff like a bunch of words that came to mind on my arms.”

 

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“People who I showed were really impressed, especially after they tried to do the same on their own skin but couldn’t do it,” the teen added. “Lots of people question whether it hurts, but my dermatographia has never hurt. I did get some wild reactions and some people thought I was dying.”

 

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Emma says that apart from an itchiness of the skin, the rare skin condition hasn’t had any negative impact on her life. Doctors prescribed antihistamines to mitigate the itchiness, but this also fixed the other symptoms, preventing her from doing her body art, so she stopped taking them.

 

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Emma Aldenryd uses a pencil to draw various symbols on her body, and shares the results of her dermatographia flareups on Instagram.

 

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Interestingly, dermatographia art was made famous by Ariana Page, in the early 2000’s. She also draws various patterns on her body, then takes photos of the resulting allergic reaction.

 

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Dermatographia is characterized by an allergic-like reaction where the body releases excessive amounts of histamine, causing capillaries in the skin to dilate and welts to appear.

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