Dermographism is a sharply localized edema that occurs in an area subjected to pressure. All normal human skin can be made to demonstrate dermographism by extreme pressure, as with a whip, but only a few individuals will demonstrate it routinely after a light stroke. The phenomenon may occur spontaneously, but it is usually associated with urticarial drug reactions. Traditionally, dermographia is attributed to release of histamine in the skin. However, recent studies described in a recent issue of the Archives of Dermatology1 indicate that histamine may not have a major role in its production and that chemical agents may create a predermographic state in normal skin.
Esters of niacin (nicotinic acid) induce an erythema in the skin, and, when thurfyl nicotinate is applied in a 5% ointment to the skin, a predermographic state is induced. Ultraviolet radiation and other rubefacients such as mustard oil and glyceryl trinitrate, (nitroglycerine) ointment
A NEW VIEW OF DERMOGRAPHISM. JAMA. 1965;194(8):906–907. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090210070023