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Teen ‘Allergic To Touch’ Uses Her Body As Human Etch A Sketch

by : Emily Brown on : 22 Aug 2020 15:58
Teen 'Allergic To Touch' Uses Her Body As Human Etch A SketchMercury Press

While other people have to rely on pens, henna or tattoos to draw pictures on their bodies, one teenager can create drawings simply by touching her skin.

Emma Aldenryd, from Aarhus, Denmark, has a rare condition known as dermatographia, which can cause her skin to turn red and swell when touched.

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Whenever she has flare-ups of the condition, Emma uses the opportunity to trace over her skin with a pencil, creating patterns and words that become visible when her skin reacts.

Teen allergic to touch can draw patterns on skinMercury Press and Media

The 18-year-old first became aware of her condition three years ago, when a friend noticed her arms were red and swollen. She later learned that her two cousins have the same condition, but she has never met anyone else with it.

Though dermatographia makes Emma’s skin ‘really itchy’, the teen has learned to ignore it and refuses to let it negatively impact her life. She began to have fun with the condition by drawing on her skin, spelling out small words and showing them to her friends as a ‘party trick’.

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Teen draws infinity sign on skinMercury Press and Media

The creations disappear after approximately 30 minutes, making Emma the living embodiment of an Etch A Sketch.

Emma explained:

People who I showed were really impressed, especially after they tried to do the same on their own skin but couldn’t do it. 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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Teen draws smiley face on armMercury Press and Media

Doctors prescribed Emma with antihistamines to help tame the condition, but because Emma isn’t too bothered by her dermatographia she decided to stop taking them so she could continue drawing on her skin.

Emma began sharing her drawings on her Instagram page @dermatographia_, posting snaps of smiley faces, flowers and lovehearts to entertain her followers.

The 18-year-old commented:

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I try and do lots of symbols that everybody will understand like smiley faces or well-known words like Hi. I do the designs with a pencil so that the lines are more crisp.

If you did them with anything else it would make the designs less readable as the swelling would become broader. Usually, I do them quite quickly, in under a minute so that the designs are even when I photograph them, for aesthetic reasons.

Teen draws love heart on skinMercury Press and Media

According to Healthline, approximately 5% of people have this dermatographia, and it’s most common in older children and younger adults. Though swelling typically reduces after 30 minutes, in some cases it can last for a day or longer.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Denmark