Emma Aldenryd has a rare condition Dermatographia, in which the skin becomes red and swollen when touched. Instead of hiding away her skin condition, she decided to embrace it and use her own body as an artistic medium. The Danish teen became aware of her condition three years ago, when a friend noticed her arms red and swollen.
Emma, from Aarhus, Denmark, creates her very own type of body art by running a pencil over her skin, leaving behind temporary doodles. The illustrations last only for half an hour, so she is basically a human Etch A Sketch. She shares her skin drawings on her Instagram page @dermatographia_, likesnaps of smiley faces, flowers and love hearts to entertain her followers.
She later found out that her two cousins had the same condition, but 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 have any negative impact on her life. Doctors prescribed her antihistamines to suppress its itchiness. But when she realized these would stop her from doing her body drawings, she ditched them. Thankfully her symptoms are mild enough that this doesn’t cause her any harm.
Emma explained that she first started to draw some random bunch of stuff like some words that came to her mind on her arms. She spelt small words and showed them to her friends. It was part of her party trick.It caught people’s attention very soon through her social platforms. They were really impressed, especially after they tried to do on their own skin but weren’t able to. Lots of people asked her whether it hurts or not but she said that her dermatographia has never hurt her. She did get some wild reactions and some people even thought that she was dying.
She tries to do lots of symbols that everybody will understand like smiley faces or well-known words like Hi. Emma explained that she does the designs with a pencil so that the lines are crisper.If it is done with anything else it would make the designs less readable as the swelling would become broader. She also explained that she usually does them quite quickly, in under a minute so that the designs are even when she photographs them, for aesthetic reasons!
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 even for a day or longer.