Etch-A-Sketch Mum Can Draw Pictures On Her Skin

14/08/2014 16:59 | Updated 20 May 2015

Sarah Beal who can draw on her skin

Mum-of-five Sarah Beal doesn't need to buy her kids an Etch-a-Sketch for their birthdays: they just use her skin instead!

The 43-year-old has a rare condition which means she – and her kids - can draw patterns on her skin and watch them vanish, just like a real-life version of the children's toy.

Sarah's condition is called dermatographia, which means her skin is so sensitive that the slightest scratch makes it swell and itch. The swellings go down in around an hour.

Sarah, who only discovered she had it three years ago, said: "It's my party trick. I like the fact I can draw on my skin. It's a little bit quirky and different, a great conversation starter.

"The Etch A Sketch comparison is pretty accurate, although I wish a good shake was enough to get rid of the itching."

Dermatographia is thought to be caused when the cells under the surface of the skin release histamines under the slightest pressure.

This causes the skin to swell and causes an allergic-type reaction.

Sarah, from Arley, Warkwickshire, told how she only noticed it by chance.

She said: "I don't know why I thought of it, but after seeing my skin rise at the slightest touch, I wondered if I could draw on it.

"I grabbed a spoon from my kitchen drawer and with the handle drew a heart on my arm. When I saw the heart appear on my skin I loved it.

"It becomes quite itchy and sore afterwards, but I thought it was so interesting to see it stay on my skin like that.

"I have tattoos, so I quite like the idea that you can draw on your skin."

But Sarah, who does not take any regular medication for it, said there were drawbacks.

She said: "Some jewellery can be very painful to wear, especially around my neck.

"I've also got two little dogs and the tiniest scratch from them can be agony."


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