My nine-year-old son is a human Etch a Sketch – a rare condition means he can DRAW on his skin

SCHOOLBOY Ruaraidh Martin can draw pictures on his skin using just his finger — like an amazing human Etch A Sketch.

The images are caused by a rare medical condition and last half an hour before vanishing.

Superhero fan Ruaraidh, nine, reckons his rare skin-drawing skills put him in the same league as his comic book idols Superman and Wolverine.

He revealed his ability to conjure up pictures on his body using his finger as a pen amazes his pals.

And he said big sisters Kiana, 21, Keeva, 15, and Caoilinn, 11 — who love to draw on him and watch as the images gradually vanish — are in awe of the results caused by a condition called dermatographia.

Ruaraidh has even coined his own comic book-style nickname ‘Dermoboy’ thanks to his gift.

He said: “It’s very cool. I love the X-Men and Wolverine is my favourite.

“So are Batman and Spiderman, and pretty much all of them. But I feel like a superhero now.

“I can write on my legs, chest, stomach and back — even my face. My friends all think I’m cool.

“My sisters are all good at stuff but they can’t draw on themselves.

“It gets a wee bit itchy for a few seconds but I try not to scratch it.

“The drawings disappear after a while, which is good — I don’t want to look weird with random bumps on my arms.”

Ruaraidh, from Kilsyth, Lanarkshire, even joked that his talent might come in handy if he’s stuck for an answer in classes at Eastfield Primary School in Cumbernauld.

He added: “I can pretty much write a message to someone, then just roll up my sleeve and show it off.

“It might be good if someone really smart is sitting across from me and I can scratch on my arm and ask them a question.

“It feels good to have it but if I tell everyone they might start calling me ‘notepad’.”

Ruaraidh’s mum Michelle, 44, said his party trick was first spotted in February.

The radio producer added: “We noticed as we were going out that he had been scratching his leg and there were marks on his face. When he was touching his skin he was leaving red marks. I thought it was just that his nails were too long.”

The skin writing lasts for around 30 minutes and is produced by a raised rash similar to hives.

Michelle added: “Ruaraidh thinks it’s great because he’s a superhero now. He’s even come up with his own superhero name.

“He thinks it’s kind of cool to show it to his pals and he’s not in any pain from it.

“He does get a bit itchy, but that’s all. The slightest wee touch makes an impression on his skin."

Once you do the drawing, you can see it appearing in white after 60 seconds. About five minutes later it goes red and raises up. It takes 30 minutes to then disappear.

She added: "Once you do the drawing, you can see it appearing in white after sixty seconds.

"About five minutes later it goes red and raises up. It takes thirty minutes to then disappear.

“It vanishes and there is no trace of it left at all. It is really bizarre.”

But the condition doesn’t worry Ruaraidh, who loves to scrawl all over himself.

He writes his name and Dermoboy nickname on his body and limbs, a Superman symbol on his back and a lightning bolt forehead scar like boy wizard Harry Potter.

And Michelle says his doting siblings can’t resist using their little brother as a human canvas.

She said: “Whenever he walks by his sisters try to pat him so they can leave a handprint on him. You don’t have to touch him hard at all or even properly scratch him. You just run your nail down slightly and can watch it appear.

“He was showing everyone in the barbers his skin. We are going to make a time lapse video of it.

“I even wrote Etch A Sketch on his skin for a laugh.”

Ruaraidh was diagnosed with the condition last month and has been prescribed anti-allergy medication to combat the effects.

Michelle said she is stumped as to why he has developed the obscure condition.

She said: “We’ve never had dermatographia in the family before as far as I know."

What is dermatographia?

According to the Mayo Clinic, dermatographia is a rare condition known as 'skin writing'.

People who suffer from it can lighlty scratch their skin and the scratches redden into a raised mark.

The causes of it are unknown.

Most people who have it don't seek treatment but if they do doctors often prescribe allergy medicines.

Symptoms include:

  • Raised red lines
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Hive-like welts
  • Itching

She added: “I’ve got a nickel allergy which means I can’t wear certain earrings but it’s nothing like this. Antihistamines are meant to help but before seeing the doctor we hadn’t given him anything because it’s not really bothering him at this stage.”

She added: “I’m not sure if certain foods trigger the condition but I’m keen to find out more.

“I’ve been trying to think of anything in his diet that has affected him and I’ve not changed his washing powder.

“I think certain textures of clothing may affect him more.

“I’m not sure yet if he will grow out of it or not.

“The doctor said there is very little known about dermatographia medically because they don’t know what causes it.”

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