I’m not fair skinned and turn a lovely shade of brown in the sun. But I do have my share of moles and am quite freckly, increasingly so in the past few years particularly on my back, arms and chest. I do love to sunbathe (we see the sun so infrequently here in the north of England it’s well celebrated when it does come out!), so I’ve always put my multiplying freckles down to sun damage. But some of the freckles, particularly on my back, have started to merge into each other and are lightish brown in colour – I don’t know, I just have a feeling there’s more to them than meets the eye. They look nothing like the huge, dark brown Urticaria Pigmentosa spots I’ve looked at online. But then, my hives look nothing like the humongous hives I’ve seen online either and I still have hives!
I’ve tried rubbing some of my freckles to see if they are positive for Darier’s Sign and nothing much happens, other than they go red. But then I have Dermographism, so I’d expect my skin to go red when I rub it. The freckles don’t hive up or swell or itch. So that rules out Urticaria Pigmentosa. Or does it?
I use a TENS machine for my Ehlers-Danlos related back pain, but in certain places on my back the stick-on gel pads sting like crazy. The pain is prickly, hot and very sharp, a bit like being stung by a nettle. But being as though I can’t turn my head round to look at my back (I’m bendy, but I’m not that good 😉 ) I’ve been clueless as to what the stinging is all about. Until now.
I’ve worked out that the stinging appears to happen when my pads are placed over certain moles or freckles. I was using my TENS machine today and one of the pads was stinging my skin so badly I had to remove it. This is what I found underneath – a freckle which for some reason was swollen and red and blistery looking (sorry for the poor picture quality!). The surrounding area was bright red, and the actual freckle looked like an insect bite. To the bottom of the photo you might also be able to make out a second, smaller, swollen freckle between two normal looking brown freckles. I’m wondering if these are Darier’s Signs? The only images I can find on Google are of huge, white wheals, though there are a couple of photos of just red marks or raised red lumps. You can see what my freckles normally look like by the brown freckles on the right of the photo – why just these two freckles should swell up and sting, when none of the surrounding freckles are doing so despite also being covered by the TENS pad, is a mystery. I’ll bring it to the attention of the immunologist when I see him next month – as far as I’m concerned the appointment can’t come soon enough!