Ichthyosis is a dry skin condition. There are two general types:
Inherited ichthyosis is caused by a genetic defect that is passed from parent to child or that occurs spontaneously.
Acquired ichthyosis is relatively rare, but may be caused by any of the following:
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for ichthyosis include:
Ichthyosis can develop on any part of the body, but most often occurs on the legs, arms, or trunk. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe. In severe cases, the condition may be disfiguring. Symptoms may include:
With certain rare types of inherited ichthyosis, symptoms:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. The diagnosis of ichthyosis is usually based on signs and symptoms of the disorder. Rarely, blood tests or a skin biopsy may be required.
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Since there is no cure for ichthyosis, treatment consists of managing the symptoms. Most treatment is aimed at keeping the skin moist. In severe cases, medication may be prescribed. For the acquired form, treatment that lessens the severity of the underlying noninherited condition may also help lessen the symptoms of the associated ichthyosis.
Many types of moisturizing ointments, lotions, and creams are used to lessen or alleviate symptoms of ichthyosis. These include:
For ichthyosis that causes scaling:
In severe cases, drugs are sometimes prescribed, including:
There are no guidelines for preventing the development of ichthyosis. However, steps to prevent this condition from getting worse include:
Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types
The National Registry for Ichthyosis and Related Disorders
Canadian Dermatology Association
Beers MH. The Merck Manual of Medical Information . 2nd ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 2003.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Ichthyosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated November 15, 2010. Accessed November 17, 2010.
The Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types website. Available at: http://www.scalyskin.org . Accessed October 11, 2005.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Purvee S. Shah, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2012 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.
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