Ichthyosis is a dry skin condition. There are 2 types:
Inherited ichthyosis is caused by a genetic defect that is passed from parent to child or that occurs on its own.
Acquired ichthyosis is relatively rare, but may be caused by any of the following:
Factors that may increase the chance of ichthyosis include:
Ichthyosis may be triggered by:
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:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Rarely, blood tests may be required.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
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, treating the underlying condition may also help lessen the symptoms of the ichthyosis.
Many types of moisturizing ointments, lotions, and creams are used to relieve symptoms of ichthyosis. These include:
For ichthyosis that causes scaling:
In severe cases, medications are sometimes prescribed, including:
There are no current guidelines to prevent the development of ichthyosis. However, steps to prevent this condition from getting worse include:
Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types
The National Registry for Ichthyosis and Related Disorders
Canadian Dermatology Association
Ichthyosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 11, 2013. Accessed January 22, 2015.
Newly diagnosed? Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types website. Available at: http://www.firstskinfoundation.org/content.cfm/Ichthyosis/Newly-Diagnosed/page_id/1245. Accessed November 21, 2013.
Last reviewed March 2016 by James Cornell, 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.