Information about Ichthyosis
We have to know about Ichthyosis
- Ichthyosis is the term for severe, persistent problems with dry skin that almost always start in childhood or infancy.
- Ichthyosis vulgaris is an inherited skin disorder that causes dead skin cells to accumulate in thick, dry scales on the skin’s surface.
- Ichthyosis, also called fish scale disease or fish skin disease, is not a contagious disease.
- The condition also can interfere with the skin’s important roles in protecting against infection, preventing dehydration and regulating body temperature. No cure has been found and treatments are aimed at controlling the signs and symptoms.
Causes of Ichthyosis
- Ichthyosis Vulgaris is commonly caused by a genetic mutation that’s inherited from one or both parents. Children who inherit a defective gene from just one parent have a milder form of the disease. Those who inherit two defective genes have a more severe form of ichthyosis vulgaris. Children with the inherited form of the disorder usually have normal skin at birth, but develop scaling and roughness during the first few years of life.
- If genetic abnormalities aren’t responsible for ichthyosis, it’s referred to as acquired ichthyosis. It’s usually associated with other diseases, such as cancer, thyroid disease or HIV/AIDS.
Do’s and Don’ts of Ichthyosis
- There is no way to prevent ichthyosis.
Signs & Symptoms for Ichthyosis
- Symptoms of all genetic types of ichthyosis are either noticeable at birth or appear during childhood. Symptoms are usually worse in winter months and in dry climates,
Symptoms may include:
- Severe dryness of the skin with thickening and flaking
- Scales that range in color from white to dirty gray to brown.
- People with darker skin tend to have darker colored scales.
- Flaky Scalp.
- Mild itching of the skin
- Body odor
- Wax buildup in the ears, leading to hearing difficulties
- In severe cases, deep painful cracks in the palms and soles.
- The scales usually appear on the elbows and lower legs and may be especially thick and dark over the shins.
Risk Factors of Ichthyosis
- Family member with Ichthyosis
- Cold weather
- Frequent or prolonged bathing, especially in hot water
- Harsh soaps or detergents
- Soaps or lotions containing certain scents or perfumes
Medical advice for Ichthyosis
- See a doctor if you develop a fever or redness of the skin.
- If you suspect you or your child has ichthyosis vulgaris, talk to your family doctor or a dermatologist. He or she can diagnose the condition by examining the characteristic scales.
Also be sure to seek medical advice if the symptoms worsen or don’t improve with self-care measures. You may need stronger medication to manage the condition.
Self Care of Ichthyosis
- Use mild soaps. Avoid deodorant and antibacterial soaps, which are especially harsh on dry skin.
- After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on the skin.
- Apply the moisturizer or lubricating cream while skin is still wet or moist from bathing. Petroleum jelly is a good choice.
Treatment for Ichthyosis
- There’s no known cure for ichthyosis, Treatment of all types of ichthyosis involves maintaining the skin’s moisture
- To get the best results, use moisture-retaining creams or ointments after taking a bath, so that moisture is maintained within the skin surface.
- Antibiotics may be required if the ichthyosis leads to scratching that causes skin infections
Investigations for Ichthyosis
- Examination of the skin. In some cases, to confirm the diagnosis, a skin biopsy has to be performed (In a biopsy, a small piece of skin is removed and examined under a microscope).