Icthyosis (patient information)
(Icthyosis) On the Web
Ichthyosis vulgaris, also known as fish scale disease or scaling skin, is a common skin disorder passed down through families that leads to dry, scaly skin. People or animals with ichthyosis have scaly skin which can vaguely resemble the scales of a fish.
What are the symptoms of Icthyosis?
The symptoms of Icthyosis include:
- Dry skin, severe
- Scaly skin ( scales)
- Possible skin thickening
- Mild itching of the skin
The dry, scaly skin is usually most severe over the legs but may also involve the arms, hands, and middle of the body. Persons with this condition may also have many fine lines over the palm of the hand.
What causes Icthyosis?
Ichthyosis vulgaris is one of the most common of the inherited skin disorders. It may begin in early childhood. The condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. That means you only need to get the abnormal gene from one parent in order for you to inherit the disease.
Your doctor can usually diagnose this condition by looking at your skin. Tests may be needed to rule out other possible causes of dry, scaly skin.
Your doctor will ask you if you have a family history of similar skin dryness.
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
- Symptoms continue despite treatment
- Symptoms get worse
- Skin lesions spread
- New symptoms develop
Your doctor may tell you to use moisturizing creams that contain chemicals that help skin to shed normally, including lactic acid, salicylic acid, and urea.
If you have this condition, be aware that your children are at risk for developing it.
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
Ichthyosis vulgaris can be a nuisance, but it rarely affects your overall health. The condition usually disappears during adulthood, but may return years later.