Ichthyosis is a form of severe dry skin that causes affected areas to look like fish scales. Ichthyosis vulgaris is an inherited form of ichthyosis. It is the most common form of ichthyosis, affecting around 1 in 250 people. In most cases one parent is affected and each child has a 50-50 chance of developing the condition. Ichthyosis occurs worldwide and affects people of all races. Inherited forms of ichthyosis occur as a result of a genetic mutation. The mutated gene is passed on from one generation to the next. It is usually most severe over the legs but may also involve the arms, hands, and trunk.
Affected persons may also appear lots of fine lines over the palm of the hand. The condition is frequently more noticeable in the winter. It may be related with atopic dermatitis, keratosis pilaris (small bumps on the back of the arms), or other skin disorders. Signs and symptoms of ichthyosis vulgaris usually become apparent within the first year of life. The other main forms of inherited ichthyosis include lamellar ichthyosis, epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, and X-linked ichthyosis. Paradoxically, those at risk of “prickly itch” should seek rather than avoid hot and humid climate.
Living year-round in a tropical weather would facilitate sweating; sweating would in turn ease the clearing of the scales and keep the condition leading to “prickly itch” at bay. There’s no known cure for ichthyosis, so the goal of treatment is to manage the condition. Topical retinoids are helpful for some patients. Side effects from the medication may include eye and lip inflammation, bone spurs and hair loss, as well as birth defects if taken during pregnancy. In addition to home care, treatment can include prescription creams and ointments that contain alpha hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid and glycolic acid.
Alpha-hydroxy acids (eg, lactic, glycolic, or pyruvic acids) are helpful for hydrating the skin. They toil by causing disaggregation of corneocytes in the inferior levels of the newly forming stratum corneum. Several skin care tips may also useful this condition. Apply lotions and creams to wet skin to trap in the moisture. Rub gently a pumice stone on wet skin to help remove thickened crusty skin. Brush washed hair to remove scales from scalp Lanolin creams and products containing urea, lactic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids may help to exfoliate and moisturizes skin.