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Ichthyosis - Symptoms and Treatment


Ichthyosis is a skin disorder which causes the formation of dry, fish-like scales on the skin's surface. The condition often begins in early childhood and is usually lifelong. People with ichthyosis have normal lifespan. However they usually have to spend several hours each day caring for their skin. Acquired Ichthyosis can develop at any age due to a number of medical problems, such as kidney disease. The other main forms of inherited ichthyosis include lamellar ichthyosis, epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, and X-linked ichthyosis. Acquired ichthyosis is not inherited and occurs for the first time in adulthood. It is usually associated with some general systemic disease, such as underactive thyroid states , sarcoidosis , lymphoma, generalised cancer or HIV infection . It may be provoked by certain medications (such as kava, nicotinic acid and hydroxyurea ). Ichthyosis vulgaris is an inherited skin disorder that causes dead skin cells to accumulate in thick, dry scales on the skin's surface. These scales can be present at birth, but usually first appear in early childhood. Sometimes ichthyosis vulgaris disappears entirely for most of the adult years, only to return later. These skin abnormalities affect the shape of the eyelids, nose, mouth, and ears, and restrict movement of the arms and legs. Restricted movement of the chest can lead to breathing difficulties and respiratory failure.

Ichthyosis is a family of dermatological conditions seen in humans and domestic animals. Ichthyosis can be genetic (inherited) or can develop later in life. In a large majority of people with the disease, the cause is related to one or more genetic mutations. There are at least 20 types of ichthyosis. Ichthyosis can be more or less severe, sometimes accumulating thick scales and cracks that are painful and bleed. The most common form of ichthyosis is called ichthyosis vulgaris and occurs in approximately one person in every 250 and is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. The most rare types of ichthyosis occur in fewer than one person in one million and are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Ichthyosis occurs regardless of the part of the world the child is from, or the ethnic background of the parents.

Causes of Ichthyosis

Common Causes of Ichthyosis :

  • Ichthyosis worsens in cold dry weather.
  • Impaired hearing or eyesight
  • cracking and splitting of the skin

Symptoms of Ichthyosis

Some common Symptoms of Ichthyosis :

  • Dry, rough, scaly skin.
  • scales usually appear on the elbows and lower legs
  • scalp flaking and deep, painful fissures in the palms and soles.
  • Palms are excessively lined
  • raw patches at skin

Treatment of Ichthyosis

  • Do not take hot baths or showers, they dry out the skin. Use warm to cool water. Soap should not be used on your skin because it irritates and dries the skin. You should use the soap substitute Cetaphil lotion which is available from the pharmacy without a prescription.
  • The doctor can prescribe an Alpha hydroxyacid lotion for your skin which will dissolve the scales and will increase the moisture content of your skin.
  • After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on the skin.
  • Antibiotics or antiseptics may be prescribed for skin infections but steroid treatments are not effective in ichthyosis.
  • Common treatments are to moisturize and exfoliate the skin. This helps prevent dryness, scaling, cracking and build-up of skin.
  • Special gels called keratolytics, which include salicylic acid, lactic acid, or urea, help to remove the dry scales on the surface of the skin. The gel also contains an agent to moisturize the skin underneath.

 

 


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