Facts About Ichthyosis

Many conditions affect the body in subtle or dramatic ways. Many of these situations are a result of direct inheritance from a parent. A particular genetic mutation causes a skin condition known as ichthyosis.

If you were to develop this disease, you would notice scaley looking skin begin to appear on your body. The degree to which the disorder is present can vary from what looks like dehydrated skin to a noticeable, almost fish-like scale pattern. In fact, some have referred to this condition as fish skin disease.

What is Happening to the Body?

Normally, we are all constantly shedding dead skin cells. The dead skin cells flake off, and new skin cells take their place. With ichthyosis, this shedding process slows to the point that these dead skin cells pile up on the top layer of skin.

What Symptoms are Present?


  • Excessively Dry Skin
  • Uncomfortable Cracks in the Skin
  • A Scale like Appearance to skin
  • Low Perspiration
  • Overheating

What Parts of the Body Are Affected?

This disorder can show up in places similarly affected by regular dry skin—the lower front of the legs, elbows, and the back in more extreme cases. Most people with ichthyosis only have minor symptoms, but there are severe cases where the condition can present itself all over the skin’s surface.

Sadly, the greatest issue for those suffering from this disorder is usually cosmetic. Especially in severe cases, an individual with ichthyosis will struggle to hide the affected skin from the stares of curious on-lookers. This condition is not contagious and shouldn’t affect anyone but the sufferer.

Does Anything Compound the Condition?

Unfortunately, your body struggles to regulate temperature if you suffer from this disorder. You may be unable to cool down following exertion and suffer a heat stroke. The body can also remove toxins by sweating and being unable to perform this essential function; it exposes itself to skin infection and immune system vulnerability.

Interestingly, the severity of symptoms can change based on the climate you reside in. A humid and warm environment such as that found in Florida, for example, offers relief. Conversely, if you have this condition and relocate somewhere very dry and cold such as Colorado, you will find your disorder more severe.

Can It Be Treated?

There are medical treatments available to help minimize the symptoms. However, there is no cure that science has discovered yet. This disorder requires a specialist called a dermatologist to diagnose and provide a proper treatment course.

This condition usually presents itself during childhood, and a treatment regimen can start early. However, there are situations in which an adult exhibits ichthyosis for the first time because of another disorder flaring up. There are recorded cases of ichthyosis disappearing after treating the other disorder.

The most common treatment method consists of prescription lotions and cremes to apply to the affected areas. As you can imagine, this disorder causes excessive itching. Once the skin breaks from scratching, medical professionals may introduce antibiotics to prevent infection.