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Ichthyosis (plural ichthyoses) is a heterogeneous family of at least 28[1], generalized, mostly genetic skin disorders. All types of ichthyosis have dry, thickened, scaly or flaky skin.[1] In many types the skin is said to resemble the scales on a fish; the word ichthyosis comes from the Ancient Greek (ichthys), meaning “fish.”[2] The severity of symptoms can vary enormously, from the mildest types such as ichthyosis vulgaris which may be mistaken for normal dry skin up to life-threatening conditions such as harlequin type ichthyosis. The most common type of ichthyosis is ichthyosis vulgaris, accounting for more than 95% of cases.

There are many types of ichthyosis and an exact diagnosis may be difficult. Types of ichthyosis are classified by their appearance and their genetic cause. Ichthyoses caused by the same gene can vary considerably in severity and symptoms. Some ichthyoses don’t appear to fit exactly into any one type. Also different genes can produce ichthyosis with similar symptoms. The most common or well-known types are as follows:[4]

Genetic ichthyoses

Ichthyosis vulgaris
X-linked ichthyosis
Congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma (nbCIE)
Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis (bullous ichthyosis, bCIE)
Harlequin type ichthyosis
Ichthyosis bullosa of Siemens
Ichthyosis hystrix
Ichthyosis lamellaris (lamellar ichthyosis)

Ichthyoses with additional characteristics

Carvajal syndrome
CHILD Syndrome
Conradi-Hünermann syndrome
Darier’s disease
Erythrokeratodermia variabilis (Erythrokeratodermia figurata variabilis, Mendes da Costa type erythrokeratodermia)
IFAP syndrome (Ichthyosis follicularis)
Keratitis-ichthyosis-deafness syndrome
Netherton syndrome
Neutral lipid storage disease (Dorfman-Chanarin syndrome)
Refsum’s disease
Rud syndrome
Senter syndrome
Sjögren-Larsson syndrome
Tay syndrome (IBIDS syndrome, Trichothiodystrophy)

Non-genetic ichthyosis

Ichthyosis acquisita


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.
Do not rub the skin dry after you bathe. Blot your skin gently then apply an Alpha hydroxyacid lotions. Neostrata 15 AHA Body/Face Lotion is a very effective treatment for ichthyosis when applied to moist skin after bathing.
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.
There is no cure for ichthyosis. This is a life-long condition which can be managed or controlled.
Living in a warm climate often improves ichthyosis.