(Fish Scale Disease; Xeroderma)
- Inherited ichthyosis—dryness and scaling of the skin due to hereditary factors
- Acquired ichthyosis—thickening and scaling of the skin that is associated with certain medical disorders
- Family member with ichthyosis
- Certain diseases
- Cold weather
- Frequent or lengthy bathing, especially in hot water
- Harsh soaps or detergents
- Soaps or lotions containing perfumes
- Dry, flaking skin
- Scaling of skin that gives skin the appearance of fish scales
- Shedding of layers of the skin
- Itching of skin
- In severe cases, scarring and/or infection due to rubbing and scratching of scales or blisters
- Appear immediately at birth
- Are extremely severe, covering the entire body
- Cause severe complications or death
- Blood tests
- Skin biopsy
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- Petroleum jelly
- Mineral oil
- Creams, lotions, and ointments containing vitamin A
- A large variety of over-the-counter, unscented moisturizers
- Solutions or creams with lactic or salicylic acid or urea may help.
- In some cases, you may be advised to wrap affected areas with a plastic or cellophane bandage after applying a moisturizing agent. Such bandages should not be used on children.
- Retinoids to unclog pores and allow other topical medications to work better
- Antipsoriatic medications used to treat psoriasis symptoms
- Antibiotics to treat infection
- Calcineurin inhibitors applied to the skin to treat symptoms of atopic dermatitis
- Special soaps to disinfect the affected area
- Bathing less often
- Applying unscented moisturizer regularly and frequently, especially in winter
- Using only mild soap
- Harsh soaps
- Soaps with scents or perfumes
- Skin contact with detergents
- Cold, dry weather when possible
Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types http://www.firstskinfoundation.org
The National Registry for Ichthyosis and Related Disorders http://www.skinregistry.org
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Ichthyosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 11, 2013. Accessed January 22, 2015.
Newly diagnosed? Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types website. Available at: http://www.firstskinfoundation.org/content.cfm/Ichthyosis/Newly-Diagnosed/page%5Fid/1245. Accessed November 21, 2013.
- Reviewer: Purvee S. Shah, MD; Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015 -
- Update Date: 11/22/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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