(Fish Scale Disease; Xeroderma)
- Inherited ichthyosis (several forms exist)—dryness and scaling of the skin due to hereditary factors
- Acquired ichthyosis—thickening and scaling of the skin that is not inherited but is associated with certain medical disorders
- Family member with ichthyosis
- Cold weather
- Frequent or prolonged bathing, especially in hot water
- Harsh soaps or detergents
- Soaps or lotions containing certain scents or 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
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- Petroleum jelly
- Mineral oil
- Creams, lotions, and ointments containing vitamin A
- A large variety of nonprescription, unscented moisturizers
- Solutions or creams with lactic or salicylic acid or urea may help.
- In some cases, doctors may suggest wrapping affected areas with a plastic or cellophane "bandage" after applying moisturizing agent. Such bandages should not be used on children.
- Etretinate and isotretinoin —These medications are retinoids, which are derivatives of vitamin A; excess amounts of vitamin A can be harmful.
- Antibiotics (if the skin becomes infected)
- Disinfecting soaps (eg, chlorhexidine)
- Bathing less often
- Applying nonscented moisturizing agents 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.scalyskin.org/
The National Registry for Ichthyosis and Related Disorders http://depts.washington.edu/ichreg/ichthyosis.registry/
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca/
Beers MH. The Merck Manual of Medical Information . 2nd ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 2003.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Ichthyosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated November 15, 2010. Accessed November 17, 2010.
The Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types website. Available at: http://www.scalyskin.org . Accessed October 11, 2005.
- Reviewer: Purvee S. Shah, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 09/10/2012 -