What is the cause of Ichthyosis Vulgaris?
Dr. Asmita Dhekne Chebbi
Btm 1st stage, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
Ichthyosis is a category or skin diseases characterized by dry and scaling skin that may be very thick or thin. Ichthyosis vulgaris is a type of genetically transferred ichthyosis which happens when the body fails to shed its dead skin cells. This causes accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface which makes it look like the scales of a fish (hence it is also known as “fish scale disease”).
Causes and symptoms:
Ichthyosis is one of the most commonly genetically inherited skin disease. It may be present during the birth, and then disappear, and might reappear again. It is very rare to develop ichthyosis without genetic defects. This might be due to other diseases like cancer, or thyroid diseases. The following are some of the common symptoms of this disease:
- Itching skin at some specific body parts.
- Development of scales on the skin, usually of closed polygonal shapes.
- The scales can be of some other color than usual skin color (like gray).
- Extremely dry and thick skin.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
Dermatologists can diagnose ichthyosis just by looking at it. Though it usually affects only small parts of body, it can sometimes cover large parts of the body. Knowledge about family history and incidents of ichthyosis in the family tree can also help. It is worth noting that only one parent needs to have it to pass it to the offspring.
At present, there is no definite cure for ichthyosis but there are a few treatments that can help in some cases. Since it causes drying of the skin, a general approach is to hydrate the skin. Application of creams, especially those rich in lactic acid work well in most cases. Application of other hydrating agents like propylene glycol and retinoids also helps.