Ichthyosis vulgaris

Alternative Names

Common ichthyosis; Fish scale disease

Definition of Ichthyosis vulgaris

Ichthyosis vulgaris is a common skin disorder passed down through families that leads to dry, scaly skin.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Ichthyosis vulgaris is one of the most common of the inherited skin disorders. It may begin in early childhood, before age 4. The condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. That means you only need to get the abnormal gene from one parent in order for you to inherit the disease.

Signs and tests

Your doctor can usually diagnose this condition by looking at your skin. Tests may be needed to rule out other possible causes of dry, scaly skin.

Treatment

Your doctor will recommend heavy duty moisturizers. Creams and ointments work better than lotions. Apply these to moist skin immediately after bathing. You should use mild, non-drying soaps.

Expectations (prognosis)

Ichthyosis vulgaris can be a nuisance, but it rarely affects your overall health. The condition usually disappears during adulthood, but may return years later.

Review

Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/10/2009

Skin layers

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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