Ichthyosis vulgaris is a genetic skin condition in which skin is unable to shed its dead skin cells. The presence of dead skin cells on the skin results in the rapid accumulation of skin causing thick and dry scales. The excessive dryness of skin obstructs the normal functioning of the skin to fight against infections and regulating body temperature.
Severe patches usually appear on larger areas of the body such as back, legs, arms, and abdomen. Ichthyosis vulgaris is a rare skin disease and occurs in one out of 200 people. However, Ichthyosis vulgaris is a non-contagious skin condition, but often leads to emotional distress among many patients. Ichthyosis vulgaris is also known as fish scale disease.
Causes of Ichthyosis vulgaris
The most possible cause of Ichthyosis vulgaris is mutation in the genes. The mutation in inherited genes affects the protein known as filaggrin, resulting in Ichthyosis vulgaris. Ichthyosis vulgaris skin condition follows an autosomal dominant pattern, which means only one parent is the carrier of the mutated gene. Sometimes Ichthyosis vulgaris may develop along with other skin conditions such as keratosis pilaris or dermatitis.
The symptoms of Ichthyosis vulgaris depend on the severity of the condition. Most of the symptoms of Ichthyosis vulgaris are visible at birth or appear during childhood. The symptoms of Ichthyosis vulgaris may get worse in winter and dry climates.
Diagnosis of Ichthyosis vulgaris
A dermatologist can diagnose Ichthyosis vulgaris simply by looking at the bumps. Sometimes he a may take a sample from the affected area by scratching the affected skin. The sample is further observed under a microscope to determine the possible cause and condition of infection. A patient should tell their dermatologist
about their medical history and symptoms they have been experiencing. A dermatologist may also order a blood test
to check for other skin conditions that can cause similar symptoms as of Ichthyosis vulgaris
There is no permanent cure available for Ichthyosis vulgaris. However, its treatment can help in managing painful symptoms. The treatment of Ichthyosis vulgaris may include:
- Medicines containing lactic acid or alpha hydroxy acids can help the skin to maintain moisture and prevent scaling.
- Apply moisturiser or cream containing urea to keep the skin hydrated.
- Avoid going out in hot and humid temperature.
- Retinoids medicines to slow down the over production of skin cells.
- Avoid scratching the affected area.
If Ichthyosis vulgaris is left untreated it will cause excessive dryness of skin. Dry skin is vulnerable to severe skin infections like atopic dermatitis.
Complications of Ichthyosis vulgaris
People suffering from Ichthyosis vulgaris may experience:
- In some patients, skin thickness and scales of ichthyosis can interfere with sweating resulting excess sweating and overheating.
- Skin splitting and cracking associated with Ichthyosis vulgaris may lead to infections.