How Ichthyosis Impacts Your Life And How To Get Relief

If you have patches of skin that look like fish scales, then you could have ichthyosis. This is especially true if your parents or other close family members have it. For most people, the condition is mild and only affects certain parts of the body. However, some people get a severe case and suffer complications. Fortunately, most people can control their symptoms and go about a normal life with a few adjustments. Here are some things to know about ichthyosis and how it is treated.

What Is Ichthyosis?

Ichthyosis is a skin disorder where dead skin cells do not slough off normally. This results in thick, dry scaly-looking skin. Most people inherit this disorder. If this is the case, it often appears before age 5. A small percentage of people with certain thyroid and kidney issues acquire the condition. Some people have such a mild case that they may be unaware of the condition until complications arise. There are multiple types of ichthyosis, but one of the most common is ichthyosis vulgaris.

What Problems Does Ichthyosis Cause?

The impact on your life from ichthyosis depends on its severity. For most people, the effects are mild and mostly cosmetic. You may have to do extra skin maintenance such as using pumice stones and lotions to remove excess scales. Some people suffer from other skin problems, like eczema, simultaneously.

However, if you have widespread ichthyosis, then you could have problems with overheating. The scaly skin affects how you sweat. Your skin may more easily split open and this could lead to infections. Hair growth may also be affected, especially if the condition affects your scalp. Some people struggle with self-esteem issues because of the disease's appearance.

How Is Ichthyosis Diagnosed and Treated?

Most dermatologists can identify the condition with a skin examination and by obtaining a family history. The doctor may wish to do a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other dry skin problems. You may be prescribed lotions and medications with added vitamin A and retinol to control scaling and maintain healthy skin. You can also use over-the-counter lotions that help exfoliate the skin. Diet also plays an important role in keeping the skin healthy.

Ichthyosis can be troublesome and uncomfortable at times. However, the condition is not fatal, and many people live a normal lifespan despite the problem it causes. Having it means you may have to make certain adjustments in your lifestyle to keep your skin as healthy as possible. A dermatologist can help form a treatment plan to reduce problems caused by the condition.

Contact a company like Flatirons Dermatology (200674) to learn more about this condition.