Ichthyosis - All You Need To Know
- There are at least 20 different types of ichthyosis, some types are inherited at birth, others are acquired during adulthood.
- There is currently no cure for ichthyosis; But a daily skin care routine usually keeps symptoms mild and manageable.
- Symptoms such as showering, keeping the house cool, and wearing clothes that do not irritate the skin can help relieve symptoms.
It is a healthy skin disorder that results in thickening, dryness, scaling, itching, redness, and cracking of the skin.
Ichthyosis vulgaris: the most common type of hereditary ichthyosis; It affects 1 in 250 people.
Other types of hereditary ichthyosis are very rare and include:
X-linked ichthyosis: affects only males, and includes general scaling, especially on the limbs and trunk.
Congenital erythroderma: Ichthyosis may develop if the baby is born with a bright yellow membrane (collodion), which is a sticky fluid that oozes during the first week of life. Once the membrane falls off, one of the following types of ichthyosis can develop:
- Non-bullous erythema.
- bullous erythema;
- Ichthyosis lamellae.
In severe cases of congenital erythroderma, the child may also have drooping lower eyelids, light hair loss and tight skin on the fingers.
ichthyosis harlequin: extremely rare; But the crusts are severe, and require intensive care at birth.
Syndromes involving ichthyosis: eg Netherton syndrome, or Sjogren-Larson syndrome.
Acquired ichthyosis tends to develop in adulthood and is not hereditary, and is usually associated with another condition, such as:
- kidney disease;
- Sarcoidosis: A rare condition that causes small patches of red, swollen tissue to appear in the body's organs.
- Hodgkin's lymphoma, a rare type of cancer.
- HIV infection.
Changes and mutations in one or more specific genes lead to hereditary ichthyosis. This altered gene may be passed on from one or both parents, or the gene may mutate spontaneously. Symptoms of hereditary ichthyosis appear at birth or during the first year of life; The defective gene affects the rate at which the skin regenerates, and leads to a buildup of rough, scaly skin that is caused by one of two conditions: either the shedding of old skin cells is too slow, or the skin cells multiply at a much faster rate than they can get rid of. Some people may also develop ichthyosis as a result of another medical condition or due to side effects from a medication.
Anyone can get ichthyosis. The disease is also usually spread genetically. But the condition can appear for the first time in a family due to the aforementioned reasons.
Symptoms of ichthyosis range from mild to severe, and the most common symptoms include:
- skin dryness.
- The occurrence of itching, redness and cracking of the skin.
- Scales on the skin that are white, gray, or brown in color.
- Blisters can lead to wounds.
- Hair loss or breakage.
- Difficulty closing the eyelids and dry eyes.
- inability to sweat; Because the scales of the skin block the sweat glands.
- hardness of hearing.
- Thickening of the skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
- Skin Tightening.
- Difficulty flexing some joints.
- Open wounds resulting from scratching the affected skin.
- Symptoms are often worse when it's cold and dry, and improve in warm, humid conditions, meaning they may be more noticeable in winter than summer.
When should you see a doctor?:
If you suspect a person or child has ichthyosis, talk to your family doctor or dermatologist. To be able to diagnose the condition.
Be sure to seek medical advice if symptoms worsen or do not improve with self-care measures; You may need stronger medication to control the condition.
High temperature: as a result of decreased ability to sweat.
Limited movement: Dry skin can make moving certain parts of the body very painful.
Skin infection: cracked skin may lead to infection.
Hearing or vision impairment: If the skin builds up over the ears or eyes.
There is no specific examination for ichthyosis; The doctor usually diagnoses the condition by:
- Medical and family history.
- Physical examination and examination of the skin, hair and nails.
- Perform a skin biopsy to examine the tissue under a microscope.
- Request a genetic test to see if there is an altered gene.
There is no cure for ichthyosis. Therefore, the goal in the treatment plan is to manage the condition by moisturizing and exfoliating the skin daily; As this can help prevent dryness, flaking and buildup of skin cells, the treatment plan may include:
- Creams and ointments to moisturize the skin.
- Medications to help reduce scales.
- Antibiotics or antiseptics may be prescribed to treat skin infections.
Disease control tips:
- Apply emollients to wet skin to lock in moisture, preferably after a few minutes of showering.
- Gently rub wet skin with a pumice stone to remove some of the thickened skin.
- Comb the washed hair to remove scales from your scalp.
- Keep it cool, especially if you can't stand the heat, have decreased sweating, or are itchy a lot.
- Use a humidifier to maintain moisture in the air and prevent skin from drying out.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes made of materials such as cotton, which may be less irritating to the skin.
- Use laundry detergents designed for sensitive skin that don't contain many dyes or fragrances.
- Find support from those close to you. Some people may find it helpful to talk to a psychologist about dealing with this condition.