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Ichthyosis is a condition that affects the skin and is characterized by widespread and persistent thick, dry skin. There are many types of ichthyosis in which some of them are inherited while others are acquired. Though ichthyosis is not curable, daily skin care routine can help relieve some of the symptoms.


Ichthyosis is caused by an abnormal gene. It is an inherited skin disorder. Inherited ichthyosis’ symptoms start or appear at birth or during the first year of life.
This faulty gene will affect the rate of skin regeneration. It is either the shedding of old skin is too slow, or the skin changes reproduce faster than the body can shed old skin. These two actions will result in a build-up of rough, scaly skin.

Ichthyosis Vulgaris

Ichthyosis Vulgaris is the most common form of inherited ichthyosis that is characterized by an accumulation of dead skin cells in the body which will lead to thick, dry scales on the skin’s surface. Also called fish scale disease of fish skin disorder, ichthyosis vulgaris can be present at birth or appear during early childhood. Sometimes the condition is so mild, some condition can go undiagnosed. They are sometimes mistaken for an extremely dry skin.

In ichthyosis vulgaris the shedding of the old skin cells is slow. This will cause excessive buildup of protein in the upper layer of the skin. Symptoms are:

  • Scaly, dry skin
  • Tile-shaped small scales
  • The scales are colored from white, dirty gray to brown. The darker the skin of the individual the darker the scales are.
  • The scalp can be flaky
  • Deep cracks in the skin that are often painful

These scales will usually appear on the elbows and lower legs. It can also be especially thicker and darker over the shins. Most cases of ichthyosis vulgaris are mild while others can be severe. The symptoms will vary from each individual and the severity will vary as well.

Other forms of inherited ichthyosis are:

  • X-linked ichthyosis – more commonly affects males. The scaling will usually occur in the torso or the limbs and the trunk.
  • Harlequin ichthyosis – a very rare form of ichthyosis but the symptoms can be very severe that affected infants require intensive care at birth.
  • Congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma
  • Syndromes that include ichthyosis
  • Nonbullous ichthyosiform erythroderma
  • Bullous ichthyosiform erythroderma
  • Lamellar ichthyosis

To know more about different forms of Ichthyosis, please visit:

If you think you are suffering from Ichthyosis you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Ichthyosis as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).