What is ichthyosis vulgaris ?

It is an inherited condition (Autosomal dominant pattern)

It affects one in 250 people.



What does it look like ?

It causes dry scaly plaques. The lesions are usually more prominent on the limbs (arms and legs).

The plaques usually start to appear a few months after birth.

Hyperlinearity of the hands is present.

Ichthyosis Vulgaris: scaly plaques on the upper limbs



What is the cause of ichthyosis vulgaris ?

Like in atopic dermatitis there is a functional deficiency of filaggrin.

Filaggrin is an important protein participating in the formation of a functional skin barrier. More precisely, it participated in the cornification of the skin in the superficial layers of the skin.



Is it serious ?

The building of scales can make sweating difficult and cause itch (prickly heat).

Because of common etiologies, associated conditions include atopic dermatiits and keratosis pilaris.

Because of its appearance psychological problems may emerge in children and can later lead to excessive alcohol comsumption. We mention alcohol consumption as it can specifically worsen the scales. ichthyosis is a huge chapter in dermatology and many other causes of scaly skin need to be dedifferentiated as prognosis, associated conditions as well as therapeutical options differ.



What is the treatment ?

There is no known cure to ichthyosis vulgaris.

The local treatment includes moisturizing the skin and facilitating the shedding of scales (exfoliants).

Oral treatment can also be tried (retinoids).