What is Ichthyosis?
Ichthyosis is a mostly uncommon type of skin disorders which consist of persistent, severe problems with skin that has excessive amounts of surface dry scales. It always starts in infancy or childhood and is life long. Ichthyosis is regarded as a keratinization disorder or cornification and it is believe to be due to epidermal differentiation which are abnormal or due to metabolism.
Ichthyosis can be inherited or may develop later in life. In the largest majority of individuals with this condition, the reason is usually related to one or more genetic mutations.
- Usually inherited from parents
- Worsens in cold dry weather
- Individuals have a defect in their skin causing loss of moisture. Not known what the defect is.
Normally, the body continuously renews it surface skin, building up new skin cells and allowing cells which are older to be shed from the surface. This balance is disrupted by Ichthyosis either caused by too many replacement skin cells produced or because the cells of the skin do not separate very well from the surface of the skin when it is time to drop off. This results in cells of skin that accumulates into flakes which are thick and adhere to the body and often look like scales from fish.
Ichthyosis often presents severe cosmetic problems for the individual with the disease. But it is not contagious. The problem can also interfere with the critical roles that the skin plays in protection from infection, body temperature regulation as well as stopping dehydration.
Pictures of Ichthyosis
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