Ichthyrosis Vulgaricus

Overview of Ichthyrosis Vulgaricus

Ichthyosis vulgaris is a congenital skin disorder in which dead skin cells form thick, dry scaly patches on the skin's surface. The scaly patches on the skin are commonly known as fish scale disease or fish skin disease. The initial ichthyosis symptoms appear in early childhood, between the ages of 2 and 5.

Among 20 different types of Ichthyosis, Ichthyosis vulgaris is considered the most widespread disease. It is found in approximately 95 percent of the population of all ichthyosis cases. In another way, 1 in every 250 children is more likely to cause this disease.

Ichthyosis vulgaris comes in a range of mild to severe, depending on the associated skin diseases such as the allergic skin condition eczema, which is accompanied by Ichthyosis vulgaris. There is still no cure that has been introduced yet, but managing treatments have been used for its treatment.

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Signs and Symptoms of Ichthyrosis Vulgaricus

The initial marker of ichthyosis symptoms is reducing the skin's natural shedding process. This causes the accumulation of keratin protein on the upper layer of the skin. Other symptoms that usually show are:

  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Small fish-like scales
  • White, dirty grey, or brown colored scales but with darker-colored scales typically on darker skin tone
  • Blistering on the scalp 
  • Deep, painful cracks in your skin
  • Scales appeared on elbows and lower legs (thick and darker scales)

Ichthyosis Symptoms get worse in cold, dry environments and are likely to improve in warm, humid environments.

Types of Ichthyrosis Vulgaricus

Causes of Ichthyrosis Vulgaricus

Ichthyosis vulgaris is primarily caused by mutated genes that are inherited from one or both parents. In mild cases, children inherit a defective gene from one parent but if they inherit from both parents they come under severe cases. Those born children with this disorder have normal skin at the time of birth but start to appear with scaling and roughness during the first few years of life.

Another form of Ichthyosis vulgaris is acquired ichthyosis, which a person gets from the surroundings or has an association with other diseases are below:


Risk Factors of Ichthyrosis Vulgaricus

Some of the factors that increase your likelihood of suffering from Ichthyosis vulgaris include:

  • External factors such as low temperature and low humidity can act as risk factors.
  • If the disease is already in your family, there are chances that you can suffer from this disease.

Use ofharsh products that can leave your skin dried.

Ichthyosis Vulgaris Health Complications

People with ichthyosis may prevail:

  • Overheating: In rare cases, the skin thickness and scales of ichthyosis can have a problem with sweating and inhibit cooling. In some people, excess sweating (hyperhidrosis) can be identified.
  • Secondary infection: Skin splitting and cracking may lead to infections.



There are no known ways to prevent Ichthyosis vulgaris. The condition is genetic and there is not much we can do to prevent it.



A Dermatologist initially asks about a family history of skin disease. The age of first symptoms appeared and experiencing any other skin disorder. Then they examine the affected skin and the characteristic scales physically. After a physical examination, the dermatologist may request to perform other tests, such as:

  • Skin biopsy: This skin biopsy procedure involves extracting a small piece of the affected skin for examination under the light of a microscope. This may be necessary to rule out other causes of dry, scaly skin.
  • Blood tests: The blood culture test diagnoses the cause of Ichthyosis vulgaris and detects whether the bacteria are responsible for it or not.

Treatment of Ichthyrosis Vulgaricus | When to Consult a Doctor

Recently, there is no treatment for Ichthyosis vulgaris. However, the main aim is to manage the ichthyosis symptoms.

Home Treatments

  • People with ichthyosis, peel their skin with loofah sponges or a pumice stone after bathing. It can help to remove excessive skin.

  • Apply moisturizers containing urea or propylene glycol in them on a regular basis. These chemicals will keep the skin moist. The use of urea, lactic, or salicylic acid-added products also helps to relieve shredded dead cells of the skin.

  • Place the humidifier in the home that keeps the environment moist and prevents the skin from drying. 


A dermatologist prescribes specialized creams or ointments for skin moisturizing, removes dead skin, and controls inflammation and itching in the patients. These are the specified topical treatments containing the following ingredients:

  • Lactic acid or other alpha hydroxy acids: These compounds retain skin moisture and reduce swelling. It is mostly used in anti-aging cosmetics.
  • Retinoids: Retinoids may be used in chronic cases to reduce the production of skin cells. These substances are extracted from vitamin A, so they may have some adverse side effects. Side effects may include lip swelling or hair loss. Do not take it during pregnancy because birth defects may occur.


In case you exhibit any concerning signs and symptoms of Ichthyosis vulgaris, consult a medical professional as soon as possible.