July 20th, 2011
05:18 PM ET

What is the scaly skin disease ichthyosis?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Question asked by Kay, Via CNN.com comments

A dermatologist told my sister she has ichthyosis. What is it, and how is it treated? She has been on medication for six months, and it is still not gone.

Expert answer

Ichthyosis is a group of more than two dozen skin diseases that vary in severity. Most are mild inconveniences, and some are life-threatening.

They have in common that the skin is thickened with scaly patches, especially on the shins, the forearms and upper arms, and the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet. The skin of the fingers is dry and bleeds easily. Opposing skin in the armpits, the groin, the elbow and the knee is usually not effected.

There are huge psychological problems due to appearance. Patients have issues with self-image and may withdraw.

People with the severe forms of the disease are prone to skin infection. Some of these skin infections are actually treated in burn units of hospitals due to their seriousness.

Most cases of ichthyosis are genetic in that a parent with the disease can pass it on to their children. It is not uncommon for a parent to have mild ichthyosis and the child to have more severe disease. Most children with icthyosis are born without evidence of the disease and develop symptoms in later childhood.

Some forms of ichthyosis are also more severe in childhood, improve in young adulthood and worsen in old age. The disease can wax and wane throughout life.

It is also interesting that many, perhaps most, patients with this condition also have skin allergies, eczema and/or asthma. The patient with moderate to severe icthyosis often has problems sweating due to the buildup of scales on the skin. The scales essentially seal the sweat glands. This can cause a tremendous itch known as "prickly itch."

Patients can also have serious sensitivity to heat. The most effective treatments are exfoliating chemicals to remove the scales and allow the skin underneath to function normally.

These exfoliating drugs often must be applied several times a day, and treatment may continue for years. The itch can be treated with Benadryl creams and topical steroids.

A dry-air conditioned environment and consumption of alcohol have been reported as making icthyosis worse. Avoiding these may improve symptoms.

Follow @cnnhealth on Twitter.

soundoff (448 Responses)
  1. AbdgEncox

    Doxycycline https://canadianeve21.com/ Arcoxia

    April 24, 2021 at 07:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. BbdfMile

    viagra generic online https://gensitecil.com/ strongest viagra pill

    April 24, 2021 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. injectable for ed

    erection injection medication https://alprostadildrugs.com/ how does alprostadil treat erectile dysfunction

    April 24, 2021 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. cvs pharmacy male enhancement pills

    erectile breast tissue https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ which erectile dysfunction drug is best

    April 25, 2021 at 02:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. LhdvZisse

    viagra cialis levitra sample pack https://asciled.com/ buy viagra cialis mix online

    April 25, 2021 at 03:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. FbsfEncox

    Myambutol https://uspharmus.com/ canadian prescription drugstore

    April 25, 2021 at 04:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. canada cheap viagra

    canada viagra https://canadaviagrastore.com/ new viagra in canada

    April 25, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. JbsdEncox

    Nolvadex http://onlinecanda21.com/ arthritis

    April 25, 2021 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. tadalafil pills 20mg

    tadalafil 30 mg https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil daily use

    April 26, 2021 at 02:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. 40 mg tadalafil

    tadalafil 60 mg for sale https://elitadalafill.com/ 40 mg tadalafil

    April 26, 2021 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. chloroquine phosphate generic

    chloroquinne https://chloroquineorigin.com/ malaria drugs list

    April 26, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. dapoxetine

    buy avanafil uk buy priligy

    April 27, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. mens ed pills

    acupuncture for erectile https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ comparing erectile dysfunction drugs

    April 27, 2021 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RfvbZisse

    cialis online australia http://cileve.com/ buy cialis

    April 27, 2021 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ed treatment tablets

    fast erectile dysfunction drugs https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile therapy pump

    April 27, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. FbsfEncox

    Cialis Super Active https://uspharmus.com/ – pharmacy online drugstore canadian pharcharmy onlinecanadian online pharmacy

    April 28, 2021 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. canadian customs pills vitamins

    canadian pharmacies ed pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pills pharmacy

    April 28, 2021 at 03:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. canadian pills online

    canadian pills pharmacy https://canadapillstorex.com/ best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    April 28, 2021 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. JbsdEncox

    sildenafil citrate https://onlinecanda21.com/ Cardura

    April 28, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. canadian pharmacy cialis without prescription

    how can i order cialis from a canadian pharmacy https://canadacialisstore.com/ is it safe to order cialis from canadian pharmacy

    April 28, 2021 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. LhdvZisse

    cialis australia paypal https://asciled.com/ price of cialis

    April 29, 2021 at 05:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. sildenafil 110 mg capsule

    cheapest sildenafil 100mg uk https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil 50mg brand name

    April 29, 2021 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. hidroxicloroquina

    malaria drug chloroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquinne

    April 30, 2021 at 02:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. avana

    avana canada avanafil 50

    April 30, 2021 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RfvbZisse

    cialis no perscrtion http://cileve.com/ overnighted cialis for men

    April 30, 2021 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. LrbsEncox

    vardenafil (levitra) https://uslevitraanna.com/ levitra warnings

    April 30, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. GvdbCrulk

    does tadalafil work as well as cialis http://boxtadafil.com/ tadalafil troche dosage

    April 30, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. LrbsEncox

    levitra walmart levitra discount coupon levitra vs cialis price

    May 1, 2021 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. do you need a prescription for viagra in canada

    generic viagra from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ anyone order viagra from canada

    May 1, 2021 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. LhdvZisse

    cialis usa online http://asciled.com/ generic cialis professional

    May 2, 2021 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. AbdgEncox

    Moduretic http://canadianeve21.com/ Cefixime

    May 2, 2021 at 02:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. canadian viagra cialis

    canadian pharmacy cialis no prescription https://canadacialisstore.com/ how can i order cialis from a canadian pharmacy

    May 2, 2021 at 03:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. GvdbCrulk

    solubility of tadalafil http://boxtadafil.com/ tadalafil 20 mg soft chewable tablets

    May 2, 2021 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. AbdgEncox

    prescription drugs prices https://canadianeve21.com/ – legit online pharmacy viagra canada

    May 2, 2021 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    canadian diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian?

    May 2, 2021 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. GtnbCrulk

    mixing cialis and viagra http://jokviagra.com/ canada pharmacy viagra

    May 3, 2021 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Darrick Rovelto

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that this website needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!


    May 3, 2021 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. dapoxetine

    dapoxetine pills dapoxetine 60mg

    May 3, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. dapoxetine

    buy avanafil uk priligy price

    May 3, 2021 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. LbsoZisse

    where can i buy cialis online in australia http://ucialisdas.com/ buy cialis in las vegas

    May 4, 2021 at 05:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. LebnEncox

    best online pharmacy dysfunction canada drugs online

    May 4, 2021 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Sylvester

    whoah this blog is wonderful i like reading your articles.
    Keep up the good work! You already know, many persons are hunting round for this info, you can aid them greatly.

    May 4, 2021 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. LebnEncox

    Epivir cialis canada online pharmacy best drugstore face wash

    May 4, 2021 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. BbshMile

    gabapentin and viagra https://loxviagra.com/ what happens when a woman takes male viagra

    May 4, 2021 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RebfZisse

    generic cialis https://rcialisgl.com/ – generic cialis buying cialis in australia

    May 5, 2021 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. AnooEncox

    viagra generika in deutschland bestellen http://llviagra.com/ viagra colour tablets

    May 5, 2021 at 03:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. AnooEncox

    how to tell if its real viagra https://llviagra.com/ fast delivery viagra

    May 5, 2021 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. LbsoZisse

    buy cialis free shipping https://ucialisdas.com/ cialis for free

    May 6, 2021 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. FmrfEncox

    cialis on line new zealand https://cialisee.com/ cialis purchase online

    May 6, 2021 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. JebgEncox

    canadian drug stores online Tadora shoppers drug mart canada

    May 7, 2021 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Leave a Reply to RebfZisse


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

July 2011
  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.