What is Ichthyosis?
Ichthyosis is a group of diseases. There are more than 36 types of ichthyoses and, although each one has its particularities, all of them are characterised by:
⦁ Extreme skin dryness that reduces or eliminates the elasticity of the skin – the formation of cracks and wounds that are always open and prevent proper joint mobility (difficulty walking, writing, driving, etc.) and are possible sources of infection.
⦁ Severe and continuous peeling.
⦁ Thickening of the skin (hyperkeratosis).
⦁ Redness (erythema).
⦁ Change or absence of sweating (hypohidrosis).
⦁ Heat intolerance.
⦁ Lack of regulation of body temperature
In addition, in many cases, ichthyosis is associated with other problems that must be treated by specialists:
⦁ Appearance of blisters and wounds.
⦁ Skin inflammation and intense itching that make rest and growth difficult.
⦁ Eye problems such as ectropian, conjunctivitis, inflammation of the eyelids or inflammation of the cornea.
⦁ Hearing problems due to excess skin and wax in the ear canals that can cause plugs.
⦁ Limitation in joint mobility due to the tightness of the skin and that may require physiotherapy.
⦁ Psychological problems because it is a highly visible disease. This attracts unwanted comments and attitudes, and can result in low self-esteem and depression in the individuals affected. The burden of treating and caring for ichthyosis has a huge impact both financially and on the individual and/or carer’s time.
Currently there is no cure, and the treatments are exclusively symptomatic, in other words, to calm and reduce the symptoms only.