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The name Ichthyose derives from the Greek word for fish: ichthys. He describes the appearance of this flaky skin disease. The often rough, thickened horny cell layer reminds of fish skin due to the strong dandruff. The term ichthyosis is a group of inherited skin diseases that have multiple patterns of inheritance with varying degrees of severity.
The most common form, hereditary ichthyosis vulgaris, affects 1 in 300 people and occurs worldwide. Of the rarer forms, only 1 in 300,000 people are affected. The acquired Ichthyose is extremely rare and due to an underlying systemic disease, especially on various cancers. Ichthyosis affects both sexes equally.
Ichthyosis is a skin disorder that is limited to the epidermis. In patients with ichthyosis, there are various gene changes (mutations), which lead to a defective skin formation of the skin cells and finally to the typical skin surface. In certain cases, ichthyosis can be detected before birth. The lesions range from mild redness and / or fine scaling to large, adherent, flaking scales. The most severe skin lesions are the rarer hereditary forms of ichthyosis.
The dominant ichthyosis form begins in early childhood. The disease can be recognized by dandruff and exfoliation. Visible dandruff will adhere for a long time and often dissolve in clumped flakes. Many children with ichthyosis also suffer from hereditary hypersensitivity (atopy) in the form of asthma, eczema and hay fever. Ichthyosis leads to cosmetic problems and sometimes to cracks in the skin. In these cracks, infections can occur.
The prognosis for hereditary ichthyosis vulgaris is excellent. In many patients, the complaints resolve over the years. The prognosis for the rarer hereditary forms varies, but there are usually more severe symptoms than in ichthyosis vulgaris. The prognosis of acquired ichthyosis depends on the severity of the underlying systemic disease.