Ichthyosis is a genetic condition with thick, leathery skin. “Ichthy” comes from the Greek word for fish and this condition is so named as the skin sometimes appears like fish scales.

The condition can be either inherited (from birth) or acquired, and is usually categorized in five forms:

  1. Ichthyosis vulgaris, characterized by mild skin scaling and dryness
  2. Epidermolytic ichthyosis, previously called epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, characterized by thick, possibly spiny dark scales and skin that blisters
  3. Lamellar ichthyosis, characterized by large, platelike scales and thick skin
  4. Congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma, characterized by red skin and fine scales
  5. Localized ichthyosis, characterized by thick, scaly skin localized to regions of the body such as the palms and soles of the feet.

There is no cure for ichthyosis, but treatment may include creams, lotions, ointments, medicated bathing, and vitamin A derivatives.