Ichthyosis acquisita or acquired ichthyosis is a disorder clinically and histologically similar to ichthyosis vulgaris. Ichthyosis vulgaris is an inherited skin disorder in which dead skin cells accumulate in thick, dry scales on your skin's surface.
The scales of ichthyosis vulgaris, sometimes called fish scale disease or fish skin disease, can be present at birth, but usually first appear during early childhood. Sometimes, mild cases of ichthyosis vulgaris go undiagnosed because they're mistaken for extremely dry skin.
Most cases of ichthyosis vulgaris are mild, but some are severe. Sometimes other skin diseases, such as the allergic skin condition eczema, are associated with ichthyosis vulgaris. No cure has been found for ichthyosis vulgaris, and treatments focus on controlling the condition.
- Dry, scaly skin
- Tile-like, small scales
- Scales colored white, dirty gray or brown — with darker-colored scales typically on darker skin
- Flaky scalp
- Deep, painful cracks in your skin
Ichthyosis vulgaris is commonly caused by a genetic mutation that's inherited from one or both parents. Children who inherit a defective gene from just one parent have a milder form of the disease. Those who inherit two defective genes have a more severe form of ichthyosis vulgaris. Children with the inherited form of the disorder usually have normal skin at birth, but develop scaling and roughness during the first few years of life.
If genetic abnormalities aren't responsible for ichthyosis, it's referred to as acquired ichthyosis. It's usually associated with other diseases, such as cancer, thyroid disease or HIV/AIDS.
Diagnosis of acquired ichthyosis is usually based upon the skin symptoms present. If acquired ichthyosis appears before a systemic disease is diagnosed, the individual will be examined further for the presence of an underlying disorder
The main goal of treatment for acquired ichthyosis is to moisturise and exfoliate. This helps prevent dryness, scaling, cracking and build-up of skin. The skin affected by ichthyosis is treated by hydration with alpha-hydroxy acid lotions such as ammonium lactate.