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What is Ichthyosis Vulgaris?

Ichthyosis is a skin disorder in which there is excessive dryness of skin due to the accumulation of dead skin cells in thick, dry scales. It is commonly seen as an inherited disorder.

Ichthyosis is also known as “fish scale disease” or “fish skin disease” due to its scaly appearance like that of the skin of a fish.


Symptoms of Ichthyosis Vulgaris

Normally, the skin cells keep shedding as there is a growth of new skin cells. In ichthyosis, the shedding process of the skin cells slows down. Due to this slowing, there is an excessive accumulation of dead skin cells and also an excess of protein “keratin” on the surface of the skin. This gives rise to symptoms like:

  • Dry scaly skin
  • Scales appear like that of the skin of a fish
  • Scales are dirty gray or brown with dark colored scales on the darker skin
  • Deep and painful cracks in the skin
  • Flaky dandruff on the scalp
  • Scales are seen mostly on the bony areas of elbows and lower limbs. They are thick and darker on the shins. Skin folds are usually not affected.
  • The lines on the skin are more pronounced on the palms of hands in ichthyosis.

Ichthyosis usually starts by the age of 2 months or mostly before the age of 5 years. The symptoms may worsen or improve as the age increases.



Ichthyosis is caused due to abnormal changes in some genes. These abnormal genes come to the child from either one or both the parents. If the child inherits the genes from one parent, then the disease is mild. And if the child gets the genes from both parents, then the disease is severe.

A protein called “filaggrin” is needed in the skin which helps to retain the moisture in the skin. The abnormal genes that are inherited from the parents cause the defective production of this protein “filaggrin”. This defective “filaggrin” cannot help the skin to retain its moisture content and hence the skin becomes excessively dry and scaly.



The diagnosis can be easily made by carefully examining the affected skin and the characteristic appearance of the scales in ichthyosis.

The abnormalities in the filaggrin can be detected by taking a sample of the saliva for lab tests.

Other tests like skin biopsy can be made to rule out other causes of scaling of the skin.

Self help

  • Taking warm baths with mild soaps which do not cause more irritation of the skin.
  • Gently rubbing off of the dead skin layer with a pumice stone or a roughly textured sponge, when the skin is still damp after washing.
  • Application of moisturizing creams or oil to keep the skin moist.


Homoeopathic Management of Ichthyosis Vulgaris

Homoeopathy medicine will help to control the dryness and scaling of the skin. and Unlike allopathic medications, the drugs do not suppress the disease and there are no side effects.

Arsenic Iodatum

  • Marked exfoliation of the scales from the skin that leaves behind a raw surface
  • Scaly skin with Itching
  • Enlarged scrofulous glands
  • Debilitating Night Sweat
  • Eczema of beard watery oozing, Worse washing


  • Burning and itching
  • Oozing or dry eruption with marked redness
  • night
  • Soreness itching and burning
  • Skin rough dry cracked, thick
  • Oversensitive skin


  • Ichthyosis with offensive odor of skin
  • Itching; not relieved by scratching; worse in bends of elbows and knees.
  • Chloasma; herpetic eruption on lips, about mouth and nose.
  • Ringworm-like eruption every spring.
  • Sweat on feet, worse on toes; intolerable odor.

Kali Sulph

  • dry, flaky skin with prominent, yellow scales
  • Eczema; burning, itching, popular eruption.
  • Nettle-rash.
  • Ringworm of scalp or beard with abundant scales.

Hydrocotyl Asiatica

  • There is thickening of epidermal layer and exfoliation of scales of the skin.
  • Circular spots on the skin with scaly edges.
  • Intolerable Itching, especially  of soles