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Ichthyosis is a skin disorder characterized by persistently dry, thickened, rough and scaly skin. It begins in childhood and, unless successfully treated, persists for life. There is no known cause of ichthyosis but at least one parent is known to have a similar condition. Often there is a concomitant history of thyroid disorders as well. The condition is known to worsen in dry cold weather.

People with ichthyosis have a normal lifespan but not necessarily a normal life as they may need to spend several hours each day caring for their skin. At some point it is possible that patients with severe ichthyosis may experience any or all of the following health complications:

  • Overheating: ichthyosis may affect normal temperature control by reducing the ability to sweat
  • Limited movement: dry, scaly skin may make it too painful to move some parts of the body
  • Secondary infection: cracking and splitting of the skin may lead to skin and sometimes systemic infections
  • Impaired hearing or eyesight: skin may build up over the ears or eyes

The main goal of treatment is to moisturize and exfoliate. This helps prevent dryness, scaling, cracking and build-up of skin. Although self-help measures won't cure ichthyosis, they may help improve the appearance and feel of damaged skin. These measures may be beneficial:

  • Take long soaking baths to soften the skin. Then use a roughly-textured sponge, such as a loofah sponge, to remove the thickened scales.
  • Choose mild soaps that have added oils and fats. Avoid deodorant and antibacterial soaps which are especially harsh on dry skin.
  • After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on the skin.
  • Apply the moisturizer or lubricating cream whilst your skin is still wet or moist from bathing. Choose a moisturizer that contains urea or propylene glycol — chemicals that help keep your skin moist. Petroleum jelly is another good choice.

Homeopathic Remedies

Petroleum 30C 5 pills once a day for dry skin causing cracks and fissures which increase in winter

Thyroidinum 6c 5 pills twice a day for dry and cracked skin

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