About Ichthyosis

Ichthyosis is a condition which results in the skin becoming scaly, thick and rough. There are many different types of Ichthyosis, and unlike eczema or psoriasis, scaling is continuous and can affect the whole body. In certain types of Ichthyosis, flare-ups can occur in colder weather and the condition can improve with warmer temperatures. Ichthyosis often runs in families but can also appear in adulthood. With the right management and treatment, the symptoms of Ichthyosis can be managed.

Treatments for Ichthyosis

Treatment for Ichthyosis should include the regular use of emollients to alleviate symptoms and moisturise skin, ultimately to trap the moisture.

A daily skincare routine should improve the skin condition to make it less dry and scaly, and prevent the build-up of skin cells. Speak to your healthcare professional about which treatments may be right for you. There are many different types of emollients and you can find out more about them here.

Tips for managing Ichthyosis

Work with your healthcare professional to find emollient products for washing and moisturising that work for you, and use them at least once a day.

Moisturise your entire body (including all dry and scaly areas) everyday using long, smooth, soothing strokes (in the direction of hair growth). Take a small pot of moisturiser out with you and remember to moisturise dry and scaly areas during the day. Do not rub the skin forcefully. It doesn’t matter if the moisturiser sits on the surface, as it will soon soak in over time.

Applying emollients to wet skin after showering or bathing can help to trap the moisture in the outers of the skin. After washing your hair, gently brush your head whilst it is still wet to help remove scales from your scalp.

Allow a 20-30 minute gap between applying emollients and other topical treatments prescribed by your healthcare professional.¹ In severe cases, you may be prescribed retinoid tablets (vitamin A) to help lessen scaling and vitamin D. If you are, continue to use your emollient as advised.²


  1. Moncrieff G, van Onselen J, Young T. The role of emollients in maintaining skin integrity. Wounds UK. 2015; 11(1):70-75.]]
  2. NHS, Ichthyosis Overview, Accessible at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ichthyosis/ Last Accessed: 7th December 2020

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