Ichthyosis is the disorder in which there are excessive amounts of dry surface scales. The name ichthyosis is derived from the Greek word Ichthys which means fish. The presentation of ichthyosis is very similar to the appearance of fish scales. Patients with ichythyosis may develop chronic bacterial infections of the skin necessitating long-term antibiotic therapy.
The use of topical exfoliants to help reduce the amount of scales as well as a moisturizer to help hydrate the skin may provide some relief. The use of a petrolatum ointment under occlusion may also help keep the scaling patches under control. In extreme cases oral retinoids display an impressive antikeratinizing action in ichthyosiform dermatoses.
Isotretinoin have been shown to reduce scaling, discomfort, and disfigurement. However, when these drugs are discontinued, the ichthyotic skin recurs, thereby necessitating long-term use.