Management of the ichthyoses

Skin Therapy Lett. 2003 Sep;8(6):3-7.


The ichthyoses are a heterogeneous group of inherited scaling skin disorders that can also affect other organs. Management should be directed at both the skin and other sites. Skin therapy is not specific at this time, although new products may offer more directed therapy in the future. Moisturizers and keratolytics are the mainstay of topical therapy. Calcipotriene, retinoids, and for select types, anti-inflammatories such as topical steroids and calcineurin inhibitors have also been used. Systemic therapy is limited to the retinoids. Superinfection of the skin should be anticipated and treated. Pruritus can be disabling. Failure to sweat normally may result in heat intolerance. Eye care should seek to prevent corneal changes resulting from ectropion and more specific changes associated with specific disorders. Haring can be impaired by the accumulation of material in the external auditory canal. Severely affected children may require caloric supplementation to avoid growth retardation. Affected individuals and their family should be counseled about the long term outlook and the genetic nature of their disorder, and informed of FIRST, the Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types, the lay foundation that offers support and information.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ichthyosis / therapy*


  • Dermatologic Agents