X-linked ichthyosis: an oculocutaneous genodermatosis

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Mar;62(3):480-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.04.028. Epub 2010 Jan 18.


X-linked ichthyosis (XLI) is an X-linked recessive disorder of cutaneous keratinization with possible extracutaneous manifestations. It was first described as a distinct type of ichthyosis in 1965. XLI is caused by a deficiency in steroid sulfatase activity, which results in abnormal desquamation and a retention hyperkeratosis. XLI is usually evident during the first few weeks of life as polygonal, loosely adherent translucent scales in a generalized distribution that desquamate widely. These are quickly replaced by large, dark brown, tightly adherent scales occurring primarily symmetrically on the extensor surfaces and the side of the trunk. In addition, extracutaneous manifestations such as corneal opacities, cryptorchidism, and abnormalities related to contiguous gene syndromes may be observed. Diagnosis of XLI is usually made clinically, as the histopathology is nonspecific, but confirmation may be obtained through either biochemical or genetic analysis. Treatment should focus on cutaneous hydration, lubrication, and keratolysis and includes topical moisturizers and topical retinoids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ichthyosis, X-Linked / diagnosis
  • Ichthyosis, X-Linked / genetics
  • Ichthyosis, X-Linked / pathology*
  • Ichthyosis, X-Linked / therapy
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lubrication
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Skin / pathology*


  • Keratolytic Agents