Skin inflammatory (nontumor)
Keratinization disorders

Author: Mowafak Hamodat, M.D., MB.CH.B, MSc., FRCPC (see Authors page)

Revised: 22 October 2018, last major update July 2011

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Ichthyosis [title] skin

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Cite this page: Hamodat, M. Ichthyosis. website. Accessed January 22nd, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Disorder of epidermal maturation in which skin resembles fish scales
  • Associated with excessive keratin buildup due to a desquamation defect, leading to retention of abnormally formed scale
  • Usually apparent at birth
  • In adults, is associated with malignancies (lymphoma, carcinoma of bronchus, breast and cervix), sarcoidosis, lupus and drugs
  • Ichthyosis vulgaris: common type
  • Lamellar ichthyosis: rare inherited skin condition of newborn with shedding of plate-like layers of skin
  • X linked variant: deficiency in steroid sulfatase, which removes proadhesive cholesterol sulfate from intracellular spaces
Clinical features
  • Skin resembles fish scales; rough scaly patches and plaques
Clinical images

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Lamellar ichthyosis

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Increased stratum corneum with loss of normal basket weave pattern, minimal inflammation
  • Loss of granular layer in ichthyosis vulgaris