The most common form of ichthyosis, ichthyosis vulgaris - is caused by a genetic mutation passed down from parents to children, but what does it do to the skin?
The result of inheriting a mutated gene is that the way the skin repairs and renews itself doesn’t work properly. With ichthyosis vulgaris the rate at which new cells are generated doesn’t match the usual cycle of shedding old cells, so they build up at the top layer of skin, known as the stratum corneum.
The result is that skin hardens and thickens, becoming less supple and more likely to crack. The skin can just look dry, but often appears scaly (the condition is named for the fact it can look like fish scales), or as if there were mosaic-like patterns on the skin.
The mutated gene also seems to affect the way that the skin produces filaggrin, the protein responsible for the skin’s elasticity. Without filaggrin, the skin barrier is impaired and doesn’t function well, and leaves the sufferer vulnerable to infection and cracked skin.
Ichthyosis vulgaris usually appears on the lower legs, sometimes on the trunk and arms, and less often on the forehead and cheeks.
What products do we recommend for people with ichthyosis?
Although the condition can’t be cured, mild cases can generally be managed with a careful skincare routine. Check with your doctor if you need more intensive treatment, but because ichthyosis is a condition characterised by dry skin, sufferers are usually encouraged to use rich emollients to soften any scaliness and keep skin supple and well-hydrated. Our moisturisers are made to be as gentle and natural as possible, so that skin is cared for rather than irritated.
For really dry, rough or cracked skin:
Skin Salvation balm with hemp, beeswax & calendula (from £7.99 for 30ml)
For general daily maintenance:
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream with shea butter, hemp & olive (from £13.99 for 100ml)
Balmonds Bath & Body Oil with hemp, lavender & chamomile (£12.99 for 200ml)
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.