Ichthyosis vulgaris is commonly caused by a genetic mutation that's inherited from one or both parents. Children who inherit a defective gene from just one parent have a milder form of the disease, while those who inherit two defective genes have a more severe form of ichthyosis vulgaris. Children with the inherited form of the disorder usually have normal skin at birth, but develop scaling and roughness during the first few years of life.

If genetic abnormalities aren't responsible for ichthyosis, it's referred to as acquired ichthyosis. This rare type often begins in adulthood. It's usually associated with other diseases, such as cancer, thyroid disease or HIV/AIDS.

Oct. 20, 2012