Although self-help measures won't cure ichthyosis, they may help improve the appearance and feel of damaged skin. Consider these measures to help:
Oct. 20, 2012
- Take long soaking baths to soften the skin. Then use a rough-textured sponge, such as a loofa sponge, to remove the thickened scales.
- Choose mild soaps that have added oils and fats. Avoid strongly scented and antibacterial soaps, which are especially harsh on dry skin.
- After showering or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on the skin.
- Apply moisturizer or lubricating cream while your skin is still moist from bathing. Choose a moisturizer that contains urea or propylene glycol — chemicals that help keep your skin moist. Petroleum jelly is another good choice. Cover the treated areas with plastic wrap to keep the petroleum jelly from staining clothes and furniture.
- Apply an over-the-counter product that contains urea, lactic acid or a low concentration of salicylic acid twice daily. Mild acidic compounds help your skin shed its dead skin cells. Urea helps bind moisture to your skin.
- Use a portable home humidifier or one attached to your furnace to add moisture to the air inside your home.
- Ichthyosis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/cornification_disorders/ichthyosis.html#v960749. Accessed Sept. 1, 2012.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Metabolic and inherited diseases affecting the skin. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept. 1, 2012.
- Ichthyosis vulgaris. Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types, Inc. http://www.firstskinfoundation.org/content.cfm/Ichthyosis/Ichthyosis-Vulgaris-Fact-Sheet/page_id/898. Accessed Sept. 1, 2012.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=56035110. Accessed September 1, 2012.
- Okulicz JF, et al. Hereditary and acquired ichthyosis vulgaris. International Journal of Dermatology 2003;42:95.
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