You’re not from the fish family, but you’ve got scales on your legs and they appear to be increasing on your skin. Your skin has become severely dry, flaky and scaly, it seems to be thickening and there is much itching.
So what have you got? A skin allergy? Sorry, but it’s a No-No.
It’s possible you have Fish Scale disease or Fishkin disease; also otherwise called Ichthyosis vulgaris, a skin disorder causing dry, scaly skin which could be anywhere in the body, and it is usually genetic although there is a rare non-heritable type called Acquired Ichthyosis.
It’s unfortunate when you have this skin disorder in your family; so far, 95% of cases are found to be of genetic nature. Being genetic, no cure for this disease has already been found to totally cure the disorder. The congenital or inherited ichthyosis generally develop between three months and five years of age, but records show that symptoms may often improve with age, although they may grow more severe again in old age.
The acquired Ichthyosis, however, usually develops in adulthood and has been known to have resulted from internal disease or from using certain medications.
Other cases of this disease include symptoms like flaky scalp, tile-like scales, and deep painful cracks in the palms and soles. Although it is not life-threatening, having this disease can ruin a person’s personal, social and work life due to the impact of having an unusual appearance; and from possible severe itching and scratching; bacterial infections of the skin could develop and worsen the already dreadful condition. They are more noticeable during winter than spring and summer months.
Those with severe ichthyosis have difficulty sweating because of the building up of scales on their skin and could lead to prickly itches due to overheating. Such that those under this condition prefer to live in hot and humid climate because sweating helps to shed those scales (which improves the skin appearance considerably) and to be spared from severe itching. It should also be noted that strong air-conditioning and excessive consumption of alcohol should also be avoided because they could increase the build up of scales.
The worse scenario is when dry skin cracks and create bloody cuts, becomes inflamed or tight; much pain can be experienced. The worst is when affliction hinders one from living a normally happy life and isolates one’s self from the social circle and becomes chronically depressed.
How to best treat the condition? To quote the University of Maryland Medical Center, people with fish scale disease should do the following:
- Use non-drying mild soaps.
- Apply heavy duty moisturizers and creams that contain lactic acid, salicylic acid and urea to help dead skin shed naturally, and apply lotions immediately after taking their bath.
- If skin opens up due to scratching, the wound should be bandaged and cleaned with hydrogen peroxide. Excessive itching resulting in extreme scratching is also grounds for scheduling a doctor’s appointment.
NOTE: If you don’t have fish scales on your skin, but already have dry and flaky skin, treat them right away – and diligently, too – … then, pray that you won’t wake up one day and find scales growing on your legs!