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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Treatment

Treatment of all types of ichthyosis involves restoring the skin's moisture and facilitating more aggressive shedding of dead skin cells. Regular visits to a dermatologist can help when ichthyosis causes severe symptoms.

To get the best results, use moisture-retaining creams or ointments after a bath or shower, so that moisture is maintained within the skin surface. Petrolatum, lanolin or urea-containing preparations are very helpful in maintaining skin moisture.

Medicines that promote shedding of skin flakes include lotions or creams that contain lactic acid or other "alpha-hydroxy acids."

If the ichthyosis leads to scratching that causes skin infections, or if body odor is a major problem, antibiotics may be needed from time to time.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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