Emu Oil Institute
Emu Oil & Ichtyosis
What is Ichthyosis?
Ichthyosis is a disorder of keratinization. The term literally means resembling "Fish Skin". The Ichthyoses are a family of skin diseases with the shared characteristic that each causes the skin to build up and scale. The degree of scaling can vary, from mild dry skin to severe heavy scaling. Ichthyosis scaling can be very painful, can restrict the body's range of movement, cause deep cracks or fissures at the joints, and affect hearing. Some say it can be inherited or acquired. In a typical case, the skin is dry and rough, with small grayish brown scales, usually found on the exterior surfaces of the limbs.
Ichthyosis involves development of dry, scaly skin. It is usually most severe over the legs but may also involve the arms, hands, and trunk in some cases. It is usually associated with many fine lines over the palm of the hand and the condition is often more noticeable in the winter. Associations with ichthyosis may be: atopic dermatitis, keratosis pilaris or other skin disorders.
Acquired ichthyosis (Ichthyosis Vulgaris) is usually produced by extreme degrees of nutritional deficiency, AIDS, cancer and leprosy. Dermatologists have recognized more than 25 types of ichthyosis, however, there are just a handful of main types: Lamellar Ichthyosis, Congenital Ichthyosiform Erythroderma (CIE), Epidermyloytic Hyperkeratosis (EH or EHK), X-linked Ichthyosis and Ichthyosis Vulgaris. With the exception of Ichthyosis Vulgaris, Ichthyosis is a very rare disease.
" Positive Health Clinic" in India provides the following causes of Ichthyosis:
Other health professionals claim that Ichthyosis is strictly a genetic defect, and can only be inherited - they state you cannot "catch" ichthyosis.
How does Ichthyosis Progress?
Your skin is your body's largest organ. The normal skin cycle is renewing, dying and shedding - with the average skin cell lifespan being 14 days. With Ichthyosis, the skin does not shed as it normally would, but rather, builds up.
There is little reliable data
on the incidence of ichthyosis. Most figures are informed estimates,
with the margin of error large. Best guesstimates are that more than one
million Americans are affected by ichthyosis, and more than 16,000
babies are born each year with one of this family of genetic skin
diseases, thus qualifying ichthyosis as a rare disease. If you have this
condition, be aware that your children are at risk for developing it.
How is Ichthyosis Treated?
There currently is no cure for ichthyosis. Intensive localized moisturizing may reduce symptoms. Caring for ichthyosis is very labor-intensive - spending lots of hours every week bathing, scrubbing the skin in an effort to shed some of the scales, and keeping the skin heavily moisturized. Caring for ichthyosis is as much about looking good as feeling good.
The use of mild, non-drying soaps – such as Emu oil soaps – is encouraged. Frequent hydration of the skin is encouraged, and since Emu oil is a "tissue nutrient" and helps "feed the skin" Emu oil can help keep the skin moist and softened. Immediately after bathing, apply a generous amount of Emu oil to the skin and allow to penetrate. Then, apply Emu oil to the affected areas several times a day for added moisturization.
Helpful Hints for Ichthyosis Sufferers
* Do not take hot baths or showers, they dry out the skin. Use warm to cool water.
* Do not rub the skin dry after you bathe. Blot your skin gently, then immediately apply Emu oil as a moisturizer.
* Living in a warm climate often improves ichthyosis.