Help for Ichthyosis

Recently, a family member of mine at a Just Coco product party asked me if virgin coconut oil would help treat ichthyosis.  I had never heard of this condition so I did a little research.


Ichthyosis (the most common form is ichthyosis vulgaris) is an inherited skin disorder that causes dry, thickened, or flaky skin cells to accumulate on the skin’s surface.  The name comes from the Ancient Greek ichthys, meaning fish, because the dry skin can sometimes resemble fish scales.  These scales can be present at birth or in early childhood, possibly disappearing in adulthood only to return later.


There is no cure for the condition so the goal is to manage it with topical (applied directly to the skin) and/or systemic (taken by mouth) therapies done daily.  The goals of topical therapies are to reduce the thickness of the scales by removing dead skin and to moisturize the skin so it will become more flexible and less susceptible to painful cracking and tightness.  As with many medical treatments, topical perscriptions can often be irritating to already fragile skin.


Home therapies include

  • soaking in baths to soften the skin and blotting the skin dry;
  • using soap with added natural oils and fats;
  • exfoliation to remove thickened skin;
  • increasing skin moisture by applying hydrating oils or creams after showering or bathing;
  • and, using mildly acidic compounds to help the skin shed dead cells.


Some people with ichthyosis have found relief using virgin coconut oil itself or soaps and lotions containing virgin coconut oil to treat  treating mild, persistent cases. Virgin coconut oil is gentle and rarely irritates skin. And it is made up of a combination of fatty acids that also moisturize–a one-two punch for both ridding dead skin cells and hydration.


If you have ichthyosis or know someone who does and have tried virgin coconut oil as a treatment, Just Coco would love to hear about your experiences.


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