Description. Collapse Section. Harlequin ichthyosis is a severe genetic disorder that affects the skin. Infants with this condition are born prematurely with very hard, thick skin covering most of their bodies. The skin forms large, diamond-shaped plates that are separated by deep cracks (fissures).
However, with recent advances in neonatal care and the advancement of medical care, harlequin infants do survive and lead fulfilling lives. In fact, several surviving children with harlequin ichthyosis are now young adults. MYTH: People with ichthyosis usually have other medical issues and disabilities.