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Home Beauty Skin Disease Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans - treatment, picture of acanthosis nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans is an uncommon skin ailment which implies papillpmatous or verrucous hypertrophy of the skin combined with pigmentation occurring on streaks or patches in the axillae, groins, neck, sub-mammary region and antecubital fossae. Acanthosis Nigricans depending on the severity may occur either in a mild or severe form; in the later, there is accompanying dystrophy of the nails and hair, there being pigmentation of the other parts of the integument as well.

What is Acanthosis Nigricans?

This is a disorder of hyperpigmentation (an increase of the dark pigment melanin) in the skin. Acanthosis nigricans is a disorder that causes light-brown-to-black, velvety, rough areas or increased skin markings usually on the back and sides of the neck.

How to get rid of Acanthosis Nigricans

The condition can also at times occur under the arms and in the groin. If the patient is obese, the eruption may clear with weight loss or correction of the underlying endocrine disorder. Local treatment is not effective.

What are the causes of Acanthosis Nigricans?

  • The exact cause of this acanthosis nigricans is unknown. It can be a genetic (inherited) condition.
  • When inherited, it is not considered dangerous. However it is sometimes associated with obesity, diabetes, cancer and certain drugs. All of these conditions can be considered potentially dangerous.
  • Acanthosis nigricans can affect otherwise healthy people, or it can be associated with medical problems. Some cases are genetically inherited.
  • It is most common among people of African descent. Obesity can lead to acanthosis nigricans, as can many endocrine disorders. It is frequently found in people with diabetes.
  • Some drugs, particularly hormones such as human growth hormone or oral contraceptives ("the pill"), can also cause acanthosis nigricans.
  • People with cancers of the gastrointestinal or genitourinary tracts or with lymphoma can also develop severe cases of this acanthosis nigricans.

Types of Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans is divided into 2 broad categories, Benign and Malignant.

  • Benign Acanthosis Nigricans: Patients with the benign form of Acanthosis nigricans experience very few, if any, complications of their skin lesions. However, many of these patients have an underlying insulin-resistant state that is the cause of their Acanthosis nigricans. The severity of the insulin resistance is highly variable and ranges from an incidental finding on routine blood studies to overt diabetes mellitus. The severity of skin findings may parallel the degree of insulin resistance, and a partial resolution may occur with treatment of the insulin-resistant state. Insulin resistance is the most common association of acanthosis nigricans in the younger age population.
  • Malignant Acanthosis nigricans is associated with significant complications because the underlying malignancy is often an aggressive tumor. Average survival time of patients with signs of malignant Acanthosis nigricans is 2 years, although cases in which patients have survived for up to 12 years have been reported. In older patients with new onset Acanthosis nigricans, most have an associated internal malignancy.

What are the long-term effects of acanthosis nigricans?

  • While acanthosis nigricans can be associated with potentially dangerous conditions such as obesity, it is not in itself a dangerous condition.
  • However from a psychological point of view, the development of dark patches on the skin can bother some people, especially if they are on parts of the body which cannot be easily covered.
  • If you develop dark patches on your skin, visit your doctor for advice.


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