Risk Factors and Treatments for Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin disease that affects primarily the folds of the skin. This darker, thicker, velvety skin is usually located in areas such as the armpits, groin, and neck. It may also appear on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Acanthosis nigricans can occur at any age, although it is most common in adolescents and adults over 40 years old. Obesity seems to be a major risk factor for acanthosis nigricans.

Although most cases of acanthosis nigricans are benign and do not cause symptoms other than cosmetic concerns, some cases may be associated with internal malignancy or endocrine disorders. In patients with acanthosis nigricans, an underlying disorder must be sought; diabetes mellitus should be ruled out.

In individuals who are obese, weight loss and nutritional counseling can improve acanthosis nigricans. Physicians should recommend additional evaluation or treatment if the patient has additional medical problems or if acanthosis nigrican is present in unusual locations (eg, eyelids).

Treatment is aimed at managing any underlying disease process and improving cosmetic appearance of the skin. This can often be achieved by weight reduction in patients who are overweight; this

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by areas of dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases. The affected skin can become thickened. Most often, acanthosis nigricans affects your armpits, groin and neck.

In some cases, acanthosis nigricans indicates an underlying medical condition, such as prediabetes or an endocrine disorder. Treating the underlying disorder may reduce or eliminate signs of acanthosis nigricans.

Acanthosis nigricans is also associated with a number of medications and chemicals, particularly those that contain niacin or nicotinamide (vitamin B-3).

In many people, however, no underlying medical condition can be identified and no cause for the acanthosis nigricans can be found. In these cases, treatment focuses on managing the cosmetic effects of acanthosis nigricans with skin-lightening creams that contain hydroquinone.

Acanthosis nigricans is characterized by a dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases. The lesions may be smooth or slightly raised, and may itch. They are often found in the armpits, groin, neck, and eyelids. Acanthosis nigricans is usually painless. In severe cases, it may cause skin thickening.

Acanthosis nigricans is a benign condition that can be associated with other medical disorders; however, it can also be inherited as a genetic disorder (familial acanthosis nigricans) or acquired as an isolated condition (isolated acanthosis nigricans).

In some cases professionals may call acanthosis nigricans “AN” for short.

In most cases AN does not require treatment; however, if the symptoms are bothersome or if the condition is associated with another medical disorder such as diabetes, then treatment is recommended.

What Are The Risk Factors For Acanthosis Nigricans?

Family or personal history of the disorder (genetic predisposition)


Diabetes mellitus

Disorders of the pituitary gland or ovaries (hyperinsulinemia)

Certain drugs that block insulin receptors (

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratoses are rough, scaly patches on the skin that form from years of exposure to the sun. They usually appear on the head, neck, hands, forearms, and other areas that get sun exposure. These lesions are considered precancerous because they can turn into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma if not treated in a timely manner.

How do you treat actinic keratosis?

Treatment options include cryosurgery (freezing), laser therapy, photodynamic therapy (PDT), chemical peels, or prescription creams. In most cases, treatment can be done during an office visit and takes only a few minutes. Depending on the number of lesions treated at one time and their location, some minor discomfort may occur following the procedure.

How do you prevent actinic keratosis?

The best way to prevent actinic keratosis is to protect your skin from the sun. Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily before going outside or being exposed to ultraviolet rays. You should reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating. It is also important to wear protective clothing and hats when outdoors for prolonged periods of time.

Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin condition that causes the skin to become thick, dark, and velvety. This condition is harmless but can be embarrassing. Acanthosis Nigricans is most common in people of African descent and appears to be hereditary in most cases.

The condition is more common in adults than children and often corresponds with obesity and insulin resistance. Acanthosis Nigricans is also associated with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, pituitary tumors, and hormonal disorders of the adrenal, thyroid or parathyroid glands. It has even been linked to some medications like birth control pills and high doses of nicotinic acid (vitamin B3).

Acanthosis Nigricans usually starts out as a light-brown patch appearing on the back of the neck or under the arms or breasts. The patches can be any size, from small to large enough to cover an entire area of the body. They do not cause itching or pain but appear as dry, cracked patches of skin that are difficult to get rid of.

Acanthosis Nigricans can also affect other areas of the body such as the groin, armpits, elbows, knees, knuckles, wrists, ankles or toes.

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by dark and velvety skin in body folds and creases. The affected skin can become thickened. Most commonly, acanthosis nigricans affects your armpits, groin and neck. In some cases, acanthosis nigricans can be a sign of an underlying medical disorder, such as cancer or hormonal problem. Treatment of acanthosis nigricans focuses on the underlying cause.

Acanthosis nigricans typically first appears in people younger than 30. Acanthosis nigricans tends to occur more often in people who are overweight or obese. Many people with acanthosis nigricans have insulin resistance, which means their cells don’t take up insulin properly to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. Insulin resistance increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and may be associated with other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

There are two types of acanthosis nigricans — primary and secondary:

Primary acanthosis nigricans: This type occurs in otherwise healthy people who tend to be overweight or obese. The dark patches often lighten with weight loss.

Secondary acanthosis nigricans: This type is related to an underlying

Acanthosis Nigricans is a condition in which patches of skin become darker (hyperpigmentation), thicker and velvety, usually in body folds. It often appears on the armpits, elbows, knees, knuckles and groin. The thickening of the skin is caused by over-production of cells. This can be caused by many things including an insulin resistance, a side effect from medication or it can be genetic.

If you have Acanthosis Nigricans it is important to seek medical advice from your family doctor. They will be able to help with the process of ruling out any possible causes for Acanthosis Nigricans such as diabetes or other health problems that may cause this condition to occur.

Acanthosis Nigricans does not always require treatment but if you want to get rid of the darkened skin there are many options available. Prescription creams such as: Tretinoin, Hydroquinone, Corticosteroids and Alpha Hydroxy Acid can work well at reducing the darkened skin tone. If you do decide to use these creams they must be used under your doctors supervision and only for a short period of time as long term use can lead to irritation.

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