Understanding Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin condition that is often a warning sign of insulin resistance. If you have Acanthosis Nigricans and you get it treated, you may be able to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Acanthosis Nigricans comes in two forms and has two different causes: one type is due to an excess of insulin and the other type is due to an excess of growth hormone. The former occurs in people who are overweight and the latter occurs in people who are underweight. Acanthosis Nigricans can be treated with topical creams, oral medications, or by losing weight.

I have been asked by many people about the meaning of Acanthosis Nigricans. It is a skin condition that shows up on dark skinned people, usually after puberty. It is also seen in people who are not very active and who eat poorly. The condition is usually first seen as darkening or thickening of the skin in the folds of the body such as:

Under the arms


Groin areas

Elbows (front and back) and knees (front and back)

Around your nails and fingers

It is more common in women than men. It can be genetic but most often it is related to a high insulin level in your blood. This can be caused by an insulin resistance that runs in families, or it can be caused by taking steroids or other drugs that increase insulin levels.

Many of us who have been diagnosed with Acanthosis Nigricans, or who are getting tested for it, often get told by our doctors that it is nothing to worry about. But this is simply not true!

Acanthosis Nigricans is a warning sign of insulin resistance and diabetes. It can also be a sign of pre-diabetes. In fact, it probably is, if you have it.

Furthermore, many doctors are still in the dark ages when it comes to understanding insulin resistance and diagnosing diabetes. Many doctors I speak to believe that insulin resistance doesn’t exist! They believe that Type 2 Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar and/or carbohydrates! This is simply laughable nonsense!

The reality is that high carbohydrate diets can cause hyperinsulinemia (high levels of circulating insulin), which leads to insulin resistance. If you eat a high carbohydrate diet for years and years, and you don’t exercise much, then the chances are that your pancreas will eventually burn out from overworking (from producing so much insulin). When this happens, you will be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin condition that is characterized by dark, thick, velvety skin in body folds and creases. The affected skin can appear in body folds such as back of the neck, underarms, groin, elbows, knees and knuckles.

There are various causes of acanthosis nigricans. Some of the known causes are genetics (inherited), endocrine disorders (diabetes mellitus, adrenal insufficiency or pituitary insufficiency), obesity, certain medications (birth control pills or hormone therapy), cancers (gastric and ovarian) and insulin receptor disorders.

In addition to the above mentioned causes, acanthosis nigricans can also be caused by contact dermatitis from topical irritants or allergens.

Acanthosis nigricans is not contagious and it does not cause any physical pain. However, this skin disorder can be an embarrassment for some people. It may also be an indication of underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed immediately.

Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin condition that causes the skin to become darker and thicker. It is often characterised by black or dark brown areas of skin found on the body folds, creases, elbows, knuckles and knees. The extra thickened skin can also have a rough texture and can sometimes appear velvety.

Acanthosis nigricans usually appears slowly over time. In most cases it is painless. If you have acanthosis nigricans you may also have diabetes (type 2), obesity, high cholesterol, polycystic ovary syndrome and some forms of cancer.

There are three main types of acanthosis nigricans:

1) Genetic – this type tends to affect children from the age of two onwards and is not associated with any other medical conditions.

2) Endocrine – this type affects adults and tends to be linked with other medical conditions such as diabetes (type 2), obesity, high cholesterol and polycystic ovary syndrome.

3) Malignant – this type affects adults and tends to be linked with some forms of cancer such as oesophageal cancer.

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

Acanthosis nigricans usually signals an underlying medical condition, most often insulin resistance. It’s common in people with diabetes and prediabetes. Some medications also can cause acanthosis nigricans. In some cases, no cause can be identified.

Treating the underlying cause often improves acanthosis nigricans. For example, improved blood sugar control may reduce the severity of the condition in people with diabetes or prediabetes. Acanthosis nigricans may go away completely when the underlying condition has been treated successfully.

In most cases, medical treatment isn’t needed because the disorder doesn’t pose a health threat and typically doesn’t cause discomfort or itching. However, if you’re bothered by how acanthosis nigricans looks, you may want to talk to your doctor about potential treatment options that may help lighten or remove the darkened patches of skin.

Acanthosis nigricans, or dark patches on the skin, is a form of skin pigmentation that may indicate underlying health conditions.

What Is Acanthosis Nigricans?

Acanthosis nigricans is a condition in which a person develops dark, thickened, velvety patches of skin, often around the neck and underarms.

Acanthosis nigricans is caused by insulin resistance. This means that the body’s cells are resistant to insulin, and therefore cannot use it properly. As a result, hyperinsulinemia develops. Hyperinsulinemia means that there are high levels of insulin in the blood. It can be caused by obesity as well as several other factors such as diabetes mellitus and medications. High levels of insulin trigger an increase in epidermal growth factor (EGF). EGF affects pigmentation and thickness of the skin by causing keratinocytes to produce more melanin which causes darkening of the skin and by causing fibroblasts to produce more collagen which causes thickening of the skin.

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