February 8, 2011

Acanthosis Nigricans – Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Posted in Category : Beauty

Acanthosis nigricans can be described as a skin condition, which is characterized by thick and dark skin in the folds and creases of the body. The parts of the body that are most commonly affected by such darkened skin are the armpits, the groin and the neck. People who suffer from this condition are bound to be concerned about the appearance of their skin, which is why they try out different acanthosis nigricans treatment options. Health experts claim that there is no direct treatment for acanthosis nigricans, but several measures can be taken to lighten the skin. Moreover, this condition can be controlled, by addressing the underlying causes. Therefore, it is very important to identify what the possible causes of acanthosis nigricans will be.


In order to adopt the appropriate acanthosis nigricans treatment, it is important to identify the exact acanthosis nigricans causes. Studies indicate that acanthosis nigricans is associated with those conditions, which raise the levels of insulin in the blood. Therefore, the most common acanthosis nigricans causes are diabetes and obesity. However, there could be other factors that lead to this condition too, such as:

  • The use of certain medicines, like oral contraceptives and large doses of niacin
  • The presence of hormonal problems, tumors or endocrine disorders
  • Genetic factors, where this condition id inherited.
  • Certain types of cancer


There is only one symptom of acanthosis nigricans in children and adults. This single symptom is the change in the color of the skin, as certain areas turn, thicker, darker and take on a velvety texture. In addition to the other common areas, at times, the upper lips, the soles of the feet and the palms of the hand could also get affected. This change in the color and texture of the skin is a very slow process which takes several months and at times years too. In some rare instances, the areas which have been affected may feel quite itchy. In case the changes in the color and texture of the skin are sudden and rapid, then it is important to seek immediate medical attention.


In order to confirm the presence of this condition, it is important for a patient to go through a skin exam. A small sample of skin may be removed and sent to a lab, for a biopsy. However, additional test may be required, to identify the exact causes of this condition. These tests include x rays and blood tests.


While there is no specific form of acanthosis nigricans treatment, it is possible to manage this condition. Health experts state that losing excess weight and cutting down on the intake of starch and sugar can help treat this condition to a great extent. Options used to lighten the skin that has turned dark in color are also an integral part of acanthosis nigricans treatment and management. Given below are some of the most effective ways to get rid of acanthosis nigricans darkened skin:

  • Oral medication, like isotretinoin
  • Prescription creams and lotions that need to be applied topically on the affected area
  • Fish oil supplements
  • Laser therapy or dermabrasion to reduce the thickness in the affected areas

In case this condition leads to thick lesions on the skin, it could also result in bad body odor. This problem can be controlled with the help of antibacterial soaps or other topical antibiotics.

Acanthosis nigricans can be quite a serious problem, if it is not checked and controlled in time. Therefore, all patients should consult a doctor, as soon as they notice any symptoms of this condition.