Learn About Acanthosis Nigricans

What is the definition of Acanthosis Nigricans?

Acanthosis nigricans (AN) is a skin disorder in which there is darker, thick, velvety skin in body folds and creases.

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What are the alternative names for Acanthosis Nigricans?

AN; Skin pigment disorder - acanthosis nigricans

What are the causes of Acanthosis Nigricans?

AN can affect otherwise healthy people. It can also be related to medical problems, such as:

  • Genetic disorders, including Down syndrome and Alström syndrome
  • Hormone imbalances that occur in diabetes and obesity, often called insulin resistance
  • Cancer, such as cancer of the digestive system, liver, kidney, bladder, or lymphoma
  • Some medicines, including hormones such as human growth hormone or birth control pills
What are the symptoms of Acanthosis Nigricans?

AN usually appears slowly and doesn't cause any symptoms other than skin changes.

Eventually, dark, velvety skin with very visible markings and creases appears in the armpits, groin and neck folds, and over the joints of the fingers and toes.

Sometimes, the lips, palms, soles of the feet, or other areas are affected. These symptoms are more common in people with cancer.

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What are the current treatments for Acanthosis Nigricans?

No treatment is needed, as AN only causes a change in skin color. If the condition is affecting your appearance, using moisturizers containing ammonium lactate, tretinoin, or hydroquinone can help lighten the skin. Your provider may also suggest laser treatment.

It is important to treat any underlying medical problem that may be causing these skin changes. When AN is related to obesity, losing weight often improves the condition.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Acanthosis Nigricans?

AN often disappears if the cause can be found and treated.

When should I contact a medical professional for Acanthosis Nigricans?

Contact your provider if you develop areas of thick, dark, velvety skin.

Acanthosis nigricans - close-up
Acanthosis nigricans on the hand
What are the latest Acanthosis Nigricans Clinical Trials?
Sustainable-psycho-nutritional Intervention Program and Its Effects on Water and Carbon Footprint, Metabolic Biomarkers, and Gut Microbiota in Mexican Population: a m-Health Randomized Clinical Trial

Summary: Mexico is going through a major environmental and nutritional crisis, which is related to unsustainable dietary behaviors. Sustainable diets could solve both problems together. However, in Mexico and the world, an intervention program oriented to promoting sustainable diets has not been designed. This study protocol aims to design a 3-stages, 15 weeks, sustainable-psycho-nutritional digital interv...

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Adaption and Testing of the Quality of Life in Short Stature Youth (QoLISSY) Questionnaire for Parents With Children From 0-4

Summary: The aim of the study is the adaption, implementation and validation of the instrument for the investigation of the short stature specific quality of life (QoLISSY) for children (age 0-4 years) with achondroplasia (ACH), Small for Gestational Age (SGA) and Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) from a parental perspective.

What are the Latest Advances for Acanthosis Nigricans?
The 495th case: young female-hyperandrogenemia-severe insulin resistance.
Long-Term Results of Posterior Vertebral Column Resection for Severe Thoracolumbar Kyphosis with Achondroplastic Patients: A Case Series.
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Correlation between total testosterone levels and insulin resistance in patients with acanthosis nigricans and non-acanthosis nigrican.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: May 31, 2022
Published By: Elika Hoss, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Dinulos JGH. Cutaneous manifestations of internal disease. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 26.

Patterson JW. Miscellaneous conditions. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 20.