Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery
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The largest dermatology practice in America, Advanced Dermatology provides complete clinical and cosmetic skin care. Immediate appointments available at one of our 180+ locations.

FAQs about Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans is a little-known skin condition, despite being increasingly common. Although no treatment is available, the symptoms may fade when underlying conditions that contribute to it are treated. Here are the answers to questions many people ask their dermatologists about acanthosis nigricans.

What exactly is acanthosis nigricans?

Acanthosis nigricans refers to skin that darkens in the areas of body creases and folds. Typically, it affects the groin, neck, and armpits, but can be seen in other parts of the body where the skin is creased. Generally, it is not a serious condition, but in rare instances, it can be a symptom of a tumor in the liver, stomach, or another internal organ.

What causes it?

There are several underlying conditions that can trigger acanthosis nigricans. The most common condition that triggers it is insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, the body can no longer use the insulin produced by the pancreas to manage blood glucose levels. It is typically a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Hormonal disorders, including hypothyroidism and ovarian cysts, are also linked to acanthosis nigricans. Some medications, and rarely, cancer, can also be triggers. Many people who develop acanthosis nigricans are obese.

Are any treatments available?

Addressing insulin resistance or hormonal imbalances is the most effective way to treat acanthosis nigricans. If your dermatologist thinks the medications you are taking could be the cause, switching to a different medicine may help. If you are concerned about the appearance of acanthosis nigricans, your dermatologist may recommend topical treatments or laser therapy. In some cases, oral acne medicine can also help. Be sure to avoid scrubbing your skin, which could exacerbate your condition.

Could acanthosis nigricans be to blame for your symptoms? Make an appointment with a dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery to find out. We have dermatologists nationwide who provide comprehensive care for clinical and cosmetic dermatology conditions. Call (866) 400-3376 to schedule your consultation.