Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition in which brown or black velvet-like markings appear under the arms, in the groin, or on the back of the neck. Any skin fold can be affected, including the lower lip and chin.
Causes of acanthosis nigricans may include:
- High insulin levels in people who are obese
- A family history of acanthosis nigricans
- A cancerous tumor—rare
Acanthosis nigricans is more common in people of African-American decent. Other factors that may increase your chance of acanthosis nigricans include:
Symptoms include velvety-looking, dark areas anywhere on the skin.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Skin biopsy if your doctor is concerned about skin cancer
Your bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with:
- Endoscopy and colonoscopy—might be considered to screen for a rare malignancy associated with acanthosis nigricans if you are not obese or do not have diabetes
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Treatment often involves treating the underlying cause. For example, if acanthosis nigricans is due to obesity, weight loss can improve the skin condition.
Topical and oral retinoids and other medications have been reported to improve appearance in some cases. They help remove excess layers of skin.
To reduce your chances of acanthosis nigricans:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a balanced diet
- Get regular exercise most days of the week
- Talk to your doctor about your blood sugar levels
- James Cornell, MD
- Reviewed: 09/2015
- Updated: 09/02/2015
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Allegiance Health or performed by Allegiance Health physicians.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.