Have you noticed dark, thick, velvety skin in body folds and creases — typically in your armpits, groin and neck? Sometimes the lips, palms or soles of the feet are affected as well. The skin changes appear slowly, sometimes over months or years.
Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition that can affect otherwise healthy people, or it can be related to medical problems, most likely diabetes. Excessive insulin in your bloodstream can cause skin cells to multiply abnormally fast, leading to a buildup of tissue and melanin. This makes the skin look darker and feel thicker.
The disease can also arise from endocrine disorders resulting from obesity. Many obese people suffer from diabetes and endocrine disorders which can trigger Acanthosis Nigricans.
Some cases are genetically inherited. The condition is most commonly seen among people of African descent, in part because it is easier to see in darker skin.
With acanthosis nigricans, you may naturally be concerned about the appearance of your skin. Some steps may help lighten the affected areas of your skin. There’s no specific treatment for this condition except by treating underlying conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.
Some drugs, particularly hormones such as human growth hormone or oral contraceptives can also cause this condition.
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If you have any further questions feel free to contact Houston OBGYN Dr. Lisa Otey for more information or an appointment.
If you are interested in similar topics, check out our Women’s Health Blog.