What Is Acanthosis Nigricans?

Acanthosis nigricans is one of those skin conditions that can make the skin in certain areas of the body look extremely dark and texturized. It is characterized by the presence of hyperpigmented skin in the body’s natural folds such as the neck, underarms, inside the elbow, behind the knees, navel, groin, etc.

What Causes Acanthosis Nigricans?

 Acanthosis Nigricans causes are not defined 100%, but the following influence the overproduction of skin cells and melanin leading to the acanthosis nigricans skin patches – 

  • Insulin Resistance 
  • Hormonal Imbalance  
  • Medications   
  • Cancer

What Are The Signs And Symptoms?

Acanthosis nigricans on the neck, underarms, and other parts of the body has distinct features making this skin condition fairly easy to recognize. Acanthosis nigricans symptoms are as follows – 

  • Dark brown to black  pigmented skin 
  • Thick, velvety texture 
  • Presence of skin tags

Types Of Acanthosis Nigricans

Depending on the determining factors, acanthosis nigricans is divided into the following types –

  • Obesity-Related Acanthosis Nigricans 
  • Syndromic Acanthosis  Nigricans – When it is related to a syndrome such as PCOS.
  • Acral Acanthosis Nigricans 
  • Drug-Induced Acanthosis Nigricans 
  • Hereditary Benign Acanthosis  Nigricans 
  • Malignant Acanthosis  Nigricans
  • Mixed Type Acanthosis  Nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans Treatments

The cosmetic therapies for acanthosis nigricans treatment include the following –

Topical Skin Lighteners – These include topical creams and ointments such as Retin -A (retinoids)that help to slow down the skin cells’ reproduction process and make the skin thinner and lighter as well.

Chemical Peels – These may also be recommended that use ingredients such as salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid(TCA), and Nomelan fenol to remove the darkened skin layers by the process of chemical exfoliation. Depending on the type of peel used, the ingredients can help tackle either hyperkeratosis or hyperpigmentation or both.

Laser Therapy – Similar to the chemical peels’ method of exfoliation, specific lasers can be used to remove the dark, thick, and velvety skin. Once the skin heals after a laser treatment, the new skin that rises to the surface is much softer, smoother, and lighter. This treatment provides highly noticeable acanthosis nigricans before and after results.

Dermabrasion– This acanthosis nigricans cure involves removing the top layers of the skin using a rotating tip and a suction pump.The effect of this treatment is similar to chemical peels. However, the healing time is longer.

How To Get Rid Of Acanthosis Nigricans?

Depending on the underlying cause, the doctor may advise you on different courses for acanthosis nigricans treatment. These medical recommendations may include – 

  • Losing weight 
  • Eating healthy 
  • Medications to bring blood sugar under control 
  • Replacing medications that are triggering acanthosis 
  • Relevant treatment for hormonal issues