What is Acanthosis Nigricans?
Acanthosis nigricans is a condition where skin appears thicker and darker. It can be described as having a velvet like feel.
What parts of the body does Acanthosis Nigricans affect?
It is usually found in body folds, such as the back portion and sides of the neck, the underarms, groin, belly button, forehead, and other areas.
What causes Acanthosis Nigricans?
· The most common cause of acanthosis nigricans is insulin resistance, which leads to increased circulating insulin levels. Insulin spillover into the skin results in its abnormal increase in growth.
· Conditions most commonly associated with insulin resistance are Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
· This darkening of the skin may also be seen with certain medications that lead to elevated insulin levels:
1. Glucocorticoids (Steroids)
2. Niacin (Vitamin B3)
4. Oral contraceptives (Birth Control Medication)
5. Protease inhibitors (HIV/AIDS/Hepatitis C Medication)
How is Acanthosis Nigricans diagnosed?
Physicians can usually diagnose acanthosis nigricans by simply looking at a patient’s skin. A skin biopsy may be needed in unusual cases.