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Acanthosis Nigricans

Dear Doctor

Can u tell me why is my neck so black against my skin tone.

acanthosis nigricans

Dear Patient

This skin condition is known as Acanthosis Nigricans.

Acanthosis Nigricans Causes

The exact cause of Acanthosis Nigricans is not known. However it has been associated with the following underlying conditions:

  1. Insulin resistance

Most persons with acanthosis nigricans are resistant to insulin and this can lead to type 2 diabetes.

  1. Obesity

Most persons with acanthosis nigricans are overweight or obese. This also makes them at risk for developing insulin resistance.

  1. Hormonal disorders

Acanthosis nigricans often develops in persons with hormonal disorders like Cushing’s syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome.

  1. Cancer

Acanthosis nigricans often develops in persons with cancers of the stomach, colon and liver.

  1. Race

Acanthosis nigricans often develops in Native Americans, Hispanics and persons of African descent.


Acanthosis  Nigricans Treatment

There is no specific treatment for acanthosis nigricans.

Management of this condition usually involves treating the underlying condition since this can help restore normal skin color and texture. This can include:

  1. Losing weight

Losing excess body weight can help persons with acanthosis nigricans who are overweight or obese.

  1. Taking medications

Persons with underlying conditions of the thyroid, ovary and adrenal glands can take medications to treat those conditions.

  1. Surgery

Persons with underlying cancerous tumors are treated by removing the tumors with operations.

Direct measures aimed at improving the color and texture of the skin include using:

  1. Topical medications

Medications applied on the acanthosis nigricans lesions to improve their color and texture include Tri-Luma which contains 4% hydroquinone, 0.05% tretinoin and 0.01% fluocinolone acetonide

The use of this medication should be combined with the daily application of Broad spectrum sunscreens that offer protection from UVA and UVB rays and that have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.

  1. Laser therapy

Lasers like the long pulsed alexandrite laser can be used to reduce the skin’s thickness. Dermabrasion is also used for this purpose.

  1. Antibacterial soaps

These are uses to reduce bad odor.

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