Acanthosis nigricans treatment

Acanthosis Nigricans Treatment and Symptoms

This name refers to a fairly common skin pigmentation disorder that causes hyperkeratosis (thickened skin) and hyperpigmentation (dark skin) giving the skin a dark (brown, brown) appearance and accompanied by dryness and roughness of the skin. affected. Sometimes these areas are itchy and have a bad smell.

where is it located

It usually appears in regions of the body with folds and wrinkles , the most frequent being the armpits, groin, and neck; although it can also appear on other parts of the body, such as the face, chest, elbows, knees and knuckles. In young people, the most affected area is usually the neck.


They generally appear gradually, the skin in these areas changes color very slowly over months or years and does not cause any symptoms other than skin changes; if it appears suddenly and quickly it may be a sign of cancer.

Who does it affect?

It is more common in dark-skinned people . This disorder can affect healthy people or it can also be associated with certain pathologies. More than a disease in itself, we can consider it a warning sign of a benign or, less frequently, a malignant systemic disorder, which allows us to classify it in two different ways. The most common type is found in conditions associated with high insulin levels, such as diabetes and obesity.

The benign forms can be:

  • Hereditary (familial) type.
  • Associated with endocrine, immune or genetic processes. The most common form is due to excess insulin in the blood, such as diabetes and obesity.
  • Various drugs can also induce benign forms of it (oral contraceptives, corticosteroids, supplements that are given in gyms to improve muscle, etc.)

The malignant forms associated with tumors are the less frequent form.


It is easy to diagnose, simply a visualization of the area by an experienced dermatologist is enough. On very rare occasions, a biopsy of the area may be necessary. The important thing is to rule out the cause, so it will be necessary to carry out glycemia studies and it is very important that we inform the dermatologist of any drug we take or non-prescription treatment such as vitamin supplements, supplements, etc. despite the fact that it may seem to us that they are totally natural and harmless. The reason is that in many cases these products can be the cause and only by suspending them will the problem be eliminated in a few months.


There is no specific treatment for acanthosis nigricans, but it should be aimed at treating the underlying cause, controlling weight, regulating sugar levels, discontinuing or changing the medication in case it is associated with it, etc. .

By itself it is a disease that does not cause complications, but it can be caused by the underlying cause that is causing the disorder, such as diabetes that has not yet been diagnosed or controlled.

It is not a contagious disease nor is it a dangerous or risky condition by itself, it is rather an aesthetic issue since the discomfort it causes is mostly non-existent or scarce.

Some treatments can improve the appearance of acanthosis nigricans, but not cure it, such as antibacterial soaps, moisturizing creams that help lighten the skin, oral acne medications, lasers, nigrifix treatment creams etc.

On its own it should not be a cause for concern, although it is important to visit your doctor or dermatologist to determine the underlying cause.

What you should know…

  • This is a fairly common skin pigmentation disorder that causes hyperkeratosis (thickened skin) and hyperpigmentation (dark skin).
  • It is easy to diagnose, simply a visualization of the area by an experienced dermatologist is enough.
  • There is no specific treatment, but it must be aimed at treating the underlying cause, such as weight control, regulating sugar levels, discontinuing or changing the medication in case it is associated with it, etc.
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