Having big black patches in your underarms? In the groin area? Back of neck? Hell, every other skin fold? Wondering what is it? Well, the game is not so big. It may be just ACANTHOSIS NIGRICANS
What is ACANTHOSIS NOGRICANS?
It is a skin disorder that makes the skin darker and thicker more commonly in skin folds around neck, groin, and armpits. Other symptoms include itching and a peculiar odor. Tracing back it’s history, it’s mainly linked to obesity and diabetes. And the treatment? It’s easy– TREAT THE CAUSE!
Now let’s dig in a bit deeper.
Symptomatology of Acanthosis nigricans
Hyperpigmentation of skin
certain areas of skin change their color and become darker ranging from grey, brown to black
The skin becomes thicker and acquires a velvety appearance. Eventually, the skin lines would become deeper and wart-like growths can be easily seen.
Some other symptoms may include dryness of skin, roughness, itching, and an unusual odor. Sometimes in certain cancers, this may become malignant and the symptoms are more severe and extensive. Sometimes these changes are confined to one side of the body and they are then called unilateral Acanthosis nigricans. These changes are typically slow but may be present since birth. But they are more prevalent in childhood or adulthood. Changes to the skin typically develop slowly.
Parts of the body involved
As mentioned earlier mostly affected parts are anus, armpits, genitals, groin and back and sides of the neck. But sometimes it can also involve back of the knees, front of the elbows, knuckles, lips, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, stomach and under the breasts.
Now let’s talk about the cause of disease
Cause of Acanthosis Nigricans
Well, actually it is not a disease but is a symptom of an underlying cause. The skin changes occur when skin cells start reproducing very quickly.
Some common causes can be insulin resistance and obesity which can lead to type 2 diabetes mellitus. People with hormonal imbalances like Addison’s disease, PCOS or hypothyroidism can also develop the issue. This condition also has an association with family history. Medications like oral contraceptives, corticosteroids or high doses of niacin can also lead to the condition. Some growth supplements can also lead to the same. Going over to the end, malignant conditions like adenocarcinomas and lymphomas can cause the same.
People who are obese or have a hormonal disorder may have a higher risk of acanthosis nigricans.
High-risk groups are obesity, African, Carribean, Hispanic or Native American descent, prior genetic history and people with hormonal errors.
Treatment and home remedies
As I already explained, the best treatment is “treatment of the underlying cause”. Once it’s done, the skin changes are usually corrected. Losing weight can improve skin texture. Managing your diabetes and hormonal imbalances can also be a cure. Now sometimes people resort to cosmetic procedures like laser treatment, retinol compounds, skin lightening creams, antibacterial soaps, antibiotics, oral medications, etc. Now, these things won’t treat the condition but may improve skin appearance until the treatment shows affect.
I would highly recommend that you see a doctor as they can diagnose the condition on merely seeing the patient and sometimes the underlying condition might be grave. So it’s better to go and have a visit for your safety.