Last Modified on Apr 19, 2014
Acanthosis Nigricans is a benign dermatologic condition in which velvety grey-brown or black plaques develop on the skin. It generally occurs in areas of skin folding such as the back of the neck, armpits, or groin.
It is associated with a variety of endocrine disorders such as Addison's Disease, Cushing's Disease, and hypothyroidism. Rarely, acanthosis nigricans occurs in the setting of cancer or in association with other uncommon genetic syndromes. The most common cause, however, is insulin-resistant states such as diabetes mellitus. In addition, there is an association with obesity, itself a contributing factor to insulin resistance.
The exact cause of acanthosis nigricans is poorly understood. It is thought that high levels of insulin (as seen in diabetic patients) stimulate growth receptors in certain skin cells, leading to the characteristic hyperpigmented plaques.
Acanthosis nigricans treatment is generally affected by addressing the underlying cause, most commonly obesity or elevated blood sugar. The simplest and most effective means of combating these problems are diet and exercise.
Acanthosis Nigricans Treatment
Decreasing overall caloric intake while maintaining a low-fat, high-fiber diet will help patients lose weight. This, in turn, will help reduce blood sugar levels. The addition of an aerobic exercise program to a balanced diet will help to further aid weight loss and blood sugar reduction.
Occasionally, if patients are unable to achieve satisfactory results with these first-line acanthosis nigricans treatment strategies, medications may be required to assist in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. As weight falls and blood sugar normalizes, the condition generally resolves.
[YEA] 12/09/2010: Brooke from Montgomery, Tx, Usa: "For those with Acanthosis Nigricans, Camphorated Oil will bring better circulation to the splotches on your skin. It might take a long time, maybe 1 to 2 years or longer, but try that. I used it for stretch marks and a scar and they went away in 2 years. I have a silky smooth new skin in those places now!"Replies
01/27/2012: Lou from Tyler, Tx replies: "Read the Warning on E-How Camphorated Oil"
Healthy Diet and Exercise
[YEA] 02/13/2013: Audra from Jefferson City, Mo: "A good, healthy diet and exercise regimen will get rid of acanthosis nigricans. I've had it since I was a teenager, but didn't know what it was until I saw a dermatologist in my twenties. I was at 230 pounds at that time, so I focused on taking care of my body and lost 55 pounds. The acanthosis nigricans disappeared.
So, the solution? Take care of yourself!"
Insulin Resistance Diet
10/09/2011: Justsayin from Toronto, Ontario, Canada: "I'm pretty sure that I now know what I have Acanthosis Nigricans. My neck, cheeks (face), under arms and inner thighs are black and my skin is caramel. Those areas are not only black but like thicker and really I've tried every lotion and nothing works.
After reading that this is caused by insulin resistances which I think I might also have, I almost lost it. There are images online where they've done test with people who have Acanthosis Nigricans and put them on a strict diet and the Acanthosis Nigricans vanished.
I am going to start a 1200 calorie diet and 2hrs of cardio every day. I might start with just one hour of cardio and then one hour of anaerobic exerciser and work my way up to the 2hrs. I am also doing Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred and will post my results in about 30days to see if anything had changed.
I though I was going to have this for ever and to think that I just need to lose weight and cut out my bad foods and this will go away is crazy!
Please people do your research everything is out there =)"Replies
01/27/2012: Lou from Tyler, Tx replies: "I thought I had PCOS and these dark patches were due to vitiligo, but I think it is Acanthosis Nigricans. I've had this forever (20 years?). I have shown it to all of my doctors and NONE of them ever mentioned insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. THIS IS NEGLIGENCE ON THEIR PART!!! A book I bought tonight made the connection. I have been using coconut oil in my baths as well as tea tree oil. It seems to be helping and fading it."
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 04/11/2013: Barbara from Olean, NY: "Quite by accident, we found that mineral spirits is a cosmetic quick fix (wipe gently) for Acanthosis Nigricans, but not a cure. And that the condition will show itself again after 2-3 weeks."
[NAY] 11/17/2009: Leila from Minneapolis, Mn, USA: "Question: I think I have acanthosis nigricans.I'm 28 years old women. I've been overweight since childhood, and i have developed dark underarms, inner thighs and waistline, and a little discoloration in the neck. I haven't seen a doctor yet. I've been exercising for the past few months and have lost approximately 40 pounds since last year. but still the dark patches are still there. I tried peeling products, they did peel, but still, my underarms were still dark. . I would appreciate any advice or suggestion on how to get rid of this ugly dark patches. Please help."Replies
06/19/2010: Meera from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India replies: "Please let me know if you find your way out. I am also suffering from the same and in addition, have a very dark neck. I ve been having this ever since i was a child. I am having pcos and hypothyroid. I am undergoing a treatment for that. I am overweight as i weigh 65 kgs (143 pounds) for my 5' 3 height.Which is 20 pounds higher i guess. Anyways ... this is so embarrassing !!! So helppppppppppppppppppppp !!!"
01/26/2013: Andrea C from Cardiff, Wales: "For Acanthosis Nigricans, try Zinc supplements xxxxxxxx I was told it was a STRESS FUNGUS XXXXXXXXX My 2 year old neice had it as well xxxxxxxxxxx We took ZINC TABLETSS as 'perscribed' on the bottle xxxxxxxxxxx Not CAPSULES TABLETS XXXXXXX She took a childs Zinc tablet xxxxxxxxxx In 2 weeksssss we were cured. Love Andrea c"