Acanthosis nigricans is a type of skin disorder that makes the skin poorly defined besides leaving brown to black and velvety marks on it. The skin on the neck, under the arms, groin, and umbilicus are most vulnerable to this condition.
This condition may be the result of elevation of the insulin levels. The insulin receptors in the skin grow abnormally with their activation through the raised levels of insulin. This skin problem can be improved through reduction of circulating insulin with proper dieting or medication.
A person affected by acanthosis nigricans can be found to have dark, thick and velvety skin mostly on the neck, armpits and groin. Acanthosis nigricans can sometimes affect lips, palms and even the soles of the feet. The skin changes occur gradually. In some cases acanthosis nigricans takes several months and even years to change the condition of the skin.
Diabetics are frequently found to be affected by acanthosis nigricans. People of African descent are most commonly found to be affected by it. Though condition of acanthosis nigricans is mostly associated with obesity or endocrine (glandular) disorder, it can affect person at any age and healthy persons.
There's no specific treatment for acanthosis nigricans. However, treating any underlying conditions may cause the skin changes to fade, such as:
. The most efficient treatment is acquired through weight loss and exercise.
. Making dietary changes, such as cutting back on starches and sugars. Eating a healthy diet can help decrease circulating insulin and can cause improvement, and occasionally resolution, of the skin difficulty.
. Over-the-counter creams containing vitamin A derivatives, urea, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids or lactic acid may help speed up skin lightening.
. Dietary supplementation with fish oil containing omega 3 fatty acids have been reported to be beneficial.
. Flax seed oil supplement should help. Take two in the early morning and two in the late afternoon.
. Prescription bleaching creams, such as hydroquinone, are generally more effective than over-the-counter products, but these may still take years to return your skin to its normal color.
. Both dermabrasion and laser therapy can reduce the thickness of areas affected by acanthosis nigricans and improve the appearance of dark underarms.
In case of doubt always be on the safer side and consult your dermatologist or physician.