Acanthosis nigricans may be a condition characterized by abnormal thickening and darkening of the skin, especially in body creases. It is most ordinarily related to obesity or polycystic ovarian disease in women, though keratosis nigricans can occasionally be found in people that have more serious underlying health problems or who are taking certain medications. Treatment of the underlying medical condition usually resolves the skin lesions.
Who's at risk?
Acanthosis nigricans can affect individuals of any age, including children and people of any ethnic background. However, it is more common in adults and in people with darker skin. Males and females are affected equally.
Groups of people who commonly develop acanthosis nigricans:
Ø Overweight or obese persons
Ø People with endocrine (glandular) abnormalities
Ø Persons taking certain medications (for example, oral contraceptives, niacinamide, corticosteroids)
Ø Kidney transplant patients
Ø People with internal malignancy, especially stomach cancer (very rare cause of acanthosis nigricans)
Signs and Symptoms
The most common locations for acanthosis nigricans include:
Ø Sides and back of the neck
Less commonly, acanthosis nigricans can affect these areas:
Ø Inner thighs
Ø Navel or belly button
Very rarely, keratosis nigricans are often found in these locations:
Ø Nipples and breasts
Ø Inside the mouth
The lesions of keratosis nigricans appear as "velvety" thickenings, and that they can home in color from gray to brown to black. Darker-skinned individuals tend to have darker lesions.
Because most of the people who develop keratosis nigricans are overweight, their skin lesions can improve dramatically and even resolve with weight loss. Other underlying medical conditions should be treated also .
Other treatments that might help include:
Ø Weight loss by changing dietary and exercise habits.
Ø Over-the-counter preparations containing alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid or lactic acid.
Ø Over-the-counter lotions containing salicylic acid.
Ø Over-the-counter creams containing urea.
Ø Over-the-counter cortisone cream (if the areas are itchy).
When to Seek Medical Care
If you notice thickening and darkening of the skin folds, it's probably an honest idea to ascertain your medical care provider. If the keratosis nigricans is thanks to obesity, then you'll have medical assistance developing healthy strategies to achieve your weight goals.
The sudden development of widespread keratosis nigricans (involving the skin folds also because the palms of the hands, the lips, and other, less typical areas) should prompt immediate medical attention. The doctor could also be ready to diagnose and treat a more serious underlying medical condition that's causing the keratosis Nigerians.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
The doctor will definitely attempt to establish the underlying explanation for the keratosis nigricans . If it's thanks to obesity, then assistance with weight loss could also be so as . If obesity isn't an element , the physician may attempt to determine an underlying cause by ordering blood work, X-rays, or other diagnostic tests.
Once the underlying medical condition has been established and is being treated, your physician may recommend a topical cream or lotion containing the following:
Ø Prescription-strength alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid)
Ø Prescription-strength urea
Ø A retinoid such as tretinoin, tazarotene, or adapalene
For more severe, stubborn keratosis nigricans
Ø Dietary fish oils
Ø Isotretinoin, a very strong medication with many potential side effect.
Usually used in the treatment of severe, scarring acne
Not usually covered by insurance, some procedures to treat keratosis nigricans include:
Ø Dermabrasion, a mechanical process of controlled, surgical scraping of the skin
Ø Lasers that thin the skin by destroying the uppermost layers
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