About acanthotic nevus

What is acanthotic nevus?

Seborrheic Keratosis is a skin disorder usually characterized by discolored lesions that appear to be "stuck on" the skin surface. Warts may appear and skin is often oily or greasy. These skin lesions are sometimes mistaken for cancerous growths and tend to appear predominately during middle age. Itching, irritation, inflammations or unsightliness of lesions may require surgical removal of affected skin areas.

What are the symptoms for acanthotic nevus?

The main sign of acanthosis nigricans is dark, thick, velvety skin in body folds and creases. It often appears in the armpits, groin and back of the neck. It develops slowly. The affected skin might be itchy, have an odor and develop skin tags.

Consult your health care provider if you notice changes in your skin — especially if the changes are sudden. You may have an underlying condition that needs treatment.


What are the causes for acanthotic nevus?

Acanthosis nigricans might be related to:

  • Insulin resistance. Most people who have acanthosis nigricans have also become resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that allows the body to process sugar. Insulin resistance is what leads to type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is also related to polycystic ovarian syndrome and might be a factor in why acanthosis nigricans develops.
  • Certain drugs and supplements. High-dose niacin, birth control pills, prednisone and other corticosteroids may cause acanthosis nigricans.
  • Cancer. Some types of cancer cause acanthosis nigricans. These include lymphoma and cancers of the stomach, colon and liver.

What are the treatments for acanthotic nevus?

There's no specific treatment for acanthosis nigricans. Your care provider might suggest treatments to help with pain and odor, such as skin creams, special soaps, medications and laser therapy.

Treating the underlying cause might help. Examples include:

  • Lose weight. If your acanthosis nigricans is caused by obesity, nutritional counseling and losing weight may help.
  • Stop medications. If your condition seems to be related to a medication or supplement that you use, your care provider may suggest that you stop using that substance.
  • Have surgery. If acanthosis nigricans was triggered by a cancerous tumor, surgery to remove the tumor often clears up the skin symptoms.

What are the risk factors for acanthotic nevus?

The risk of acanthosis nigricans is higher in people who have obesity. The risk is also higher in people with a family history of the condition, especially in families where obesity and type 2 diabetes are also common.

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