Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition that turns darker, thicker, and has a velvety texture. Acanthosis nigrican usually occurs in the folds of the body, such as the armpits, neck, or groin.
Acanthosis nigricans can be experienced by anyone, but is more common in obese people. Although not contagious and harmless, this condition can be a sign of a more serious health problem.
Causes of Acanthosis Nigricans
The exact cause of acanthosis nigricans is not known. However, this disorder often results from elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance . There are several conditions that are thought to trigger the occurrence of acanthosis nigricans, namely:
Most patients with acanthosis nigricans have insulin resistance. In this condition, insulin can not work effectively so that blood sugar levels rise. As a result, people with acanthosis nigricans can develop type 2 diabetes .
Increasing the amount of insulin also causes skin cells in some parts of the body to change more quickly. This condition makes certain areas of the skin darker than the surrounding skin.
Acanthosis nigricans often occurs in people with diseases that affect hormones in the body, such as Addison's disease, Cushing's syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or hypothyroidism.
A number of autoimmune diseases, such as lupus , Sjögren's syndrome, scleroderma, and Hashimoto's disease , can cause acanthosis nigricans.
Other factors, such as cancer of the stomach, intestines, or liver, can also cause acanthosis nigricans.
Use of drugs and supplements
In addition to certain medical conditions, acanthosis nigricans can also be triggered by the use of drugs and supplements, such as birth control pills, corticosteroids , or high doses of niacin .
Other factors that increase a person's risk of developing acanthosis nigricans are:
- Coming from a dark-skinned race
- Having a family with acanthosis nigricans
- Being overweight or obese
Symptoms of Acanthosis Nigricans
Acanthosis nigricans is characterized by changes in skin color, such as skin that is gray-brown, blackish, or darker than the surrounding skin. In addition, the skin of people with acanthosis nigricans will be drier, rougher, thicker, textured like velvet, and feel itchy and smelly.
Please note, this skin discoloration cannot be removed by simply rubbing or rubbing with soap.
Changes in skin color and texture due to acanthosis nigricans can occur in several areas of the skin, such as the neck, lips, armpits, palms, knuckles, elbows, knees, groin, and soles of the feet.
When to go to the doctor
Check with your doctor if your skin turns gray-brown, blackish, or darker than the surrounding skin. Examination needs to be done immediately if these symptoms appear suddenly, spread quickly, and cause discomfort.
You are also recommended to have regular check-ups with your doctor if you have been diagnosed with acanthosis nigricans. The goal is to monitor the outcome of treatment and the development of the condition causing acanthosis nigricans.
Diagnosis of Acanthosis Nigricans
To diagnose acanthosis nigricans, the doctor will ask questions about the complaints experienced, the patient's and family's medical history, and the history of using drugs and supplements. After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination by looking at changes in skin color and texture.
The doctor will also perform supporting examinations to confirm the diagnosis, including:
- Blood tests , to determine insulin, blood sugar, thyroid, and hormone levels
- Skin biopsy , to detect abnormal tissue so that the cause of acanthosis nigricans can be identified
- Scans, such as a CT scan or MRI, to detect tumors and cancer
Treatment of Acanthosis Nigricans
The goal of treatment for acanthosis nigricans is to treat the underlying cause. The following are some methods that can be used to treat acanthosis nigricans:
Patients with acanthosis nigricans who are overweight are advised to lose weight with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
If acanthosis nigricans is triggered by a tumor or cancer, surgical removal of the tumor or cancer may be an option.
therapy Laser therapy is performed using laser beams. This therapy aims to reduce the thickness of the skin.
doctor will give drugs to improve hormone levels if acanthosis nigricans is caused by hormonal disorders. Doctors will also give blood sugar-lowering drugs to patients who have diabetes.
In addition to undergoing the above treatment, people with acanthosis nigricans are also advised to do the following ways to improve the appearance and condition of the skin:
- Using a skin lightening cream that contains retinol, alpha hydroxy acid, or salicylic acid
- Use an antibiotic cream if you have a secondary skin infection
Complications of Acanthosis Nigricans
Changes in skin color and structure due to acanthosis nigricans can interfere with the self-confidence of the sufferer. Acanthosis nigricans is also often associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
If acanthosis nigricans is caused by certain conditions, such as untreated obesity, the following complications can arise:
- Increased blood sugar
- Sleep apnea
- Metabolic syndrome
- Heart disease
Prevention of Acanthosis Nigricans
The best way to prevent akatonsis nigricans is to avoid the risk factors. These prevention efforts include:
- Limiting foods high in sugar to lower and prevent an increase in blood sugar levels
- Maintain an ideal body weight by eating a healthy and balanced diet and exercising regularly
- Consult a doctor before taking certain medications or supplements