Acanthosis nigricans (ak-an-THOE-sis NIE-grih-kuns) is a skin condition characterized by areas of dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases. The affected skin can become thickened and may smell bad. Most often, acanthosis nigricans affects your armpits, groin and neck.
These skin changes typically occur in people who are obese or have diabetes. Children who develop the condition are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. More rarely, acanthosis nigricans can be a warning sign of a cancerous tumor in an internal organ, such as the stomach or liver.
Acanthosis nigricans is most common in Native Americans, blacks and Hispanics. There's no specific treatment for acanthosis nigricans. Treatment of underlying conditions may restore some of the normal color and texture to affected areas of skin.
Jun. 08, 2012
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 29, 2012.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Metabolic and inherited diseases affecting the skin. http://www.uptodate.com/index.html. Accessed March 29, 2012.
- Rose PT. Pigmentary disorders. Medical Clinics of North America. 2009;93:1225.
- Owen C. Cutaneous manifestations of internal malignancy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 30, 2012.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.