Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition that causes a dark discoloration in body folds and creases. It typically affects the armpits, groin, and neck. (Photo from Mayo Clinic)

Have you ever wondered why you have dark discoloration in the folds and creases of your body, like armpits, groin, and neck? And no matter what whitening products you use, nothing happens?

The Mayo Clinic said that it is a skin condition called Acanthosis nigricans. This typically occurs when people are obese or have diabetes.

In a patient care and health information it shared, Mayo Clinic said children who develop this kind of condition are at higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

“Rarely, acanthosis nigricans can be a warning sign of a cancerous tumor in an internal organ, such as the stomach or liver. No specific treatment is available for acanthosis nigricans. Treatment of underlying conditions may restore some of the normal color and texture to affected areas of skin,” it said.

Mayo Clinic said the only sign of Acanthosis nigricans is skin changes. This is when people notice “dark, thickened, velvety skin in body folds and creases”, usually in their armpits, groin, and back of the neck. Changes on the skin normally appear slowly and affected skin may also have an odor or itch.

Accordingly, if you notice signs of Acanthosis nigricans, especially if they do suddenly, you need to seek treatment.

The skin condition, said Mayo Clinic, is associated with:

* Insulin resistance. Most people who have acanthosis nigricans have also become resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that allows your body to process sugar. Insulin resistance is what eventually causes Type 2 Diabetes.

* Hormonal disorders. Acanthosis nigricans often occurs in people who have disorders such as ovarian cysts, underactive thyroids or problems with the adrenal glands.

* Certain drugs and supplements. High-dose niacin, birth control pills, prednisone, and other corticosteroids may cause acanthosis nigricans.

* Cancer. Acanthosis nigricans also sometimes occurs with lymphoma or when a cancerous tumor begins growing in an internal organ, such as the stomach, colon or liver.

Among its risk factors are obesity — the heavier you are, the higher your risk of Acanthosis nigricans.

Race is also a factor, said Mayo Clinic, because studies have shown that in the U.S., it is more common among Native Americans. Family history is also among its risk factors. This means some types of Acanthosis nigricans is hereditary.


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