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A to Z: Acanthosis Nigricans

May also be called: Acanthosis

What Is Acanthosis Nigricans?

Acanthosis nigricans (ay-can-THO-sis NYG-ruh-cans) is a condition in which thick, dark, and sometimes streaky patches appear on the skin.


This condition is more common in people with high levels of insulin (a hormone) in their blood due to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and other health problems.

Acanthosis nigricans can also be hereditary and may develop in kids and teens who are otherwise healthy.

What Else Should I Know?

Treatment for acanthosis nigricans isn’t usually necessary, but doctors may prescribe creams or lotions. If a child has acanthosis with a medical cause, it’s most important to treat that underlying cause.

Maintaining a healthy weight through physical activity and a balanced diet may also help improve the skin's appearance.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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