In young persons, acanthosis nigricans is a visible marker which strongly suggests insulin resistance. Higher than normal insulin levels in the blood stream cause the growth of darkened skin over certain areas of the body. No skin treatment will get rid of AN. Acanthosis nigricans may lighten up and possibly go away by treating the root cause, insulin resistance, but it can take months or years to do so.
Insulin resistance syndromes may be divided into type A (HAIR-AN) and type B syndromes.:978 The majority of cases of acanthosis nigricans are associated with obesity and otherwise idiopathic. This is likely because of insulin resistance, and more likely to occur in darker-skinned persons.:968 This can also be referred to as pseudoacanthosis nigricans.
Malignant acanthosis nigricans refers to acanthosis nigricans occurring as a paraneoplastic syndrome associated with a cancer. Malignant acanthosis nigricans is most commonly associated with gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas, as well as genitourinary cancers such as those of the prostate, breast, and ovary. Other cancers, such as those of the lung, stomach, and lymphoma, are occasionally associated with acanthosis nigricans
People with acanthosis nigricans should be screened for diabetes and, although rare, cancer. Controlling blood glucose levels through exercise and diet often improves symptoms. Topical fade creams (normally used for eliminating age spots) can lighten skin cosmetically in less severe cases. Selenium Sulfide topical 2 percent applied in thin layer to dry skin ten minutes prior to bathing may clear symptoms. Selenium Sulfide applied to dry scalp or skin is an inexpensive well tolerated treatment to balance skin’s biome and works by drying bacteria like tinea versicolor that can coexist with Acanthosis and exacerbate discoloration. Acanthosis nigricans maligna may resolve if the causative tumor is successfully removed