Acanthosis nigricans causes skin to discolor and thicken appearing as dark, velvety marks in certain folds of the body such as the armpits, groin, neck or breasts.
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Acanthosis nigricans causes skin to discolor and thicken in certain areas of the body. The disorder appears as dark, velvety marks in folds of the skin, usually around the armpits, breasts, groin and neck. It is most commonly associated with obesity, diabetes and elevated insulin levels. It also forms in those who have disorders related to the pituitary gland, adrenal gland hormones and hypothyroidism. In rare cases, the condition is a sign of a cancerous tumor in the stomach or liver.
In the United States, Native Americans are at a higher risk for acanthosis nigricans, and those with darker skin are more likely to develop it. In addition, certain types of the disorder are hereditary. People who take growth hormone therapy and some cholesterol medications may be at higher risk.