Acanthosis Nigricans In Children - All You Need To Know

Image: Shutterstock


Has your child developed dark patches of skin on his body? Are you worried about his condition? If you said yes, chances are, your little one is suffering from acanthosis nigricans. Read our post below and learn all about the medical condition here.

What Are Acanthosis Nigricans?

Acanthosis nigricans is a disease that causes skin to become darker and thicker around certain parts of the body like elbows, neck armpits, knees, knuckles and inner thighs, wherever the skin creases. In some cases, acanthosis nigricans can also occur on legs, arms and face.

The affected part of the skin remains soft and is often referred to as ‘velvety’. Acanthosis nigricans is not contagious. Children, however, may develop a mild itch or odor over the affected areas [1].

[ Read: Vitiligo In Children ]

Causes Of Acanthosis Nigricans In Children:

Acanthosis nigricans is often a result of some underlying medical condition with the patients.

  • Hereditary: In some cases acanthosis nigricans can occur in healthy children due to hereditary reasons.
  • Hormonal problems: Problems with the thyroid or adrenal gland and existence of ovarian cysts can cause acanthosis nigricans.
  • Insulin resistance: Acanthosis nigricans can occur in children who have type II diabetes.
  • Obesity: Obese kids are at a risk of developing acanthosis nigricans and also have an increased risk of developing diabetes. This further raises their risk of the skin disorder.
  • Cancer: Cancer in the gastrointestinal tract or lymphoma can cause acanthosis nigricans.
  • Medicines: Certain medications such as birth control pills and corticosteroids can also lead to acanthosis nigricans [2].

Symptoms Of Acanthosis Nigricans In Children:

The symptoms of acanthosis nigricans are changes in the skin texture. The skin on the affected areas becomes darker, thicker and softer than other body parts. The symptoms may appear over a period or all of a sudden.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Folliculitis In Children ]

Diagnosing Acanthosis Nigricans In Children:

Your child’s doctor may diagnose acanthosis nigricans based on the skin changes. But the doctor may conduct tests to look for the underlying cause of the condition.

  • The usual tests are X-rays, blood tests and endoscopy.
  • In rare cases, doctors may conduct a skin biopsy to determine the exact cause of acanthosis nigricans [3].

Treating Acanthosis Nigricans In Children:

Most often, once the underlying cause of acanthosis nigricans in kids has been treated, the patches fade away.

  • If the cause of acanthosis nigricans in child is obesity, losing excess weight can provide relief from the skin condition. The treatment plan, in this case, would be to maintain a healthy body weight, eat a nutritious diet and lead an active lifestyle.
  • If the cause is a medication, cessation of the dosage can provide relief from acanthosis nigricans in time. Your child’s doctor can recommend other medicines instead of the ones that cause acanthosis nigricans in your child.
  • Treating medical conditions such as diabetes or cancer can eventually provide relief from acanthosis nigricans as well.
  • Topical application of ointments that contain ammonium lactate can help make the affected skin appear well.

[ Read: Hives In Children ]

Managing Acanthosis Nigricans In Children:

The appearance of dark and thick skin over visible body parts may make children feel conscious about their appearance. The condition may severely impact a child’s confidence and self-esteem. Therefore, it is important for you to take measures to ensure that the emotional well-being of your child is not impaired due to the disease.

  • Make sure to only apply skin ointments that the doctor prescribes. Your child may be tempted to try over-the-counter creams or cosmetic products such as bleaches and harsh scrubs to alter the appearance of the darkened skin. But these can aggravate the problem.
  • Help your child learn all about the condition and encourage him to join support groups that help kids with acanthosis nigricans to deal with the emotional aspects of acanthosis nigricans.
  • Teach your child about the significance of a healthy lifestyle.

[ Read: Psoriasis In Children ]

Does your child suffer from acanthosis nigricans? How do help him cope with the emotional trauma of the disease? Please share your tips with us.

Recommended Articles:

Was this information helpful?