Blackened Skin Disease

Blackened skin disease, or acanthosis nigricans, causes the skin to become dark among the folds and creases of the body. Typically the disease is triggered by obesity due to higher insulin levels. However, the disease can also be the result of a developing tumor. Seeing a physician is important if you begin to develop blackening skin.


According to the Mayo Clinic, the onset of skin darkening can be due to type 2 diabetes or obesity. Diabetes can activate your skin cells to disrupt your skin’s coloring. Blackened skin disease is also an inherited disease and is common among people of African-American and Hispanic descents. Hormone medications and contraceptives can trigger the disease in some women. Lymphoma and gastrointestinal cancers also can cause blackened skin disease to develop.


Blackened skin disease is marked by skin changes in the armpits, neck or groin area. The lips, hands and feet may become blackened. The skin can become darkened, thick and velvety in texture. Developing blackened skin disease doesn’t happen overnight. The disease can progress slowly and sometimes take years to fully progress. In rare instances, the affected area may itch.


Usually your dermatologist can conduct a visual exam to determine if you suffer from blackened skin disease. However, if your disease develops and is not the result of diabetes or being overweight, your dermatologist may recommend other tests. These tests can include a biopsy, blood tests and X-rays to rule out the possibility of cancer being the cause of your disease. Some lesions may appear as blackened skin disease and actually be caused by malignancies.


Certain products can help lighten the appearance of your skin. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, treatments such as Retin-A and alpha hydroxyacids may help. Dermabrasion can sometimes help reduce the thickness of the lesions that develop on your skin. Laser therapy can also thin lesions by destroying the uppermost layer of your skin.


Lesions that become overly thick can develop a smell. At times the lesions can crack and become susceptible to infections. Antibacterial soaps can help prevent infections from developing. Topical antibiotics can be prescribed by your physician should an infection develop. If the skin begins to crack, peel or develop drainage, visit your dermatologist.

Blackened skin disease