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Friday, February 04, 2011

Hyperpigmentation and Acanthosis Nigricans

When I was a teenager, the skin on my neck began to darken. My mother accused me of not doing a good job cleaning my neck. I would insist that I was washing my neck. I would stand in front of the mirror with a soapy washcloth and scrub my neck until it turned red. It didn’t do any good.

What I didn’t know and what my mother didn’t know was that I had acanthosis nigricans as a result of the polycystic ovary syndrome with insulin resistance. I didn't know I had PCOS either. Acanthosis is commonly seen in people who are insulin impaired and/or diabetic (type II).

I started showing the signs of PCOS in my teen years. I started to gain weight, had horrible periods, starting getting hairs on my chin and my skin was changing. I was getting these dark, velvety, thick patches on my neck (ring around the neck, LOL), underarms, between my thighs and under my breasts. On top of all of that, I had acne, so I was not a happy camper.

Over the years, the dark patches have darkened and spread. Now it is on my cheeks, the corners of my mouth, my ears (around the earring holes). Thank goodness the acne is gone, but now it has been replaced by seborrheic dermatitis. Oh joy.
Needless to say, I don’t like leaving the house without makeup. Not that I am vain, I just don’t have the luxury of having good skin. Fade creams are a waste of money. According to my dermatologist and my research, only weight loss will lighten it. Well that should be easy to take care of. Yeah, right.

I have included a few photos below. The first one shows the scales on my earlobe from the seborrheic dermatitis and some dark patches. The second one shows my cheek and the corner of my mouth -- and a little facial hair. Time to schedule another laser hair removal appointment. Let me check my wallet!

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