Acanthosis Nigricans---is NOT daki

Recently I came across an article on facebook teaching people on "how to get rid of daki" (refer pic below)

Now this post was shared by a medical staff, and this was when I realised how few people know what the "DAKI" really is. (For those who do not know what daki is, it is the blackish "playdough" like substance you get on your skin if you don't bathe for a few days). Nasty...I know.

The dark and thick skin on the neck, armpits, groin and thighs are actually called ACANTHOSIS NIGRICANS. There is no easy name for it, so you'll have to try saying it over a few times

The main cause for this darkened skin is usually related to some "endocrine" problem in your body. Endocrine means the regualtion hormones or secretions in your body, and these hormones/secretions are not in the normal range for sufferers. Common diseases linked to Acanthosis Nigricans are Type 2 Diabetes (even in the pre-diabetic stage), Metabolic syndrome (where your waistline is big, sugars high and cholesterol high), and General Obesity (BMI >30).

Why it happens is still a mystery to healthcare professionals, but we DO know that it is highly related to Insulin resistance, where your cells need higher and higher insulin to let sugar in.

Having said that, Acanthosis Nigricans can also be linked to diseases like Cancer (both Malignant and benign), Drug or medicine use, and rarer conditions such as Addison's disease, Cushing's Syndrome, etc. It can also be inherited, but the bottomline is, IT IS NOT DAKI!

I personally have met about 3 children below the age of 10, suffering from obesity showing very clear signs of Acanthosis. One of them I have met in my pharmacy and the father came to buy creams that can lighten the black skin behind her neck. I needed to explain very patiently to him on what is happening, and that he needed to get his daughter to a doctor to screen for any possible related diseases.

Therefore, whenever you see signs of Acanthosis Nigricans on your friends or family, please try to educate them on what it really is, and hopefully they can manage any underlying diseases early on.