How Does PCOS Affect Your Appearance?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

Isn't discoloration of the skin a symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

Doctor's response

Discoloration of the skin is not a symptom of PCOS, per se.  However, women with PCO who develop insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) can develop acanthosis nigricans. This is a darkening of the skin that look like black or purplish velvet texture in the underarm and collar areas.


Any skin discoloration should be evaluated by a physician. If acanthosis nigricans is found, a search is usually made for diabetes or early evidence of insulin resistance.

Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.