What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
How to Get Rid of Dark Skin Under Arms & Between Thighs
Dark skin under the arms and on the thighs is a symptom of a condition called acanthosis nigricans 12. The groin and neck are other areas typically affected, with the dark skin tending to appear in and around creases and folds of skin, explains MayoClinic.com. Dark skin is generally the only symptom associated with acanthosis nigricans, though it does in rare instances present with some itching 12. Uncontrolled, the discoloration will slowly spread over the course of months or years.
See your doctor for a medical workup if you aren't overweight and/or don't have diabetes or a condition causing insulin resistance, advises the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, or AOCD. Most cases of acanthosis stem from these conditions. In other cases, malignancy needs to be ruled out. While it is rare, dark skin can by symptomatic of cancer, usually in the stomach, according to AOCD. It may also result from hormonal imbalances associated with disorders such as endocrine problems, states MayoClinic.com.
Review the listed side effects of any medication you take. In some instances, darkened skin is a known effect, and discontinuing use is the only way to get rid of the discoloration, points out the New Zealand Dermatological Society. Acanthosis nigricans is most often associated with niacin, corticosteroids, insulin, nicotinic acid, oral contraceptives and other hormone treatments 12.
Cut back on starch and sugar consumption and follow your doctor's instructions for managing diabetes or other insulin-related condition. High starch and sugar consumption can trigger insulin resistance, a leading cause of acanthosis nigricans, explains AOCD 12.
Lose weight, as being overweight is the other significant factor besides insulin resistance that causes darkened skin on the underarms, thighs and elsewhere. Consult with your doctor about a safe and healthy plan that includes better dietary practices and incorporates more physical activity into your schedule. Remember to always begin with a light exercise regimen and slowly build up to longer, more strenuous workouts.
Talk to your doctor about supplements or medications that may help diminish your discoloration while the underlying causes are addressed. Fish oil supplements and oral isotretinoin, a vitamin A-related retinoid prescription, may help, according to MayoClinic.com. Topical skin lighteners may be useful, too. Hydroquinone creams bleach the skin, and are available over the counter or in higher concentrations by prescription. Other effective topical skin lightening ingredients include kojic acid, tretinoin, azelaic acid and glycolic acid, notes DermaDoctor.com 3. Topical treatments made with salicylic acid, urea or lactic acid may also help, says AOCD.
Consult with a dermatologist about cosmetic procedures that remedy skin discoloration. Dermabrasion, a procedure using a rotating blade or brush to abrade away discolored skin, or laser skin resurfacing are possibilities.
It may also result from hormonal imbalances associated with disorders such as endocrine problems, states MayoClinic.com. In some instances, darkened skin is a known effect, and discontinuing use is the only way to get rid of the discoloration, points out the New Zealand Dermatological Society. The groin and neck are other areas typically affected, with the dark skin tending to appear in and around creases and folds of skin, explains MayoClinic.com.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images