The potentially embarrassing issue of dark marks

The potentially embarrassing issue of dark marks


  • Dark marks on the inside of the elbows and groin area could be a result of skin friction, allergies, irritation, dampness, overly tight clothing, genetics, hormones and stress. Seeking a professional medical diagnosis is, therefore, the best way to find an effective solution.
  • Overweight people with dark marks in the groin area resulting from the legs rubbing together are advised to lose weight through exercise and avoid tightly fitting trousers, jeans and shorts.
  • Laser treatment designed to reduce the appearance of blemishes and dark marks is suitable for those without much free time and who wish to see rapid results. Experienced dermatologists can help patients decide on the best course of action from the range of treatments currently available.

One of the most distressing issues among those who like to show some skin or venture outside in a bikini are the dark lines and blemishes that can appear around areas where the skin is prone to creasing, such as the groin, under the arms, inside the elbows, along the bikini line, neck, bottom, and even vagina. Many of you may have been searching for a solution to this issue without finding a viable option, so I would like to take this opportunity to share a few helpful secrets with you.

What are the causes of dark lines?

  • Friction between skin, such as on both sides of the groin—especially in those who are overweight or stocky—can lead to the skin darkening over time. This is because these areas of skin produce greater amounts of pigment than other parts of the body.
  • Incorrect, overly frequent, or overly forceful removal of hair—particularly under the arms—can also lead to friction, as well as recurring injury, ingrown hairs, and blocked pores, all of which stimulate a response that involves the increased production of pigment that leads to darkening of the skin in that area.
  • Darkening can sometimes worsen due to allergies or irritation associated with the use of skin lotions, perfumes, and make-up; the body responds with greater-than-normal production of pigment.
  • If an area of skin is prone to becoming moist, it can lead to a build-up of bacteria or germs that result in itchiness, papules or spots. Should we accidentally scratch the area that is itching, it can lead to skin inflammation and a darkening of that region, especially in hard-to-reach places.
  • Clothing, such as trousers, that is too tight can rub against the skin, causing dark lines in areas prone to friction.
  • Even though genetics, hormones, stress, and allergies are thought of as internal issues, they can also play a key role in dark lines and blemishes appearing on the skin.
  • Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that may affect the mother’s skin. Some future mothers experience blemishes or a darkening of the skin around the base of the neck, on the insides of the elbows, in the groin area, around the nipples, and under the arms, although this usually goes away once they give birth.
  • Type 2 diabetics may notice dark patches which are a form of skin condition whereby the skin becomes darker and velvety in texture. These patches usually appear on the neck, armpits or groin areas, due to the body’s insulin resistance causing elevated insulin levels that stimulate overproduction of skin cells. This condition, called acanthosis nigricans, is more common among overweight people and type 2 diabetics. However, it may also occur in those suffering with other health issues such as esophageal cancer and some endocrine disorders, as well as in people on certain types of medication including birth control and steroids.

4 ways to reduce dark marks

  • Use alpha hydroxy acids or whitening creams: Our skin usually exfoliates every 28 days but this process can be disrupted by increased friction or the aging process. The use of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) will stimulate the exfoliation of dead skin cells, resulting in their replacement by new skin cells that are more similar to our birth skin color. However, be sure to select AHA products with no more than 15% concentration of the chemical as overexposure to this substance can irritate the skin, leading to burning, inflammation, and permanent darkness. Skin whitening creams, on the other hand, should be chosen based on the presence of ingredients that can reduce the body’s production of melanin, such as thiamidol, 4-butylresorcinol, tranexamic acid, ascorbic acids and their derivatives, vitamin B3, niacinamides, alpha-arbutin, and kojic acid.
  • Avoid overuse of cosmetics containing perfumes or skincare products that have previously caused an allergic reaction or irritation: When an allergic reaction occurs it usually involves irritation in areas of skin prone to friction such as the inside of the elbow. It is recommended that you consult a doctor instead of scratching and picking at the skin which can lead to further irritation and inflammation.
  • Lose weight: Overweight people with dark groin areas due to the legs rubbing together are advised to lose weight through a regular exercise regime and avoid wearing tightly fitting trousers or jeans.
  • Receive laser treatment: Laser treatment aimed at reducing the appearance of blemishes and dark marks is suited to those with little free time but who desire rapid results. Laser treatment should only be carried out by an experienced medical professional.

Pigment laser treatment to reduce dark marks

There is a range of treatments available that can effectively reduce skin pigmentation. However, choosing the most suitable option can be difficult, which is why medical professionals should always be consulted before undergoing treatment. Inaccurate adjustment of the laser’s strength has the potential to darken the affected area of skin. The most common forms of pigment laser treatment currently used are:

  • Gentle MAX Pro: This laser technology was developed in the US. Each device utilizes two types of laser—Nd:YAG (1064/532 nm.) and alexandrite (755 nm.)—to provide effective solutions for a range of skin conditions, such as dark marks, facial wrinkles, slackened skin, blood vessels apparent on the face, and hair removal anywhere on the body, including the underarms. This machine also includes a dynamic cooling device that protects the outer layers of skin from harmful side effects while the lasers work on the deeper layers. The treatment is therefore suited to those with dark marks under the arms because it can offer permanent hair removal in conjunction with effective whitening.
  • Picosecond Laser: This form of treatment relies on Q-Switched Nd:YAG lasers to remove tattoos, hard-to-remove dark marks, deep blemishes, and scarring. It is particularly effective due to its use of the latest technology, with picosecond pulses replacing previously used nanosecond pulses; it can produce ultra-short pulses of just 1 trillionth of a second. These pulses cause the darkened pigments to break up before they are collected and naturally removed from the body. There are no side effects, so patients are able to take advantage of this treatment on as many occasions as necessary. Nevertheless, the results of picosecond laser treatment depend entirely on the individual, making it essential that a doctor be in charge of all decisions regarding the duration and frequency of procedures.

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