Unwanted Darker Areas on the Body

Hey Dr, I hope you are doing well and please answer my questions doc I really need help. Firstly I am a 15-year-old girl, as I come from a Muslim family, I always had to wear covered clothes from childhood and Bangladesh is really polluted and I started noticing that I had a dark neck (whole neck), armpits, folds of my stomach, knee, elbow, finger knuckles, ankles and especially super dark inner thighs and vagina. It started to concern me a lot and I started watching home remedies from YT but neither of them worked a single bit. 🙁 Then after some time, I started having stretch marks on my thighs, hips, shoulder, and even on the surface of the vagina. (I don’t know what that is called) I can’t wear open neck clothes for the darkness I really feel insecure. I always wear a high neck or a scarf around my neck; I feel embarrassed and to mention one thing before I noticed the dark body parts I used to take shower with like only water I felt lazy but now I really scrub my self but this darkness just don’t want to go. I don’t know what to do. If it helps you my height is 5’6 and weight is around 85 kg/190 pounds. Help me please. I cant be around with these dark body parts anymore. I hate my body and do stretch marks go away or stay forever? My skin color is brown.

I’m so happy that you wrote me.  Did you know that I lived in Dhaka, Bangladesh once for 2 months and volunteered at the cholera hospital there? It was quite a few years ago though. 🙂  I loved being there, especially the people in Bangladesh.

First though …let’s talk about what you said about hating your body.  I think many young women (and some older women) from time to time have these thoughts.  So first, you’re normal in having some of these thoughts. But …I do think we women have to fight against the ways our cultures give us these images of our bodies in advertising that don’t really fit most of us. Try if you can, to find a way to love your body, even as you’re working on improving certain things.

You’re describing darker areas your skin fold areas including your neck. Do you have access to a doctor there?  If you do, please see her because you are very likely describing a medical condition and you will need her help.  First, there are several hormone related conditions that can cause this. For example, there is a condition called acanthosis nigricans that can cause darkening and a texture change that is related to blood sugar problems and weight.

What to do while you are waiting to see the doctor:

  • Just wash gently with a gentle soap, dry and put some lotion or natural oil on your skin
  • Don’t scrub!  It actually makes this problem worse because the skin perceives an injury and makes more pigment.
  • If you haven’t been tested for diabetes or prediabetes, please get tested and talk to the doctor about your skin.
  • Have your periods started and are they regular?  If not, please mention that to your doctor also.
  • Make sure clothing isn’t too tight. Again, rubbing on the areas tends to make pigment worse.
  • Stretch marks can just be a normal part of growing, or can be a sign of a problem.  Please see a doctor/nurse.

I hope this helps and warm wishes to you,

Dr. Brandith

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