As Asians, we were told that we’re supposedly lucky for being born with morena skin complexion because of the production of melanin in our skin. Melanin is the dark pigment that is present in our skin and it is also the reason why we look younger than our white counterparts—the Caucasians and Mestizas look older than they actually are. Filipino women would usually get wrinkles a lot later in life and our skin is quite resistant to freckling.
While we were supposed to rejoice over those facts, it is also the main reason behind our dark skin problems: dark elbows, knees, armpits and groin. Yes, we call it the bane to an otherwise flawless complexion. This is common problem for Filipino women. It can also be rather embarrassing, making us self-conscious and at times very insecure that we usually think twice about wearing dresses and sleeveless tops.
What is the main culprit for dark patches?
Dermatologist Anna Wilk says that there are numerous possible causes for dark knees, elbows and groin. She enumerates some of the reasons why you have dark patches.
Yes, it may be in your genes. If this is the case, then sorry to say but the dark spots are there to stay. Although you can use medications and over-the-counter remedies, it may help fade a bit. But once you stop taking the meds, the dark patches will eventually come back.
Acanthosis Nigricans (AN)
Acanthosis Nigricans (AN) is another possible explanation for dark areas. This is a pretty common skin pigmentation disorder. Dark patches of skin with a thick and velvety texture appear in the aforementioned problem part, including skin folds. This condition can be brought about by various medical conditions like obesity, hormonal disorders as well as it could be an early sign of an underlying health problem like diabetes and cancer. If it’s obesity and hormonal imbalance, the dark patches will go away once the root condition is properly addressed like losing weight.
Hypersensitivity reaction or allergies may also result in dark skin pigmentation. The same is true for post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
How do I get rid of them?
There are myriad of ways to get rid of them. There are a lot of over-the-counter bleaching and peeling creams and soaps that are readily available in the market. It’s a matter of finding out which cream is the most effective for you. Psst.ph highly recommends that you consult a dermatologist first before trying out any of these whitening/skin peeling products. Your dermatologist will advise you when it comes to skin care. A dermatologist’s job is to guide you in choosing the best treatment for your particular case/condition. So make sure you pay your derma a visit before trying any form of medication or product to avoid allergies etc. Using the wrong treatment may result in an adverse permanent reaction. Oftentimes, the skin gets damaged because some users are too eager in achieving the results they want.
Here are some safe natural alternatives to whitening creams:
Before taking a bath, rub a slice of lemon in the dark area. Leave for 20-30 minutes. Do this daily and apply moisturizer to soften the skin.
Rub a small amount of coconut oil to the affected area. Do this regularly and you might see the color lightens, improving in time.
Mix baking soda with little water. Apply on the dark area regularly.
Warm some olive oil. Apply it to your knees and elbows and let it stay for 10 minutes. Do this daily until you achieve your desired results.
Aloe Vera Gel
Get fresh Aloe Vera leaves. Break out the fleshy ones to get the gel. Apply this to the dark spots and leave for half an hour.
A word of caution:
While it is true that the above mentioned homemade treatments may have worked for others—the same effect may not necessarily work for you. Again, it is still best for you to see and consult your dermatologist to avoid further skin damage.
More Tips to Avoid Dark Problem Areas:
Avoid getting your knees and elbows in contact with surfaces too much if you want them fairer.
Scrubbing your knees, elbows, armpits and groin too much will not make them whiter. In fact, it works otherwise. The skin will get darker and thicker because that is part of its natural protection.
Apply the right types and formulation of skin whiteners (if you ever decide to use one) under the supervision of a dermatologist.
Be wise in choosing the skin clinics. Make sure they are legit doctors/dermatologists and not plain aestheticians.