Dark skin on the inner thighs can happen to anyone, regardless of skin tone. This means that the skin on the inner thighs produces more melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. This is called hyperpigmentation. The dark color of the inner thighs can also reach the bikini or groin area.
There are several reasons why the skin on a person’s inner thighs may turn dark. Some of these reasons are:
inflammation that can occur during exercise or walking, causing thin, itchy, and discolored skin.
Hormonal imbalances, especially during lactation, pregnancy, menstruation, or among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
certain medications, such as hormonal birth control pills or certain chemotherapy drugs
friction from tight clothing
acanthosis nigricans, a skin pigmentation disorder
Obese people have a higher risk of dark inner thighs due to skin inflammation. Your risk increases if you have a hormone imbalance, diabetes, or take certain medications.
6 Home treatment
In some cases, home remedies can help lighten dark skin on thighs.
- Coconut oil and lemon juice
Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which helps treat hyperpigmentation. Coconut oil acts as a moisturizer, which will help keep your thighs soft and supple.
To make a coconut oil and lemon juice scrub:
Mix a few tablespoons of coconut oil with the juice of half a lemon.
Rub the mixture on the affected area and massage for 10 minutes or more.
Wash the area clean.
Research shows that some vitamin C formulations are more effective than others, so this method may not work for you.
- Sugar scrub
Sugar helps exfoliate the skin. If the skin is dark due to dead skin, exfoliation can help.
Mix fresh lemon juice, one spoon of sugar and one spoon of honey.
Rub the mixture gently on the inner thighs.
Rinse the area to remove the scrub.
Find pre-made sugar scrubs.
- Oatmeal yogurt scrub
Oatmeal can be used to treat eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions. It also acts as an exfoliant and can be gentler than sugar. Yogurt contains lactic acid, which improves skin health. Yogurt may have other skin benefits when applied topically or orally, but research is limited.
To make your own oatmeal scrub:
Make a paste with equal amounts of oatmeal and plain yogurt.
Apply the paste on the blackened area of the skin and rub gently.
Wash the paste off your feet.
- Baking soda and water paste
Baking soda can lighten and exfoliate your skin, but use it with caution. Because baking soda can do too much damage to your skin. It can irritate your skin and make any skin conditions worse.
If you want to try a baking soda scrub:
Make a paste of equal parts baking soda and water.
Apply thinly to inner thighs as a face and body mask.
Leave it on for at least 15 minutes and then rinse it off.
- Aloe vera
Aloe vera gel or products with aloe vera can soothe irritated and inflamed skin. Aloe vera contains aloin, which has been shown to have skin-lightening properties. Apply the product like a cream and let it absorb into your skin. You don’t need to wash it off after application.
Take aloe vera extract.
- Potato rub
Rubbing potatoes on the skin is a folk remedy for removing dark spots on the skin. The catecholase enzyme in potatoes is believed to be able to lighten the skin. To try this treatment:
Cut the potatoes.
Rub potato slices on the affected area for 15 minutes or more.
Gently wash the area.
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatment
Many OTC treatments claim to lighten the skin. Some are made with natural ingredients that have been shown to reduce pigmentation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, these four ingredients can whiten the skin without the risk of causing an allergic reaction.
The following ingredients are common in OTC treatments and have been shown to lighten skin, but may cause allergic reactions in some.
Talk to your dermatologist before using OTC skin lightening products. They will help you assess the root cause and choose the right product.
Procedures and prescription creams
If home remedies and OTC treatments don’t work, you can talk to your dermatologist about prescription products or medical procedures to help lighten your skin. Below are some additional treatments your doctor may recommend.
A standard dermatological treatment for skin lightening is hydroquinone cream. A dermatologist may prescribe hydroquinone. There are animal studies that suggest hydroquinone is carcinogenic, meaning it causes cancer. It is usually recommended for short-term use. Use as directed by a dermatologist.
Vitamin A-based retinoid products are also available OTC, but your dermatologist may prescribe stronger concentrations. Retinoids, such as retinoids, regulate skin cell growth and can treat skin hyperpigmentation.
You may need to use retinoid products for several months before seeing results. Retinoid products can dry out the skin and make it more sensitive to the sun.
Laser skin lightening is an effective way to reduce pigmentation without scarring. Your dermatologist can discuss whether laser treatment is right for your needs. The healing process can be uncomfortable when treating the inner thighs, especially if your thighs are constantly rubbing.
Avoid injectable skin lighteners
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accredited sources do not recommend injectable skin whitening products. There is not enough evidence to prove that they work and may be associated with health risks.
If you are at high risk of darkening your inner thighs, there are a few things you can do to prevent darkening.
Wear cycling shorts and nylon socks under skirts and dresses to prevent chafing.
Keep inner thighs clean and exfoliate thoroughly to limit dead skin.
Wear loose, breathable clothing to prevent excess sweat and chafing.
Avoid shaving or waxing to avoid skin irritation.
When in the sun, use SPF 30 or higher and avoid excessive sun exposure if possible.
Inner thigh hyperpigmentation is common and not harmful to your health. There are many home remedies, OTC products, and medical treatments that can be used to lighten dark skin. In addition, keeping the area clean, avoiding inflammation, and limiting sun exposure can help reduce the risk of future darkening of the inner thighs.