This is a very distressing & common condition in dark-skinned people and leads to dark, velvety patches in arm pits ,groin, neck, elbows, knees, knuckles or skin folds. These dark patches often have skin tags with them.

The most common reasons are Obesity (being overweight), Diabetes or heredity. This familial or hereditary type presents at birth or early childhood.

The top layer of skin, namely, the epidermis begins to rapidly reproduce.

However, these cells die, but unfortunately stick together and are not shed from the surface. These clumps of dead cells contain mainly keratin, which is a protein that forms your hair & nails.

Unfortunately in dark-skinned people these new skin cells have more melanin. This increase in melanin, produces a patch of skin that is darker than the surrounding skin. Most people just see darkening and thickening of skin but itching may sometimes occur.

Firstly, to manage this condition is weight loss.

This will help in reducing the new skin cell formation.

A strict programme of diet & exercise has to be followed.

Secondly, it is important that the thick layer of keratin, which contains the melanin is removed. This can be done using alpha hydroxyl acids such as Glycolic acid& lactic acid.

Salicylic acid, which is a beta hydroxyl acid is also useful.

Mandelic acid can also be used.

Retinoids are of limited benefit because they do not dissolve the keratin but accelerate the production of new epidermal cells.

Thirdly, the melanin production has to be stopped. This requires ingredients such as Arbutin, Kojic acid, Ascorbic acid, Dioic acid, Azelaic acid & Phytic acid.

Two products, which are particularly suitable for the management of this condition, are:

1) Lightenex® Gold serum. This is a strongly acidic emulsion containing Glycolic acid, Lactic acid & salicylic acid that dissolves the thick keratin.

In addition this serum contains high strength Kojic acid, Arbutin, Ascorbic acid, Dioic acid, Azelaic acid & Phytic acid that prevent melanin formation. This serum should be massaged into clean, dry skin every night two hours before bedtime.

2) Lightenex® Body Lotion. This is a intensely moisturizing day time body lotion containing very high strength Kojic acid & Arbutin but without any acid. It allows whitening and use in sensitive parts of the body such as the armpits & groins. It should be applied twice daily to the dark patches of skin.

*Results may vary in every individual.*

Shashi Gossain
Skin care expert