Dark inner thighs can develop when the skin produces extra pigmentation called melanin. A healthcare provider may refer to this condition as hyperpigmentation.
Anyone may experience dark inner thighs, regardless of their skin tone.
In the following sections, we cover the treatments and home remedies a person with dark inner thighs can try to help reduce the appearance of the dark patches. We also discuss the possible causes and when to see a doctor.
Dark inner thighs themselves are not usually harmful, so they may not necessarily require treatment. However, some people may wish to reduce or eliminate darker areas of skin.
It is always best for a dermatologist to evaluate the cause of a person's dark patches. Unless a person has an accurate diagnosis and can begin appropriate treatment, the dark areas may persist or recur.
There are several potential treatment options a person can try, including home remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) medications and creams, and medical treatments.
The following are some potential methods a person can try to reduce or eliminate the appearance of dark inner thighs.
Colloidal oatmeal and yogurt
Other research has suggested that the microorganisms in yogurt may also promote skin health.
To create an oatmeal and yogurt cream, combine equal parts yogurt and colloidal oatmeal. Then, apply the cream to the affected area and leave for about 15 minutes. Finally, wash and dry the area.
People often use aloe vera to treat chafed skin, as it can help soothe the area.
There is limited research in this area, but some studies suggest that aloe vera may also help reduce dark areas on the skin.
To use, rub aloe vera cream or gel directly onto the affected area of the skin. It is not necessary for a person to rinse off aloe vera after application.
Rub potatoes on the skin
There are many people who believe that rubbing potato slices on the skin will help reduce areas of darkness. However, scientific research to support this claim is limited.
In one old study from 1991, researchers found that an enzyme in potatoes called cathepsin D helped heal the skin of wounded rats when the team applied it externally.
Although it may not be effective, a person can try cutting a potato into slices and rubbing a slice over the affected area for around 10 minutes. After applying the potato slice to the skin, clean and dry the area.
If a person has a potato allergy, they should not try this home remedy.
OTC creams and ointments
There are numerous OTC products — in the form of creams, rubs, and ointments — that may help reduce the appearance of dark skin, including on the inner thighs.
Some newer ingredients to look out for in effective skin-lightening products for dark tones, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, include:
- ellagic acid, a natural substance that occurs in some fruits
- lignin peroxidase, an enzyme that comes from a fungus
- niacinamide, a form of vitamin B-3
- soy, which may be an ingredient in some moisturizers
Prescription or OTC retinoids
Retinoid-based products help regulate skin growth. They may also help with hyperpigmentation.
There are both OTC and prescription-strength retinoids available. If a person does not see any results after using an OTC retinoid, they may wish to discuss prescription-strength products with their healthcare provider.
Retinoids do not offer immediate results, however. It can take several months of use before a person sees any difference in the appearance of dark patches of skin.
Hydroquinone is an ingredient that lightens dark spots on the skin.
According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, doctors may use hydroquinone cream to help treat skin conditions such as hyperpigmentation. They also that note it can take up to 4 weeks to see results.
Hydroquinone may also cause side effects such as dry skin. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology recommend using hydroquinone with a strong sunscreen.
There are several potential causes of dark inner thighs. Many potential causes are benign, and the changes in thigh color will likely resolve once a person has addressed the cause.
Some potential causes of dark inner thighs include:
- dry skin
- too much sun exposure
- chafing from the thighs rubbing together while walking or exercising
- skin pigment conditions, such as acanthosis nigricans
- use of certain medications
Because some of the potential causes of dark inner thighs are conditions that require treatment, a person should speak to a doctor if they are unsure what the cause is.
It may not always be possible to fully prevent the development of dark inner thighs. However, a person can reduce their chance of experiencing this by:
- maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise
- not shaving the area too often
- establishing a good skin care routine
- wearing loose fitting clothing and reducing friction in the area
- wearing bicycle shorts or stockings under dresses
- using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher
- avoiding scratching and rubbing the area
A person may want to talk to their healthcare provider if they have tried several home remedies and OTC solutions and still have dark inner thighs.
A healthcare provider may be able to prescribe additional medication or therapies to help reduce the appearance of dark areas.
Also, if dark inner thighs are the result of an underlying health condition, the healthcare provider will be able to make a diagnosis and offer appropriate treatment.
Dark inner thighs are generally not harmful. If people are concerned, however, there are several home remedies and OTC treatments they can try to reduce the appearance of darker areas of skin.
Before trying any new home remedy, however, it is best to discuss it with a dermatologist.
Because some possible causes of dark inner thighs may require further investigation, a person should speak with their healthcare provider if they are unsure what the cause is.
A person can reduce their chance of developing dark inner thighs by maintaining a healthy weight, reducing chafing, avoiding excess sun exposure, and establishing a good skin care routine.