Everyone has that one chief skin concern they wish would just bugger off. For some, it's pigmentation. For others, it's acne. For others still, it's eczema.
We know you're familiar with them, because these guys are popular kids on the skincare block. We tend to talk about them a LOT because they're super common, annoying and everyone wants to know how to get rid of them. (So, yeah wish they'd all stop bragging.)
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But there are some other common skin conditions out there that don't get nearly enough airtime.
We're talking about the skin things that seem to fall into this ~mysterious~ kinda category - which is just super unhelpful for anyone that suffers with them.
Darkened underarms is one of those things.
While it might not sound like anything major, darkened underarms is actually a really common skin condition that has a proper name and everything. It's called acanthosis nigricans (AN).
Just for the record - no one has perfect skin. Listen to this episode of You Beauty, where Angie Kent gets real about skin issues. Post continues.
Studies show that it affects more than 10,000 people per year in Australia and the prevalence varies according to age, race and body weight. So if you've got it - you're not alone!
While it's a fairly harmless condition for the most-part, AN can offer a real swift kick to people's self-confidence. Especially come summer.
So, we've asked dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald from Complete Skin Specialists to tell us a bit about AN, and what options are available for those who want to look at treatment.
So, what causes dark underarms?
AN is characterised by the darkening of skin, which may be due to pigment cells multiplying way faster than normal. While it's not a painful skin condition, thickened skin on your underarms can be annoying to deal with.
Dr McDonald said, "The exact cause of acanthosis nigricans is not completely understood, but it is considered to be a sign of underlying disorders rather than a skin problem in itself."
That sounds... not good. What does this mean?
Well, for starters, Dr McDonald said people who are overweight are more likely to notice dark skin in their underarms and other areas of their body - such as their groin and neck. And apparently it could flag a major health concern.