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Dark skin

SKIN REPUBLIC - Jennifer Toledo-Tan M.D. (The Freeman) - February 16, 2015 - 12:00am

Dear Dr. Jen,

I have dark skin around my neck, my armpits and my inner thighs. I have tried all kinds of bleach and peels but it doesn't get any better. Scrubbing also hasn't helped. Please help! It is very unsightly and I have had this for two years already.

Cindy

Dear Cindy,

Dark, thickened (almost velvety) skin around the nape of neck, underarms and inner thighs may be a case of acanthosisnigricans. This is more than a simple case of irritation or allergy that caused the darkening. Also, this is not the same as a bite mark or pimple that scarred and turned dark brown.

Acanthosisnigricans is not harmful and nor is it contagious. There is simply an overgrowth of a layer in the epidermis that makes the skin thicker and appear darker. When you look under the microscope, there is no increase in melanin, which is why no amount of whitening products can help it.

Sometimes the dark patches may be a sign of some underlying health concern. Obesity and insulin resistance (pre-diabetes or diabetes) are the usual suspects. You might want to go visit an endocrinologist and a cardiologist for a more complete workup. Treatment of underlying insulin resistance or obesity could cure you of the darkened skin.

Dear Dr. Jen,

I have bumps around my eyes. No matter how much the facialist pricks and squeezes it, nothing comes out. How can this be treated?

Johanna

Dear Johanna,

These bumps may not be the regular white heads or milia that we often come across, hence no amount of pricking can remove it. You may have a case of syringoma.

Syringoma is a benign tumor of the sweat duct that appears as skin-colored or yellowish bumps around the eyes. This is not related to food intake nor caused by rubbing of the eyes as is commonly thought.

I prefer to remove the syringomas using a laser since it is faster, precise, not bloody and relatively painless.  However, other methods like excision, cautery or cryosurgery may also be used.  Make sure it is a PDS certified dermatologist performing the procedure.  You don't want to be left with pockmark scars if the removal is done too deeply.

Dr. Tan is a diplomate of Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) and is affiliated with Perpetual Succour Hospital (PSH). For information on PDS, check http://www.pds.org.ph/. For questions or concerns, please text to: 0932 857 7070; or email to: askskinrepublic@gmail.com; or call The Freeman: (032) 2531276, or PSH: (032) 233 8620 and 232 5929. Your inquiries will be forwarded to Dr. Tan.

ACANTHOSISNIGRICANS CINDY DEAR CINDY DEAR JOHANNA DR. JEN DR. TAN JOHANNA PERPETUAL SUCCOUR HOSPITAL PHILIPPINE DERMATOLOGICAL SOCIETY SYRINGOMA
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