Do you have dark skin on the neck? Dark and unsightly spots on the skin can make you feel self-conscious. The medical term for spots or patches of dark skin on the neck is acanthosis nigricans. If you have this condition, you may also find that you have thicker and darker skin spots in other areas such as the armpits or around the groin. Many healthy people suffer from this condition. Underlying medical conditions, including those such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, Cushing syndrome, acromegaly and hypothyroidism, which are associated with hormonal imbalances, can cause acanthosis nigricans. Obesity can also result in acanthosis nigricans, as it can lead to insulin resistance that can affect skin cells, causing high levels of insulin in your blood. In fact, acanthosis nigricans may be an early indication that you may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which may also be caused by insulin resistance. Certain medications such as birth control pills and human growth hormone can also trigger acanthosis nigricans.
Let’s take a look at some measures that can help you treat dark neck skin.
Try Natural Agents to Lighten the Skin:
A pigment called melanin is responsible for the color of your skin. The excess production of this pigment darkens the skin. Conditions such as acanthosis nigricans are associated with hyperpigmentation due to excess melanin. Certain natural ingredients can be used to combat this hyperpigmentation:
1. Crush Some Avocado:
The avocados contain an important antioxidant known as glutathione. It has been found that glutathione reduces melanin levels by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme involved in melanin production.
How to Use:
- Apply some mashed avocado on the dark areas of your neck to help lighten it.
2. Apply Grape Seed Oil:
Grapeseed oil is a rich source of linoleic acid. According to the research, linoleic acid may be effective in the treatment of hyperpigmentation. A study in patients with melasma, a condition in which patches of hyperpigmented skin develop, found that the severity of the condition was reduced more when linoleic acid was applied in combination with conventional medications (lincomycin and betamethasone valerate) than when it was used medication only. Another study found that the application of linoleic acid cleared the skin that was obscured by exposure to ultraviolet rays.
How to Use:
- Apply a little grapeseed oil directly to take care of those dark areas of your neck.
3. Test the Oil with Arnica Infusion:
Researchers have found that a compound present in Arnica flowers can strongly inhibit the biosynthesis of melanin.
How to Use:
- You can take advantage of this beneficial property of arnica flowers by making some arnica infusion oil. Here is how.
- Put some arnica flowers in a clean jar and pour a carrier oil to fill it. Try using grapeseed oil to get the added benefit of linoleic acid.
- Leave the bottle for about 2 to 6 weeks to allow the oil to infuse, but remember to shake the bottle once a day to help with the process.
- Once the oil is infused, strain it in a clean jar and you will have your arnica oil infused.
- Apply this oil on the affected area to get rid of dark skin.
4. Wear a Licorice Mask:
Licorice might be able to get rid of those dark patches of skin for you. Animal studies have found that glabridin, a chemical component present in licorice roots, inhibits tyrosinase activity. As we have seen, inhibiting this enzyme can reduce melanin production.
How to Use:
- Try mixing licorice powder with cooked oatmeal to make a creamy paste. Cooking oatmeal in milk will make a creamier paste that will work better on dry skin.
- You can also prepare some licorice tea and apply it to lighten your skin.
5. Apply Aloe Vera:
You may already know that aloe vera can work wonders for your skin due to its moisturizing and anti-aging properties. But did you know that it can also help you deal with hyperpigmentation? The aloesin, a compound found in aloe vera, may slow the production of melanin to the inhibit tyrosinase activity.
How to Use:
- Cut on an aloe vera leaf and remove the gel inside. Apply this gel on the neck for about 30 minutes, twice a day and you will see an improvement in about 2 weeks.
6. Combine Lemon Juice and Baking Soda:
A common remedy to get rid of dark skin involves two readily available ingredients: lemon juice and baking soda. Lemon juice is a rich source of vitamin C that can inhibit the formation of melanin. Meanwhile, baking soda can gently exfoliate your skin to remove the dark skin layer that is present.
How to Use:
- Mix some baking soda with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a few drops of olive oil and apply it on the neck. Leave on for about ten minutes and rinse.
7. Try Unpasteurized Soy Milk:
Soy contains two proteins: the Bowman Birk inhibitor and the soy trypsin inhibitor. These proteins can cause depigmentation by interfering with a biological pathway (protease-activated receptor-2 pathway) that reduces the transfer of melanin. Keep in mind that only unpasteurized soy milk has this effect.
How to Use:
- Apply fresh unpasteurized soy milk directly to the dark parts of the neck to lighten the skin.
Control the Underlying Medical Conditions:
As we have stated, a number of medical conditions can make the skin of your neck darken. Dealing with the underlying cause can cure acanthosis nigricans or significantly improve your complexion. Your doctor may change the medications you are taking that may be darkening your skin or recommend hormone balancing medications if you have conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome or hypothyroidism. For cancer, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or surgery can be considered as alternatives. Meanwhile, a healthy diet and regular exercise can improve conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Control your Diet:
A healthy and balanced diet can help control your blood sugar levels. Limit the amount of sugar, fat, salt and alcohol you consume. It may also be useful to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole foods and eat smaller meals that are spread instead of large meals.
Physical activity can also be useful for dealing with conditions such as diabetes. If you have not been active for a while, remember to start slowly by doing 5 or 10 minutes of exercise a day. You can gradually increase your physical activity until you reach 30 minutes of aerobic activity in one day, an activity that makes you breathe faster than normal. You can also try strength training to strengthen muscles or stretching exercises to improve flexibility.
If you are taking insulin, you should make sure that your blood sugar levels do not go too low when you exercise, since exercise can also reduce your blood sugar levels. In fact, it is a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.