Many people with breasts—particularly large ones— experience an issue where the skin underneath them darkens either suddenly or over time. Sometimes the problem can be the result of an ill-fitting bra, but other times it's the sign of a brewing medical issue. Here are two reasons why the skin under your breasts have darkened and what you can do to correct the problem.
Acanthosis nigricans is a condition where the skin darkens and thickens seemingly overnight (or in a very short period of time). In addition to the discoloration, the skin may feel like velvet, itch, and/or emit an odor. The darkened skin may also appear on the neck, hands, armpits, groin, and feet.
This skin condition is a sign of insulin-insensitivity or prediabetes. Technically, the skin cells are reproducing at an abnormal rate because of excess insulin in the blood. However, excess insulin in the blood is generally a sign that your cells are not responding to the hormone like they should, something that usually occurs when a person is on his or her way to developing type 2 diabetes. In rare instances, though, this condition can also be caused by stomach cancer, Addision's disease, pituitary gland disorders, or low levels of thyroid hormones.
If you notice the skin under your breasts has darkened significantly, check the other previously mentioned places on your body. Then, get your blood sugar levels tested if it appears you have acanthosis nigricans. The only way to get rid of the darkened skin in this situation is to get your blood sugar levels under control. So, the earlier you develop a treatment plan with your doctor to stabilize your blood sugar level, the sooner your skin will return to normal.
Inverse psoriasis is an immune system disorder where the body produces excessive amounts of skin tissue. Unlike regular psoriasis which is characterized by raised skin that flakes, inverse psoriasis forms underneath the skin layer, resulting in shiny but smooth red patches. These patches typically form in the folds of the skin, such as under the breasts, in the armpits, around the groin, and sometimes in fat rolls. Other symptoms of this disease include pain or irritation and cracks in the skin that bleed.
This condition is hereditary, so you're more likely to get it if you have a family member that has psoriasis. Unfortunately, there isn't a cure for the disease. However, you can reduce the symptoms using corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system. Light therapy is another treatment that involves exposing the skin to UV light, which slows down the rate of skin growth.
For more information about these and other reasons why the skin under your breasts have darkened or help treating the issues, contact a dermatologist, such as at Strnot Dermatology.