I recently came across a post by a famous South African singer, Makhadzi, apologising to her fans because of an image posted by her cameraman. The picture was of her inner thighs that are dark and people were making fun of her. I cannot believe that in 2021, we still push women into apologising for who they are and how their bodies look like.
This is an obvious reason that society still puts women into their own narrative where their bodies don’t fit in. So, what causes a woman’s inner thighs to darken? Dark inner thighs are often the result of ‘chub rub’, which is when your inner thighs rub together while walking and for brown and black women, over time, it can lead to skin discolouration that is extremely difficult to get rid of. It occurs when the skin on the inner thigh produces an abundance of melanin, a pigment that gives skin its colour. This is called hyperpigmentation. The discolouration of dark inner thighs may even stretch into the bikini or groin area. This condition is totally normal and most likely nothing to worry about.
However, if the discolouration really bothers you, talk to your dermatologist about it.
One thing to understand about dark inner thighs is that no one’s skin tone is 100% even. Having hyperpigmentation does not mean you are dirty or unclean. It is often not something that one has control over, even though it can be minimised with certain activities or products. However, it is of paramount importance to note that women have for a long time fought with themselves to be comfortable in their own skin and when they embrace the different parts of themselves, it is not an invitation to bash them because they do not fit your body standards. The art of ‘loving yourself’ isn’t easy, and inner thighs are an area that a lot of women are still getting to grips with, but it’s there and it’s a part of who they are. A number of things can be the causing factor, including hormonal imbalance – particularly among women during lactation, pregnancy or menstruation, or among those with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – certain medications, like hormonal oral contraceptives or certain chemotherapy medications; sun exposure, dry skin friction from tight clothing, acanthosis nigricans, skin pigmentation disorder or diabetes mellitus. So, if you find it ‘unsightly’ or disgusting, remember women are constantly and continuously choosing to learn to love the parts of themselves that are considered as flaws.
• Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper. She also specialises in editing research proposals, proofreading as well as content creation.