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11 Oct 2016
Ever Wondered Why Your Genitals Are Darker Than Your Body?
Regardless of where you are from, a person’s penis and nipples are naturally a shade or two deeper in color than their skin.
According to experts, those parts of our body darkening occur during puberty.
As sex hormones surge through the body they stimulate the production of melanin the amino acid responsible for hair and skin color.
The result is for the skin on a man’s penis and nipples and a woman’s areolas (the colored ring around the nipple) and labia, to darken.
While the process is a natural one, any further darkening in adulthood could be a sign of the chronic illness such as diabetes.
Dr Lindsey Bordone, a dermatologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, said:“your skin can darken in certain areas when your sugars are very high and you’re developing diabetes.”
During childhood a person generally has lighter pigmentation all over regardless of race.
But, when puberty kicks in, women experience an increase in estrogen, while men experience an influx of testosterone.
Those hormones regulate melanocytes which are skin cells that produce melanin, said Dr Cameron Rokhsar, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York.
Hormones can also affect pigmentation in adulthood, especially in women. When a woman is pregnant or goes on birth control pills she can experience heightened levels of estrogen.
That increase in hormones can cause pigmentation in a woman’s face.
Dr Rokhsar added: ‘In pregnancy, women can also develop a dark line on their abdomen.’
And so, genital darkening occurs in men who wear tight clothing, shave their genitals or experience an itch or infection that results in rubbing and scratching.
But even though darkening is natural, it can also be a symptom of larger health issues.
Additionally, certain discolorations are indicative of increased levels of insulin.
If you notice darkening in some areas of your body especially if it’s in the neck or armpits go and have it checked out because it can be a sign of diabetes.
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