Blackheads can occur on other body parts besides your face. One area of your skin susceptible to getting blackheads is the inner thighs. Yes, inner thigh blackheads are a thing caused by a variety of factors.
While most of us know about the whiteheads and blackheads on the face, little is known about the causes and treatment of blackheads on the inner thighs. Fortunately, this problem is fixable, and I’ll go into detail about how you can get rid of thigh blackheads naturally and prevent them from occurring.
- Blackheads on inner thighs are caused by excess sebum production, dirt, sweat, and to some extent, genetics, or in rare cases, an underlying chronic skin condition (Hidradenitis Suppurativa).
- Inner thigh blackhead breakouts can be treated at home with thorough cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing.
- Not treating blackheads on inner thighs can lead to severe acne, which, in turn, results in scars and hyperpigmentation.
- Key ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, AHAs, BHAs, and hyaluronic acid are found in products used to treat blackheads.
- Keeping skin clean and hydrated is important for the prevention and treatment of inner thigh blackheads.
What Causes Blackheads on Inner Thighs?
What we call blackheads are dead skin cells and oil trapped in the skin pores (opening for hair follicles) and oxidized over time. When this dirt gets oxidized, it turns black. The small bump that forms, as a result, is called a comedo.
As pores in the skin exist in many parts of the body, blackheads can form in different parts of the body like the back, inner thighs, or buttocks. The main causes of blackheads on inner thighs are:
1. Sebum Production
The pores in our skin house the sebaceous glands that produce sebum (oil) that lubricates and moisturizes the skin. However, the degree of excess oil production varies from person to person, with people having the so-called oily skin producing a lot more sebum than necessary.
Oily skin has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks, as it’s susceptible to getting blackheads and acne. This is because all of that excess sebum can clog the open pores rather easily, and when you add dead skin cells in the mix, it’s easy for clogged pores to become blackheads over time.
If your skin produces a lot of oil, large areas such as the inner thighs or back may also be susceptible to getting blackheads.
If you have hair on your inner thighs, even if you have oily skin, you might not have a strong chance of inner thigh blackheads, as the follicles are not open.
2. Dirt and Sweat
Your inner thighs can get sweaty during hot weather or activity, or both. Even just walking down the street on a sunny day or a 100-degree summer day can get your inner thighs sweaty, let alone working out at the gym or running at the park.
Excessive sweating, along with poor hygiene, can result in a blackhead problem around the inner thighs. Yes, everybody sweats, but some people, based on some factors, may sweat profusely. For instance, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, or obesity can also cause a person to sweat more than normal.
If that’s the case, the inner thigh skin will sweat more readily, and if not washed properly, it can develop blackheads.
Like with most things that happen with your skin and body, genetics may also play a role behind those blackheads on inner thighs.
Since we know that blackheads are directly related to sebum production, one study from the British Journal of Dermatology helps confirm its genetic aspect. This study focused on sebum production in identical and non-identical twins of the same sex. What the researchers found was that the rate of sebum production was similar in identical twins. However, the severity of acne varied.
In simpler words, sebum production, for the most part, is controlled by genetics. So by extension, blackhead formation may also have something to do with your genetics.
That all said, it’s not one of those genetic conditions that you can’t get rid of. There are treatments to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back again.
4. Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a chronic skin condition that results in small painful lumps under the skin. However, these lumps first begin as blackheads or pimples. So this condition could also be an underlying cause for those blackheads on inner thighs, especially if you also have the problem in your armpits, buttocks, groin, or genital area.
The lumps, also called nodules, become inflamed and contain pus that may leak out. Also, these lumps are painful and can even lead to complications.
A dermatologist can help diagnose whether the blackheads in unusual areas are a sign of this skin condition.
What Do Blackheads on Inner Thighs Look Like?
Some people may not even notice the blackheads on their thighs until the problem gets worse. Of course, your inner thighs aren’t the most visible part of your body, especially if you’re wearing pants all the time. So it helps to know what they look like should you develop them.
Blackheads on inner thighs, for the most part, look like the blackheads on the nose or forehead. These are very small black bumps on the skin. Most of the time, it’s not even a bump but rather a black dot in the pores of the skin. It becomes a bump when the clogged pore becomes inflamed. When it does, it will look like a pimple.
In some cases, you’ll notice highly visible bumps with black centers, as these blackheads have caused inflammation around them.
It’s important to know those dark inner thighs are different from blackheads. Blackheads do not cause the skin to get dark. Instead, it’s the excess melanin production that causes inner thigh skin to turn dark, something which is more common than blackheads on inner thighs.
Why You Should Get Rid of Inner Thigh Blackheads
Blackheads can be innocuous at first but lead to significant skin problems if not taken care of. Especially in a part of your skin that gets very little light or air, it’s imperative to deal with the problem as it begins.
Blackheads typically lead to severe acne, which is a much more serious problem. These blackheads themselves are considered a mild form of acne. And you think acne on your face is bad; imagine having it on the inside of your thighs, an area prone to sweat and friction!
These blackheads can become bothersome when they get inflamed and become pimples that, when further infected, may develop into pustules. Not only will it be irritating and painful, but acne on your inner thighs will also lead to acne scarring. In other words, you’ll get scars and marks on your inner thigh skin, which will be hard to get rid of.
Therefore, to avoid this worst-case scenario, it’s important to get rid of the blackheads on inner thighs.
Inner Thigh Blackheads Treatment
So how to get rid of inner thigh blackheads? Well, the good news is that they are easy to get rid of without even a trip to the dermatologist (although no one’s stopping you from seeking professional medical advice for this particular problem).
As you can guess by now, it mostly comes down to taking care of your skin. These blackheads, at the end of the day, are essentially dirt and oil, which need to be cleaned out. There are your regular skincare routine processes, combined with some trustable products, that will do the trick.
I’ll list the steps in the order of execution, followed by some product recommendations for those steps. So this is a complete treatment for your blackheads problem on your thighs.
But as always, I’d recommend seeing a dermatologist if, for any reason, these home-based treatments don’t work for you. Again, blackheads on inner thighs can be a sign of Hidradenitis Suppurativa, which is a chronic condition, so not really under your control or affected by something as simple as cleaning or hydrating.
The number one step of any skincare routine is also the number one step of getting rid of blackheads on inner thighs: cleansing. Just as cleansing is important for your face, it’s also important for the rest of your body.
However, your regular soap or body wash may not be enough to cleanse the skin surface of impurities lodged within the hair follicles. You may need to use an oil or dirt cleansing cleanser with powerful ingredients. For instance, salicylic acid is highly effective at unclogging pores and reducing excess sebum production.
Also, make sure the cleanser you select is non-comedogenic, i.e., it doesn’t clog the pores. Some cleaners designed for dry skin can do that, so beware.
Now, you’re probably wondering, ‘do I use a facial cleanser for inner thighs?’ Well, most cleansers on the market are marketed as facial cleansers, but they can be used on other parts of your body as well. However, you’ll also find body cleansers that are designed for cleansing the whole body, not just the face. Those may be a bit more penetrative, as the skin on your thighs is tougher than the skin on your face.
You should cleanse the inner thigh area at least once a day, preferably when you shower. However, if you live in a humid, hot climate or wear pants for work all day, you can cleanse the area twice. When applying, rub the cleanser in for a couple of minutes to let it do its job. Don’t just rinse it off after a few seconds.
Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells, and if you revisit the very definition of blackheads, the dead skin cells play a very important role. So, it goes without saying that exfoliation is a vital step in the treatment of inner thigh blackheads.
Not only will exfoliation get rid of dead skin cells, but it also removes dirt and grime from the skin, which is very much present in areas such as the inner thighs. Now, there are two ways to go about exfoliation: mechanical/physical and chemical.
Mechanical or Physical Exfoliation
The mechanical exfoliation method employs pressure and friction to remove dead skin from the skin’s surface. It can be performed with the help of special exfoliating tools that range from something as basic as your loofah to electronic exfoliators.
Scrubs come under the physical exfoliation category. These scrubs use salt, sugar, grains, and other natural ingredients to deliver that abrasive effect and rid the skin of dead cells and dirt. For inner thighs, you’ll need something a bit coarser because, unlike your face, this skin is tougher.
Also, a word of caution when it comes to physical or mechanical exfoliation. Don’t be too harsh with the exfoliator, as it can do more harm than good. Too much or too frequent scrubbing will lead to skin irritation and redness.
Similarly, exfoliation is not a good idea if you have pimples or bumps on your inner thighs as a result of blackheads. You may want to stick to cleansing for a bit until those pimples clear.
3. Chemical Exfoliation
Chemical exfoliation involves the use of acids (chemicals) that help remove dead skin and impurities from the skin. Unlike mechanical or physical exfoliation, chemical exfoliation is simpler as you pretty much just have to apply the products to the skin, and the ingredients do the rest.
Some experts, as well as users, say that chemical exfoliation is better than physical exfoliation, as it’s more comprehensive and even in application. At the same time, some people with sensitive skin may be too sensitive to chemical exfoliants. If you’ve used chemical exfoliants in the past and found them to be irritating, it’s best to go with something mild.
Here are the common chemical exfoliants you can use on your inner thighs:
Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
AHAs are water-soluble acids that don’t penetrate deep into the skin, so they are relatively gentler on the skin. They help peel the dead skin layer off the top of your skin and may even help with dark spots. These acids include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid.
Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
BHAs are oil-soluble acids that go deeper into the skin and have a more profound impact as far as removing dead skin cells goes. So they can also help remove excess sebum buildup inside the pores effectively. As thigh blackheads are more stubborn because of the thick skin, BHAs are preferred over AHAs unless you have sensitive skin. Tropic acid and salicylic acid are BHAs.
Poly-Hydroxy Acids (PHAs)
PHAs are very similar to AHAs, except their molecules are even bigger in size, hence, even less penetrable. These are a good choice for people with extra sensitive skin. They also contain antioxidants which are good for your skin, preventing cellular damage. Lactobionic acid is a type of PHA.
Cleansing and exfoliating are great for removing blackheads and preventing their further onset, but there’s a catch. Both these processes can leave the skin dry, so you need to moisturize and hydrate the skin as well.
Just as you would follow cleansing and exfoliation with a hydrating moisturizer for your face, do it for the inner thighs as well. You can use a body moisturizer or, even better, a hydrating serum to deliver some moisture to the skin surface.
Look for moisturizers with humectants, which are substances that attract moisture. Common humectants in moisturizers are hyaluronic acid, sodium lactate, sorbitol, glycerin, and panthenol.
Similarly, for those with dry skin, it’s best to go with moisturizers with emollients, which not only hydrate skin but also help trap moisture.
1. CeraVe SA Body Wash
For cleansing, I highly recommend the CeraVe SA Body Wash for Rough and Bumpy Skin. It contains the best ingredient for cleansing and exfoliating, salicylic acid. Since it’s a body wash, you can cleanse your entire body with it. It also contains hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides that keep skin hydrated and protect its barrier. So it packs in a lot of benefits.
If you use this with a loofah, you might not even have to use another exfoliant. It’s particularly good for bumpy, uneven skin.
2. Skin Food Black Sugar Mask Wash Off
This Skin Food Black Sugar Scrub is an affordable physical exfoliator made with black sugar. It can help remove blackheads, dead skin, and sebum from the inner thighs. This comes from a Korean skincare brand, so if you’re into Korean skincare, this is the one for you. Just precede it with a Korean cleanser.
3. Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
If you want to take the chemical exfoliation route to remove blackheads on inner thighs, I recommend Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. First off, it’s more penetrative than AHA, so it will remove dead skin and dirt more efficiently. It can also help reduce the skin pore size, which would be enlarged because of the blackheads.
Unlike scrubs, there’s no rinsing needed. You can just apply this product and leave it in. Moreover, even though it’s BHA, there’s a very little amount, so it’s suitable for all skin types. You can also combine it with the AHA exfoliant from the same brand.
4. M3 Naturals Charcoal Scrub
Charcoal scrubs are also very popular because charcoal absorbs dirt and oil readily. This M3 Naturals Charcoal Scrub contains collagen and stem cells. This may be helpful in enhancing the skin firmness around the inner thighs, which tend to develop crepey skin over time.
However, as far as exfoliation is concerned, the natural ingredients in this scrub will wipe out all dead skin cells, dirt, grime, and sebum. You can use it anywhere on your body.
5. teatree Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer
This Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer contains tea tree, a well-known moisturizing, and soothing ingredient. This would provide a calming and soothing effect to your inner thighs following cleansing and exfoliation. It also contains jojoba seed oil which moisturizes the skin.
It’s a vegan skincare product made entirely of plant-based ingredients. Also, I found that the quantity is quite generous.
What Not to Do?
Just as important as knowing what to do to treat inner thigh blackheads is to know what not to do. When you find out that you have blackheads on your inner thighs, you may have the ‘brilliant’ idea of squeezing them out. I know, I would think of that!
But that’s a big no!
Whether you do it with your nails or with a blackhead removal pin, you’re going to end up doing more harm. While you will get all those blackheads out, you might irritate or damage the skin. Unlike your face, these blackheads might not squeeze out so readily, especially if they’ve been there for a while.
Plus, when you do it with nails, you will deposit all the dirt and germs in your nail into the skin. So the oil and dirt will be replaced with further dirt. Not a great exchange!
That said, some big blackheads may require physical extraction. Using a sanitized pin is better than using your bare nails. Also, make sure to wash your hands before touching your skin. And lastly, make sure to cleanse and moisturize the area afterward.
How to Prevent Blackheads on Inner Thighs?
Whether you have blackheads on the inner thighs or not, you would want to know how to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Here are some helpful tips:
- Clean Skin Regularly: Make sure to shower and clean your thighs every day to clean out the dirt and sebum deposits with a mild soap or shower gel. Even if your thighs aren’t exposed, they can get dirty and sweaty, so cleansing is crucial.
- Avoid Tight Pants: Perhaps avoid or reduce wearing too-tight pants or leggings, and when you do, make sure the fabric is breathable. Tight clothes restrict airflow and cause excessive sweating, which can exacerbate the situation with dead skin and sebum in clogged pores.
- Use Non-Comedogenic Products: The body care products you use, such as shower gel or moisturizer, should be non-comedogenic, i.e., they shouldn’t block the pores. Many products specifically mention this.
It doesn’t take long for the blackheads on inner thighs to become a more serious problem. Think bumps, pustules, scars, and a lot of pain!
All of that can be avoided by following the right treatment method at home with some good skincare products. Fortunately, the solution isn’t much different from what you would do with your skincare routine normally. Simply cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize!
Blackheads on inner thighs occur when you don’t keep the skin clean or have too much sebum production. Try the treatment tips I have listed. But if your blackheads have turned into severe acne, consult a dermatologist.