Friction is mostly to blame for the darkening of the elbows and knees, which over time, results in pigmentation and thickening of the skin. For instance, those working desk jobs and students are more likely to have darkened elbows and knees due to constant elbow flexion.
Additionally, the skin on the elbows and knees is thicker and has more folds. Due to a lack of sebaceous glands, it is also vulnerable to dryness. As a result, the skin can quickly dry out and darken, causing an aesthetic issue.
However, with appropriate skin care and hygiene, you can avoid elbow and knee skin discoloration. You can lighten these areas with natural ingredients and OTC therapies.
What Causes Knees And Elbows To Turn Dark?
Usually, the skin on your elbows and knees is thicker than in other places. So, it is more prone to dryness and dead skin cell accumulation. These areas also have numerous folds and creases, making it easier for dirt and grime to become trapped and seem darker.
On the other hand, the knees and elbows also encounter a lot of friction throughout the day, stimulating melanin production in these areas as a defensive mechanism to protect the skin. Furthermore, these areas are frequently overlooked when going out in the sun and mostly don’t receive adequate sunblock or sunscreen protection.
Some common things that can cause your elbows and knees to darken include:
- Prolonged sun exposure
- Hormonal changes or reactions in the body
- Melanin overproduction in certain areas
- Hyperpigmentation because of skin aging
- Side effects of certain medicines, such as contraceptive pills
- Frequent rubbing, pressing or kneeling against something
- Rubbing against certain fabrics or external objects
- Skin issues like psoriasis or eczema
- Post-injury skin damage
- Acanthosis Nigricans (affects body areas with folds, including knees and elbows)
- Lack of exfoliation
- Chloasma or melasma after pregnancy
The Skin Lightening Remedies
Initially, you can try natural ingredients to lighten the skin around the elbows and knees. Natural remedies are quite effective in removing dark spots and helping maintain skin health.
To lighten the black spots on your elbows and knees, you can choose from various ingredients readily available in your home. These are mild and do not cause adverse effects. You can try some of the following home cures:
1. Soothing Aloe Vera Gel
The element aloesin, in aloe vera, suppresses tyrosinase activity and helps reduce hyperpigmentation. The gel extracted from the aloe vera leaves can be applied directly to darker skin areas to reduce pigmentation.
You may also apply aloe vera gel to your elbows and knees before bed and keep it on overnight for better benefits. The expert advice would be to wrap your elbows and knees after applying the gel with a cotton cloth to avoid spreading on your bed sheet.
Applying it twice or thrice a day may help speed up the fading process.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Baking Soda
The dark skin patches on your elbows and knees will fade gradually and naturally due to the blanching effect – thanks to the lightening properties of baking soda.
Apply the paste made of one teaspoon each of baking soda and milk to your knees and elbows and wait for a few minutes. Cleanse it with water once it dries.
Of note, baking soda may not suit everyone’s skin, and it is wise to do a patch test before any application.
3. Moisturizing Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another fantastic cure for dry, flaky, and dark skin. This oil’s lauric acid, palmitic acid, vitamins, and proteins help heal and moisturize damaged skin, thereby lightening the dark spots.
Use virgin coconut oil to massage your knees and elbows, particularly in the dark spots, for 2 to 3 minutes. Apply coconut oil daily to your knees and elbows after a shower and before bed for best results.
For a scrub, you may also make a thick paste with one tablespoon each of coconut oil and walnut powder. Apply this paste and scrub for two to three minutes before rinsing with water.
4. Skin-Lightening Potato
The bleaching abilities of potatoes aid in lightening the skin tone, lessening hyperpigmentation, and decreasing melanin formation. Vitamin C in potatoes helps to retain skin suppleness and stimulates the formation of collagen. Additionally, it contains catecholase enzymes, which help fade acne scars and dark spots.
Cut the potato into slightly thick slices and massage them over your knees and elbows for a few minutes. Allow the potato juice to sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing it. For optimal effects, do this once or twice daily.
5. Skin Softening Pumice Stone
Pumice stones can remove dry and dead skin since they are porous and have a bubbly appearance. They are a natural solution to smooth down those rough skin spots. They are helpful in rehydrating and freshening your skin when you are cleaning and exfoliating.
After a warm shower, gently scrub your knees and elbows with a pumice stone in circular motions and then rinse it off.
For better results, soak the pumice stone in warm water while you bathe. To protect your skin from harm, never use a dry pumice stone. Additionally, rubbing the skin with a moist pumice stone makes it slide over the skin more easily.
You might occasionally have to turn to over-the-counter remedies to eliminate the hyperpigmentation on your knees or elbows. OTC creams and ointments contain various substances, not all safe or efficient.
To get the best results from your skin-lightening solutions, the American Academy of Dermatology advises looking for the following elements:
- Glycolic acid
- Kojic acid
- Azelaic acid
- 2% hydroquinone
- Vitamin C
Some of these ingredients may help lighten your skin by promoting cell turnover. Antioxidant properties of vitamin C-containing skincare products may improve the free radical-blocking efficiency of your sunscreen. It also suppresses tyrosinase, the enzyme that produces melanin in the body.
Retinoids-containing lotions and creams help the skin resurface faster. Regular use can be quite effective in minimizing sun damage and uneven skin tone.
You may also choose products containing alpha-hydroxy acid for exfoliation. It will swiftly smoothen and even up the skin texture by removing dead skin cells. Experts advise against physical scrubbing. Although scrubbing is an efficient option for exfoliation, the friction may aggravate dark knees and elbows.
You must exercise extreme caution when selecting OTC products. Although certain ingredients, such as hydroquinone, are excellent skin-lightening agents, they can cause redness and dryness in sensitive skin. Hydrogen peroxide can cause skin irritation and blisters, and mercury can cause skin harm. So, try to avoid these ingredients as much as possible.
The Preventive Measures
The elbows and knees frequently turn dark because they are the most exposed areas. For most people, this turns out to be an aesthetic concern and rarely a sign of a health issue.
Prevention is better than cure; hence, follow these as a routine to prevent the darkening of elbows and knees.
- Frequently moisturize. The skin on your knees and elbows may be kept smooth and supple in no other way than this. In addition to helping cure dark knees and elbows, moisturizers prevent dry skin and maintain the epidermal barrier.
- Apply sun protection. To avoid the darkening of your knees and elbows, minimize sun exposure.
- To avoid friction-related hyperpigmentation, avoid resting on your elbows or slouching.
- Exfoliate frequently to prevent debris and dead skin buildup that could cause your elbows and knees to appear black.
- Immediately address any illnesses or injuries to your elbows and knees. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can arise from chronic inflammation.
- People with skin diseases like eczema that are chronically inflammatory should take steps to avoid flare-ups that could lead to darkening on the knees and elbows.
- Improper hydration or lack of moisture also causes the skin to darken in these areas due to excess skin. So increase your fluid intake to maintain hydration.
- Maintaining healthy skin also involves a healthy diet. Consume foods high in vitamins A, and E. Sweet potatoes, carrots, lettuce, dried apricots, and other foods are high in vitamin A. Foods high in vitamin E include cooked spinach, almonds, and others.
- Analyze your skincare products for harsh elements and discontinue use if they cause irritation or rashes.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid fabric friction against your skin.
- Examine your laundry detergents and body soaps for ingredients that can promote inflammation and skin discoloration.
- Use milder cleansers to avoid discoloration of the knees and elbows.
- Apply lactic acid or salicylic creams to the knees and elbows before bed.
- Use chemical peels to remove the sandpaper-like skin on your dark elbows and knees.
Many people frequently get dark knees and elbows. Some people are more likely to get darkened skin in certain places if they participate in outdoor activities or have been diagnosed with particular skin diseases. Though they are not a severe health concern, you can cure dark elbows and knees with home treatments.
In extreme cases, you may visit a dermatologist to analyze your skin condition and the right course of action.
- Remedies for Dark Elbows: https://www.healthline.com/health/dark-elbows
- Home Remedies: https://www.purplle.com/magazine/article/8-home-remedies-to-get-rid-of-dark-elbows-and-knees
- How To Lighten Dark Knees And Elbows Naturally: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/beauty/how-to-lighten-dark-knees-and-elbows-naturally/articleshow/81276772.cms
- How To Prevent and Treat Dark Knees And Elbows: https://skinkraft.com/blogs/articles/how-to-treat-dark-knees-and-elbows
- Dark Elbows And Knees: https://www.healthshots.com/preventive-care/self-care/why-do-we-have-dark-knees-and-elbows-and-what-to-do/
- What to Know About Dark Knees: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/what-to-know-dark-knees
- Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Dark Knees And Elbows: https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/15-tips-to-get-rid-of-dark-knee-caps/
- What Is The Best Way To Get Rid Of Dark Elbows And Joints: https://www.lybrate.com/topic/what-is-the-best-way-to-get-rid-of-dark-elbows-and-joints/ac611fb97c824e29aa2704ab089e4a4c
- Natural Tricks to Remove Dark Knees and Elbows: https://brightside.me/inspiration-girls-stuff/10-natural-tricks-to-remove-dark-knees-and-elbows-503160/
- Home Remedies to Lighten Dark Elbows and Knees: https://www.emedihealth.com/skin-beauty/more-skin-conditions/lighten-dark-elbows-knees
- How To Prevent Dark Knees And Elbows With Ayurvedic Herbs: https://vedix.com/blogs/articles/how-to-get-rid-of-dark-knees-and-elbows
- Lighten Dark Knees: https://www.wikihow.com/Lighten-Dark-Knees