What Causes Dark Knees & Elbows & How to Prevent

What Causes Dark Knees & Elbows & How to Prevent
What Causes Dark Knees & Elbows & How to Prevent

Having dark knees & elbows is entirely normal but can make some of us uncomfortable because of how it looks. 

However, the good news is that this kind of hyperpigmentation is treatable. So if it does bother you, read along to see what causes dark knees & elbows and how you can prevent them. 

Causes Of Dark Knees & Elbows

Dark knees & elbows are caused when the skin cells in those areas produce more melanin than other body areas. Several things can cause this increase in melanin production:

  • Friction – usually, young children and toddlers tend to have darker knees as they are constantly creeping and crawling on them. The friction causes the skin of the knees to darken. Adults can also have darkened knees or elbows if they kneel a lot or if they prop their elbows up on different surfaces a lot. The skin can also darken if they wear clothes that constantly rub against the skin of their knees and elbows. 
  • The buildup of dead skin cells – when dead skin cells build up the skin looks darker, thicker and a little more dry. 
  • Diabetes – usually, most people with insulin resistance and diabetes have darkened skin where they flex and bend a lot, like the elbows and knees. Insulin resistance increases melanin production, especially in these areas. 
  • Dryness – dry skin leads to irritation and peeling which is traumatic for the skin. Trauma increases melanin production and thickening as the skin tries to protect itself.
  • Injury – injuries like bruises, cuts, insect bites, and allergic reactions that cause things like peeling, hives, etc. can all cause darkening of the skin as they heal and leave scars behind. 
  • Eczema, dermatitis and other similar skin conditions – skin conditions that cause the top layer of the skin to dry out and peel in ways that are not normal for the skin, especially when they also cause irritation and itching, are traumatizing to the skin. These conditions can cause the skin to thicken and darken over time. 

Related Articles-

9 Best Medical Ways to Lighten Dark Knees & Elbows

A Guide to Using Hydroquinone for Dark Knees & Elbows

Best Scrubs & Exfoliators for Dark Knees & Elbows

How To Prevent Dark Knees & Elbows

The best way to prevent dark knees & elbows is to try to avoid and manage the things that could cause them. 

For example:

  • If you have dry skin or even normal skin, make sure to moisturize your elbows and knees regularly. This keeps the skin healthy. 
  • Exfoliate your elbows & knees regularly (1-2 times per week) to get rid of excess dead skin cells. This will keep your skin soft and healthy.
  • If you have diabetes, try to control your insulin and sugar levels, stay hydrated, and moisturize your skin. 
  • Wear protective layers like sleeves, long pants, or knee pads to prevent friction and injuries if you are on your knees or prop your elbows up a lot, 
  • Switch to wearing softer garments If you usually wear tight, abrasive clothes. These will not bruise your skin when they rub against your elbows and knees. 
  • If you have chronic conditions like eczema or dermatitis, then work with your doctor to keep them under control. If you have flare-ups, try to avoid itching, picking and peeling your skin. Use your treatment and keep your skin as moisturized as possible. 

Related Articles –

7 Best DIY Remedies For Dark Knees & Elbows

5 Best Creams to Lighten Dark Knees & Elbows

Potential Treatments

Dark knees & elbows are treated using ingredients that will inhibit melanin production in the skin or resurface the skin. 

These will include ingredients like:

  • Hydroquinone
  • Vitamin C
  • Glycolic Acid
  • Kojic Acid
  • Retinol
  • Lactic Acid
  • Mandelic Acid
  • Natural Remedies like turmeric, lemon juice, baking soda, etc. 

Follow along as I research, try out, and publish my findings and results on these different ingredients in our Elbows & Knees Series of articles! You can check out some of them below:

How to Use Glycolic Acid to Lighten Dark Elbows & Knees

How to Use Retinol to Lighten Dark Knees & Elbows

How to use Baking Soda to Lighten Dark Knees & Elbows


What Causes Dark Knees and How to Lighten Them Naturally 

Remedies for Dark Elbows 

Dark knees: Causes and home treatment

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