May 24th, 2011
Beauty, Fashion Bomb 101
How to Get Rid of Dark Knees and Elbows
By The Fashion Bomb Staff

Fashion Bomb reader Leandra wrote in asking, “This is kind of an unusual question, but I’ve been noticing knees lately. The summer’s approaching, and I want to know how to turn my unsightly knees soft and smooth.

Actually, Leandra, it’s not unusual! Dark, rough knees (and elbows) are actually a common occurrence with brown skin. For years people have been doing things like applying lemon halves to the area in an attempt to lighten and soften them, but I wanted to get more info so I asked dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf about the issue and here’s what she had to say:

The dark thick skin on elbows are caused by a buildup of thick skin worsened by all the friction and pressure on this area. When the dead skin builds up, it looks dark — especially if you have a darker skin tone. If you don’t take care of your elbows, the thick skin will continue to build up and become even drier and darker.

Some ways to treat this problem include avoiding the tendency to lean on your elbows. Use a body scrub on the area followed by a lactic acid cream such as Amlactin Moisturizing Cream followed by a rich thick body cream.

If the problem persists your dermatologist can prescribe a topical steroid for scaly skin as well as a prescription strength urea cream to break down thick dead dry skin.

My favorite scrub and cream combo for getting the skin on the body summer ready has to be The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Africa Ximenia & Salt Scrub and C.O. Bigelow Lemon Body Cream. The combo helps to get skin soft and glowy for the season of short skirts and short shorts.

Images via Vogue,

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34 Responses to “How to Get Rid of Dark Knees and Elbows”

  1. Latasha Hargrove says:

    kojic acid! you can order soap lotion or cream at works wonders

  2. Latasha Hargrove says:

    sorry thats

  3. Latasha Hargrove says:

  4. Bonifant says:

    found this on tyra’s website hope its okay to post the link here

    and this has tips for the underarms
    Honestly I must say the 2nd one has helped me, I would only shave in one direction, and didn’t know about the lactic acid ingredient.

  5. christy says:

    Great tips. I notice that my elbows become especially dark when I lean on them at work. I’ve been trying to break the habit…thanks for the reminder.

  6. Lao-y says:

    I think this is silly. Nature has its way, just work it. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself but don’t go into feeling you’re a freak for your skin. I read that the thicker skin is a build for protection of sensitive areas. So just be careful to do your research for safety before doing things for vanity. Just saying. Peace <3

  7. Bronze says:

    @ Bonifant

    I used to have a green film under my arms until I started waxing them 20 yrs ago. And I’ve switched from deodorant to using a mineral salt. The skin under my arms never looked better.

    Also, Dermstore carries a product called Glytone heel and elbow scrub that evens the skin tone. Wonderful product and an even better website.

  8. GOALdigger says:

    can we get something similar(advice) for underarms?

  9. Bonifant says:

    thank you Bronze for the suggestion I will check out the product and maybe their entire line I see acne stuff too. :)

  10. OSeñorita says:

    What I do is I put a great amount of moisturizing cream on my elbows and knees. And yes, avoid friction like elbow leaning on the table.

  11. binks says:

    great article and wonderful suggestions

  12. MsKroberts says:

    Yasss! advice for underarms would be great. I got great improvement from shaving with a straight razor (like for brows or that guys shave with) vs a venus or something like that. No bumps but still have a little discolored *hangs head in shame* lol no but i would like them to look the same color as the rest of my skin.

  13. Gigi Young says:

    @Lao-y I admit to wanting to rid myself of dark elbows, but I completely agree with your sentiment. Particularly since this post was accompanied by a photograph of a model…models and celebrities look flawless from armpit to knee to elbow either due to airbrushing or body foundation!

  14. Marie-josé says:

    Thanks to Alexandra for asking such a question; I’m suffering from this mysefl :( ….so I swear by my jeans and long skirts.
    Claire you’re a life saver.

  15. Marie-josé says:

    Oops* Leandra sorry.

  16. Carmen says:

    Great info Danielle! Incorporating Alpha Hydroxy Acid body wash every other day would help.Mario Badescu makes a great one that also includes fruit enzymes.Helps keep cell turnover optimal.

  17. yusufswifee says:

    keep those areas super mositurized and use a skin lightening cream with hydroqunine – however it’s spelled on them. I’ve done this once or twice in my life…sometimes that area goes untreated and then you look around and BOMB…time to but in work. not hydro – whatever if you are preggers and only on your dark marks.

  18. cor3na says:

    Just use coco butter!! It worked for me… that’s what the older women in my family recommend.

  19. EgyptianBella says:


  20. esme says:

    @bronze- whats the name of the mineral salt you use?

  21. David Loewe says:

    Dark elbows in women is a common symptom of a thyroid condition.

  22. Leslie says:

    I have dark knees and elbows.. plz help ?

  23. jenny says:

    all you need To do Is moisturize With a type of lotion With coconut Oil

  24. Gracie says:

    I’ve heard that something such as basil can help wonders as well. What you’ll want to so is mix this basil with olive oil and it will create a paste. Rub it on your knees a few times a day.

  25. jess says:

    Actually it comes to light skin people.if ur dark…it wont show.only shows on pale people.dark discoloration isnt present in dark skin

  26. Laura Anies says:

    The dark elbows can make women feel less self-confident when wearing sleeveless dresses. There are some products to get rid of dark elbows.

  27. jaja says:

    is there anything that works faster???

  28. wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the opposite specialists
    of this sector do not understand this. You must continue your
    writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  29. Remy Hair says:

    What is the difference between Ethiopian, Indian and Malaysian Remy hair?

  30. Louis says:

    Hi, I do think this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it ;) I am going to come back once again since I bookmarked it.
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  31. Tumi says:

    I have dark knees and I tried everything hey,nothin works…all this natural products failed,dat lemon thing is worse,ima try skin lightening products.
    I hv beautiful legs to show off and this black knee thing cursed me…
    Ima try something dat works fast

    if anyone knows the name of a product that can do me wonders please share,im tired

  32. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog
    and I’m inspired! Very useful info specially the remaining section
    :) I handle such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a
    long time. Thank you and good luck.

  33. Fastidious response in return of this issue with real arguments and describing everything about that.

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