How to Lighten Dark Elbows Fast, Naturally With Home Remedies

Dark skin on elbows
Dark skin on elbows

Dark elbows and knees make your skin appear uneven. Here is a rundown on how to lighten dark elbows naturally with home remedies and permanently. 

Dark Elbows

This is a very common issue that can really drain one’s self-esteem thus covering up with long sleeved tops and beyond knee dresses.


While this can happen to anyone regardless of their skin color, it is more common in people with darker skin tones. This is because they have more melanin pigment making it very easy to notice dark patches of skin on high friction areas such as the elbows and the knees.

Dark skin on elbows
Dark skin on elbows

Find out what causes dark elbows and how you can naturally lighten or bleach discolored elbows with home remedies.

What causes dark elbows?

Why are my elbows dark? The skin around the elbows and knees is a little thicker with more skin folds than the surrounding areas. Uneven distribution of melanin pigment in the body can result in some areas being darker than others. With little blood supply and no oil glands, the area tends to be rough and dry.  Here are some of the common causes of dark elbows:

  • Genetics
  • Dry skin
  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Use of certain medications
  • Poor or improper hygiene
  • Lack of exfoliation, accumulation of dirt, grime and dead skin
  • Certain diseases such as Addison’s syndrome, obesity
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Frequent contact and friction with clothes, leaning on the table with your elbows
  • Benign hyperpigmentation or active melanocytes in the elbows

    Dark skin over the elbows
    Dark skin over the elbows

How to Lighten Dark Elbows with Home Remedies

It is common to see dark patches and discoloration on high friction areas such as the elbows and knees. Elbow skin is naturally thicker than the surrounding skin. Knees and elbows withstand frequent bending, kneeling, leaning and get rubbed on by rough clothes. With few oil glands for lubrication, the skin in these areas grows thick and naturally

With few oil glands for lubrication, the skin in these areas grows thick and naturally adopt a protective layer of dark skin. Note that while it is possible to lighten, bleach or whiten dark elbows and knees, there is no magic treatment. You do not need expensive creams and procedures to lighten up the dark skin on elbows. Use these simple home remedies

Turmeric to Cure Discolored Elbows

Turmeric has natural exfoliating and bleaching properties which help to effectively get rid of dark patches on the skin.

  1. To lighten dark elbows, mix gram flour and turmeric in yogurt, heavy cream, or water.
  2. Apply the resultant paste on your body and leave it for 20 minutes or until it dries off
  3. Wash off with lukewarm water while gently scrubbing your elbows in a circular motion
  4. Do this three times a week for best results. You will notice an improvement in 2 weeks

Note that if left for too long on skin, turmeric may stain your skin yellow. This effect is temporary and will fade off in a day or two.

How to Bleach Dark Skin on Elbows with Lemon

How to bleach dark elbows with lemon
How to bleach dark elbows with lemon
  1. Cut lemon into two halves and rub one-half over both your elbows while squeezing to release the juice. Allow it to remain on your elbows for 15-20 minutes then rinse off with warm water. Repeat this several times a week for best results
  2. Alternatively, you can mix a ¼ cup of baking soda and lemon juice to make a paste with medium consistency. Rub the mixture over your elbows and massage gently in circular motions. Do this for at least 15 minutes. Baking soda serves to exfoliate the skin while lemons bleaches.

Note that lemon may cause some irritation and stinging. Do not overdo the scrubbing and stop using this remedy if you notice signs of allergic reaction like rash and irritation. Lemon can be drying when you should moisturize after every time you bleach dark elbows with lemon juice.

Aloe Vera Naturally Whitens Dark Elbows

Aloe Vera is an age old beauty product that is used for its natural moisturizing and skin whitening properties. It helps to reverse sun damage, treats dryness and removes dead skin cells.

  1. Take a fresh aloe leaf and cut its edges to expose the flesh
  2. Squeeze to extract the gel and apply it to your elbows
  3. Leave it on the skin for 30 minutes
  4. Wash off with warm water
  5. Alternatively, you can mix Aloe Vera with honey and use it in the same way as explained above
  6. Repeat this process several times a week to effectively remove black patches of skin on your elbows

How to Get Rid of Black Elbows Fast with Yogurt and Vinegar

Turmeric and yogurt paste for discolored elbows
Turmeric and yogurt paste for discolored elbows

Yogurt contains lactic acid and vinegar contains acetic acid which is mild but effective skin lightening agents. These two effectively lighten dark spots on knees and elbows, evening out your skin.

  1. Combine a teaspoon of yogurt and white vinegar to get a smooth paste. Apply the paste on the elbows and allow it to dry. Rinse off with warm water, pat dry and moisturize.
  2. Alternatively, you can mix a tablespoon of plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons of gram flour. Apply the paste to your elbows and leave it on for 15 minutes. Massage gently with wet fingers to exfoliate and rinse with warm water. Repeat this several times a week.

How to Lighten Dark Elbows and Knees with Baking Soda

Accumulation of dead skin cells and grime can make your elbows appear ashy and dirty. Baking soda is a gentle skin cleanser and natural scrub that removes dead cells and gets rid of grime.

  1. Mix baking soda with milk or water to make a paste
  2. Apply it on the elbows and knees while rubbing in circular motions for 3 minutes
  3. Wash off with lukewarm water, pat dry and moisturize

Depending on the extent of darkness, repeat this daily or on alternate days then later with improved you can reduce the frequency to once or twice a week

Sugar and Olive Oil Scrub

  1. Make an exfoliating body scrub by mixing sugar and warm olive to get a medium consistency
  2. Apply this paste to your elbows and scrub gently with your fingers. As you massage, the sugar granules resolve and become smaller in size
  3. Continue rubbing for 5-10 minutes or until the all the sugar resolves
  4. Wash off with mild soap and warm water

Repeat this daily until you start seeing changes then reduce the frequency to several days a week

Mint Leaves

Mint has natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is not only healing to the skin but also has essential oils which aid in the synthesis of white blood cells and collagen which lighten skin by clearing scars and dark spots

  1. Boil hot water and add mint leaves into it
  2. Allow it to boil for a few minutes and add in fresh lemon juice
  3. Get the mixture off the flame and allow it to cool to a skin tolerable temperature
  4. Soak a cotton ball with this solution and dab it on the elbows
  5. Leave it on the skin for about 15 minutes then rinse off with warm water
  6. Do this regularly to get rid of dark elbows quickly

Vitamin E Oil

Another dark elbow treatment that will help you fade off dark spots and moisturize your skin. It also has powerful antioxidants that help to repair skin and improve the appearance of damaged tissue.

  1. Add a tablespoon each of vitamin E oil, lemon juice, and glycerin
  2. Add in 10 tablespoons of milk
  3. Apply this to your elbows and let it sit for 20 minutes
  4. You can also choose to take vitamin E capsules orally or prick on the capsule with a pin and apply the oil to the elbows.

How to Lighten Elbows Naturally, Fast

Dead flaky skin cells can become trapped in the skin folds of the elbows causing the skin to appear darker than the surrounding skin. Most of us neglect the elbows and the knees during the daily body care routine and forget to moisturize. Follow this tips to help you lighten dark elbows naturally

Remember to always moisturize your elbows
Remember to always moisturize your elbows
  • Use a loofah and exfoliating gel to scrub off dead skin and get rid of dirt from your elbows. You can also use a pumice stone to gently exfoliate the top layer of skin
  • Moisturize your elbows after every bath to prevent dryness.
  • Apply cocoa butter or shea butter before going to bed to help fade off dark spots on elbows
  • Do not lean too much on your knees and your elbows. Friction and exerting pressure on the knees and elbows can cause your skin to be discolored
  • Protect your elbows and knees from harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen all the time

How to Lighten Knees and Elbows Permanently

According to Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS, a Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon, the skin over the elbows and knees is resilient and elastic. Pigmentation is usually more pronounces when the joints are extended and the skin overlying the joints is contracted.

The darkness of the knees and elbows is caused by the redundancy of the skin which has to be there to allow for bending. This type of skin is caused by constant friction which thickens the skin. In other words, this means that most home remedies for dark elbows and knees are superficial and they can’t do much to change the specific type of skin in these areas.

Most of the dark elbow and knee home treatments described above are temporary. To have long lasting results. It is recommended that you find one remedy that works for you then find a way of incorporating it into your skin care and beauty regimen. Regular exfoliation will help you to maintain the areas in their best appearance. For more permanent results, talk to your dermatologist about the possibility of having a chemical peel or permanent exfoliation procedures.

Note that, permanent methods that can be used to lighten your elbows or knees should be used carefully in people with a darker skin tone just so you don’t end up with unnaturally lighter elbows than the rest of your body.

The above remedies can be equally used to lighten dark elbows, knees, and knuckles.


  1. Hi Mattie Garris. I’m glad you found this article useful. You can use sugar and olive oil on any kind of skin. While sugar helps to exfoliate dark dead skin cells, olive oil has gentle skin brightening properties that will help make your knees and elbows clear. Just be sure to incorporate this into your beauty or grooming routine for better and long lasting results.

  2. I have my college days in a month n I have dark legs elbows…..I want stunning legs in an month….can u suggest me something?

  3. Hello. I’m a 46 year old black male. I have uneven skin tone on both my elbows and knees (also knuckles and toes). Those areas aren’t really a concern to me, however. It’s my face. I have a “shadow” on my face from years of shaving. My forehead and around my eyes are a considerably lighter shade of brown, whereas my cheek areas are much darker. Of course this has really made a dent in my self-esteem and confidence much so to the point of I don’t have ANY pictures of myself taken. I’ve tried just about any and every hydroquinone enriched cream you can think of and to no avail. Is there anything- ANYTHING out there that I can use on my face to get my even skin tone back? Perhaps that same remedy can also be used on my elbows and other problem areas of my body. Thanks.

  4. Hi Melussa. Yes, home remedies to lighten dark elbows and knees can be used to lighten dark patches, lines and creases on the neck. Regards.

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