Dark knees happen when the skin on your knees is darker than other parts of your body. It’s a form of hyperpigmentation, which can happen when the skin makes or has excess melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives our skin color.
While dark knees are harmless, some people want to lighten them to match the skin on their knees with the rest of their body.
Let’s look at the possible causes of dark knees and how to lighten them naturally.
Dark skin on the knees and elbows is a common occurrence. It can affect individuals of all skin types, though it often occurs in people with darker skin tones. That’s because darker skin is more likely to overproduce melanin.
There may be several causes of dark skin on knees, elbows, and other joints. These include:
- accumulation of dead skin cells
- sun exposure
- certain skin conditions, such as eczema
- post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
In some cases, dryness can accompany dark knees. This can accentuate hyperpigmentation.
Dark knees aren’t harmful, so it’s not necessary to treat them. But it may be possible to reduce their appearance with home remedies.
You can try the following remedies to lighten dark knees. However, dermatologists don’t generally recommend these therapies given the lack of scientific evidence to support their effectiveness.
Green tea is a popular skin lightening remedy. This may be due to its main compound, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
A 2015 study found that EGCG can prevent melanin accumulation. It works by inhibiting tyrosinase, the primary enzyme required to make melanin.
Here’s one way to use green tea:
- Steep a bag of green tea in 1 cup of hot water. Let cool.
- Dip a cotton ball in the tea and squeeze out the excess.
- Swipe onto your knees. Repeat twice a day.
Aloe vera gel
Many people claim aloe vera gel can lighten skin, although there isn’t sufficient scientific evidence to support this claim.
Advocates of aloe vera point to a compound called aloesin. According to a 2002 study in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, aloesin reduces hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure. As the study is older, more research is needed to prove its effects.
To try this remedy:
- Apply 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel to your knees.
- Gently apply to your skin with clean hands.
- Repeat 2 to 3 times per week.
Turmeric is conventionally used to lighten skin. Curcumin, its primary compound, is thought to be responsible for this effect.
In a 2012 study in Phytotherapy Research, researchers found that curcumin inhibits tyrosinase activity. This limits melanin synthesis, which may help decrease hyperpigmentation.
To use turmeric:
- Combine ½ teaspoon turmeric and 1 tablespoon yogurt or honey.
- Apply the paste to your knees. Wait 10 to 15 minutes.
- Rinse off and moisturize. Repeat 2 to 3 times a week.