Dark skin on the elbows and knees has many causes. The discolouration could be due to genetics, dry skin, friction or poor skin care. While dark elbows and knees usually do not indicate a health problem, many people find the discolourations unattractive. There are natural, over-the-counter remedies and medical help that can solve this problem easily.
Use a scrub. If the skin is not exfoliated, dead skin cells can build up and cause a darkening of the skin. According to the article "How to Get Rid of Dark Elbows and Knees," on the Become Gorgeous website, a scrub gently exfoliates the top layer of the skin, removing dead skin cells, dirt and excess oil. A scrub makes the skin smoother. Massage into the knees and elbows, then rinse off.
Use lemon juice, which is a natural substance with bleaching agents. Apply the juice to the elbows and knees with a cotton ball. Do this a few times a day. In time, the dark skin becomes lighter in colour.
Use hydrogen peroxide. The article "Removing Skin Discolorations," on the hair-n-skin-care website, suggests using hydrogen peroxide because it is a well-known bleaching substance. Many commercial products from teeth whiteners to hair dyes use peroxide. Use a cotton ball to apply the hydrogen peroxide to the knees and elbows. Do this a few times a day.
Use skin whitening creams. There are many over-the-counter lotions that bleach discoloured areas of the skin. Many of these products contain 2 per cent hydroquinone. The article "Skin Whitening and Depigmenting Agents," by Alaina J. James, M.D., Ph.D., suggests creams or lotions that contain azelaic acid, glycolic acid or kojic acid. All these acids gently exfoliate the skin and even the skin tone.
See a doctor. A dermatologist offers a few treatments for discoloured elbows and knees. Chemical peels are also good for evening out skin tones. The doctor applies a chemical solution to the skin, which burns off the top layer. After the swelling and blisters heal, the new skin is less discoloured. Chemical peels should be the last resort for dark elbows and knees.