How to Get Rid of Dark Elbows

Two Methods:Using home remediesExfoliating and moisturizing

Sun exposure and a build-up of dead skin cells can cause the skin on your elbows to appear darker than the the skin on the rest of your body. If this is bothersome during the summer months or you are embarrassed to be seen in a T-shirt, don't fret! There are several natural remedies and skin care techniques which will help you rid yourself of worrisome dark coloration on your elbows and knees!

Method 1
Using home remedies

  1. Image titled Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 1
    Use lemon juice. Lemon juice contains citric acid which is a natural bleaching agent. Therefore, applying lemon juice to elbows can help to lighten the skin. To use:
    • Cut a large lemon in half. Squeeze out some of the juice from both halves so that you have two hollow halves or "cups". Rub each lemon cup over your elbows.
    • You can rub away any excess pulp, but don't wash your elbows for about 3 hours. This gives the lemon juice time to act more deeply.
    • Wash off the lemon juice with some warm water. As lemon juice can be drying, you should moisturize the area with your favorite body moisturizer.
    • Repeat this every day until the dark skin begins to fade. You should see a significant difference within a couple of weeks.
  2. Image titled Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 2
    Apply heavy cream and turmeric. A mixture of heavy cream and turmeric works well to lighten the skin on elbows, particularly on people with darker skin tones. Turmeric is a natural bleaching agent which helps to reduce melanin in the skin.
    • Get some heavy cream (or milk with a high fat content) and boil it until it thickens and becomes clotted.
    • Mix in a half teaspoon of turmeric, with a half cup of gram-flour and blend into a paste.
    • Apply this paste to your elbows (and knees), using a circular motion, then rinse well with water.
    • Be aware that turmeric can dye the skin a yellowish-orange color, but this will fade after a day or two.
  3. Image titled Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 3
    Make a paste using milk and baking soda. This remedy helps to lighten elbows as milk contains lactic acid which reduces skin pigmentation, while the baking soda helps to exfoliate dead skin cells.
    • Mix enough milk to turn the baking soda in to a paste.
    • Apply on your elbows and gently scrub it in a circular motion. Do this until you notice your skin is lighter.
  4. Image titled Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 4
    Try mixing yogurt and vinegar. The combination contains both lactic and acetic acid each of which helps lighten your skin color.
    • To use, combine one teaspoon of yogurt with one teaspoon of white vinegar and mix until they form a consistent paste.
    • Apply to elbows, rubbing in a circular motion. Leave for 20 minutes, then rinse off and moisturize.
  5. Image titled Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 5
    Mix lemon juice and yogurt in a cup. Use a brush to wipe off the dirt or sweat trapped in your elbow before applying this mixture. Use a spoon to add a small amount of water to the mixture. Use a brush or your hand to apply the mixture directly to the dark skin of your elbows. Wait for 10 to 20 minutes for the mixture to dry, then rinse well and wash with soap and water. Use a dry (and clean) cloth to dry, then moisturize the area.

Method 2
Exfoliating and moisturizing

  1. Image titled Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 6
    Scrub your elbows. Scrubbing your elbows helps to remove dry, flaky skin cells which become trapped in the elbow creases and causing skin to have a darker appearance.
    • Use a loofah or washcloth to apply with exfoliating shower gel to remove excess dead skin cell your elbows, .
    • Alternatively, you can make your own sugar scrub by mixing 2 parts sugar (white or brown) and 1 part oil (almond, coconut, or olive).
    • Just remember not to scrub too hard or too frequently, as this may cause your skin to produce extra cells which can make your elbows even darker. Scrub gently; just once or twice a week.
    • Be patient and you will soon notice a big difference.
  2. Image titled Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 7
    Moisturize your skin after scrubbing. Dry skin causes skin to darken, so remember to keep your elbows moisturized!
    • Moisturize after each shower or bath (as hot water can act to remove natural oils from your skin), before you go to bed at night, and before you leave the house in the morning. For best results, use lotions which contain shea butter, jojoba oil. or olive oil.
    • A heavy duty treatment is to apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly, coconut oil, or pure shea butter directly to your elbows before bed, then cover with a "sock sleeve" fashioned by cutting the foot of cotton tube socks. It is best to leave the protective sleeve on throughout the night, if you are able. Doing so allows you to apply a massive amount of moisturizer to your elbows without ruining your sheets. Additionally, the sock sleeve helps retain your body heat and liquify the moisturizer, thereby assisting the absorption by your skin.
  3. Image titled Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 8
    Wear sunscreen. Sun exposure can cause damage skin and make the skin on elbows and knees darker, so it's important to apply sunscreen before all outdoor excursions and activities.
    • Harmful UV rays are present even when it's cloudy or raining, so you should make a point to wear sunscreen all year round. It might even be a good idea to make sunscreen application part of your morning routine.


  • If the lemon treatment stings unbearably, your skin is cracked, in which case you should moisturize until this condition is relieved, then take up the lemon treatments.
  • You can also replace the heavy cream with buttermilk and the turmeric with ground oatmeal combined with two ground almonds.
  • Don't sit on your knees and don't put weight on your elbows since this darkens them by wearing them out and preventing them to get proper blood flow.
  • Don't add too much yogurt or lemon. Keep the amounts even or it will sting.


  • Be careful.—Turmeric does stain.

Things You'll Need

  • Lemons
  • Moisturizer(s)
  • Heavy cream, gram flour, turmeric, and rose water
  • Milk and baking soda
  • Yogurt and vinegar
  • Shea butter, jojoba oil, or olive oil

Article Info

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