Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: November 7, 2023

Dark knees

If you’ve ever experienced dry, dark spots around your elbows and knees, you may know how difficult it is to get rid of them. Unlike other, more delicate parts of the skin, these dry spots often put up a fight against typical creams and lotions.

There are many reasons why these dry, dark spots develop. One major reason is that both our knees and elbows are very exposed areas of the skin that are more likely to experience friction and contact with the external world. Especially if they come into contact with dirty or rough surfaces, dead skin cells can accumulate, leaving a dark appearance. Conditions like eczema and psoriasis can also make skin darkening more likely, as can hormonal imbalances that occur during pregnancy, menstruation or menopause or that manifest in conditions like PCOS. Failing to consistently moisturize our knees and elbows can also lead to dryness, hyperpigmentation and a weakened skin barrier, as can sun damage.

If you can identify the root cause of this darkening, you can formulate a targeted response to more effectively combat it. However, certain conditions can’t be so readily resolved. But this doesn’t mean that there are no solutions! Regardless of the cause, there are a number of skin care tipsnatural treatment and dark spot remedies you can try out to alleviate dark, dry spots on the elbows and knees


Don’t Rest On Your Knees Or Elbows

While this adjustment may seem simple, you might be surprised how often you lean on your elbows or kneel down on a hard surface. Oftentimes, these actions occur without our even noticing them: we rest our elbows on a table as we talk to the person across from us, we get onto our knees to pick up something dropped on the floor. As dermatologist Corey L. Hartman tells Byrdie, “The more pressure that you apply to the area, the thicker the skin will become in defense.” The more aware you are of these unnecessary applications of pressure, the less likely you’ll be to cause friction-induced dryness.

elbow on table


Avoid Hot Showers

Many of us love the feeling of a hot shower after a long day, especially during the cold winter months. However, hot showers have the effect of drying out our skin, which can exacerbate not only rough elbows and knees but the skin all over our body. To prevent your skin from drying out and to promote greater hydration and softness, opt for a warmer and milder shower temperature.

Hot shower


Apply Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been revered in Ayurvedic tradition for centuries for its healing, reparative properties. In addition, it also contains Aloin, which naturally lightens dark areas. As a result, aloe vera has the capacity to provide deep hydration, to strengthen weakened skin barriers and to lighten dark spots on the knees and elbows all at once. You can reap these hydrating, soothing benefits by using fresh aloe vera gel as a moisturizer for these areas.

Aloe for acne


Make Your Own DIY Ayurvedic Moisturizer

In addition to aloe vera, there are countless other Ayurvedic ingredients whose healing, hydrating and nourishing properties enable them to combat dry, dark spots. What’s more, many of these ingredients can be found in your kitchen. Here are a few easy, DIY moisturizers you can whip up at home.

  • Lemon juice and sugar: Antioxidant-rich lemon naturally lightens and tones the skin, while exfoliating sugar clears the skin of the dirt and dead skin cells that contribute to dark spots. To make, mix together sugar and lemon juice, and massage the resulting mixture into your skin to exfoliate before washing off with warm water.
  • Milk, turmeric and sandalwood: Both turmeric and sandalwood are renowned anti-aging salves, lauded for their ability to provide deep hydration and lighten skin tone. Milk is a natural exfoliator, and it can lend a refreshing brightness to the skin. To make, mix turmeric paste, sandalwood powder and milk to form a thick paste. Apply to affected areas and wash off with lukewarm water after 30 minutes.
  • Papaya, yogurt and honey: Rich in vitamins, water and pepsin, papaya has powerful hydrating and anti-inflammatory effects that leave the skin soft, smooth and glowing. Both yogurt and honey also brighten and hydrate the skin, healing it of damage and helping to strengthen weakened skin barriers. To make, combine a mashed ripe papaya with yogurt and honey to form a thick, smooth paste. Apply to affected areas and wash off with warm water after 30 minutes.


Try Out Soothing, Hydrating Essential Oils

In addition to at-home treatments, you can also try applying a targeted, soothing essential oil to the knees and elbows. A few particularly brightening, evening and hydrating oils include:

  • Sandalwood oil: As mentioned above, sandalwood is considered an anti-aging salve in Ayurveda for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties that enable it to combat wrinkles, provide deep hydration and naturally brighten the skin. Our Absolute Anti Aging Body Oil, designed to transform aging skin into a tightened, lightened and hydrated complexion, includes sandalwood as one of its central ingredients for these reasons.
  • Turmeric oil: Turmeric is a revered ingredient in the beauty and wellness world for its high antioxidant content and its ability to brighten the skin, combat dark spots, soften rough skin and more. For more on the many benefits of turmeric, you can check out our blogs here and here.
  • Neroli oil: Rich in antioxidants, neroli is a precious and revered ingredient in Ayurveda for its powerful skincare benefits. It aids in the natural regeneration process of the skin while also providing potent hydrating and brightening benefits. A natural antiseptic, it also helps clear the skin of impurities and toxins. As a result, the skin looks taut, hydrated and even. We love it so much that we include it in several of our products, including our UMA Pure Calm Wellness Bath Oil, designed specifically to combat dryness, provide deep nourishment and promote overall calm and tranquility.