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Super Easy Elbow Care Tips For Dark Elbows

Medically reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 11, 2022

    Super Easy Elbow Care Tips For Dark Elbows

    It’s common for the skin on your elbows to be darker than the rest of your arms. And while having a dark elbow is usually harmless, some people want to whiten them for cosmetic reasons. What causes dark elbows and how can you even out the skin tone on your arms? The answers and more elbow skin care tips in this article. 

    What Causes Dark Elbows?

    According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), dark patches on the skin or hyperpigmentation happens because something triggers extra melanin production. Melanin is the substance that gives skin its color. 

    Note that numerous things can trigger extra melanin production. In fact, even daily activities can be the culprit.

    Here are some of the possible causes of a dark elbow:

    • Skin products that irritate the skin
    • Hormonal changes, like what happens during pregnancy
    • Applying or taking certain medications
    • Inflammation due to injury or wound, like cuts and burns (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation)
    • Skin conditions, like pimples, eczema, or psoriasis
    • Sun exposure
    • Presence of birthmarks 
    • Accumulation of dead skin cells 

    While most reasons behind having a dark elbow are harmless, hyperpigmentation can still be a symptom of an underlying health condition that needs treatment. 

    Case in point: Iron overload (hemochromatosis) and Addison disease (a hormonal condition) can result in hyperpigmentation. Acanthosis nigricans can also cause skin darkening, and it can be a sign of an illness, like insulin resistance or diabetes

    Elbow Skin Care To Treat Hyperpigmentation

    If you have a dark elbow, then you must first ascertain if an underlying health condition is causing it. For instance, if you have eczema or psoriasis, treating it should be a priority. The same applies to conditions, such as diabetes, hemochromatosis, or Addison disease. 

    Once you rule that out (after consulting a doctor), you may try the following elbow skincare tips to even out your skin tone. 

    1. Choose gentle products 

    Your skincare product may be irritating the skin surrounding your elbows. Hence, be sure to choose ones that are gentle. Also, don’t forget to moisturize. Not sure which products are right for you? Don’t hesitate to ask your dermatologist. 

    2. Exfoliate

    As mentioned earlier, dead skin cells can make the elbows appear darker. So, consider exfoliating once or twice a week. 

    You may do this with cloth or loofah. Sugar scrubs are also good exfoliating agents. Remember not to rub or scrub too hard. 

    You may also check out some skincare products that contain exfoliating agents, such as glycolic acid, azelaic acid, retinoid, vitamin C, and kojic acid. Just be careful since these products can cause peeling and irritation. As always, it’s best to get product recommendations from your dermatologist. 

    3. Wear sunscreen

    Even if you don’t have a dark elbow, applying sunscreen is a must, especially if your skin is uncovered and you’ll spend time outdoors. Experts suggest choosing products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. 

    4. Try some home remedies

    If you don’t want to use chemicals for whitening, you may want to try home remedies that some studies say are effective:

    • Aloe vera, since it contains “potent skin depigmenting agents”
    • Citrus fruits, which may be effective for hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure. 
    • Soy, which may help reduce the appearance of dark spots and patches 
    • Green tea 

    Of course, we need further information to determine if these ingredients are truly effective. Before using them, don’t forget to do a patch test first to see if you react negatively to them. 

    Key Takeaways

    If you have a dark elbow, you have to first determine whether it’s caused by an underlying health condition that needs treatment. If not, you may consider some elbow skincare tips, such as exfoliation, wearing sunscreen, choosing gentle products, and home remedies using aloe vera, soy, citrus fruits, and green tea.

    Learn more about Skin Care and Cleansing here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Dexter Macalintal, MD

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated May 11, 2022

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