How to Get Rid of Dark Elbows

Sun exposure and a build-up of dead skin cells can cause the skin on your elbows to appear darker than the rest of your body. If this causes you hassle during the summer months because you’re embarrassed to be seen in a t-shirt, don’t fret! There are several natural remedies and skin care techniques outlined below which you can use to get rid of dark elbows (and knees!) for good.


Using Home Remedies

  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:
    Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • 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 on 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 sink in.
    • Wash off the lemon juice with some warm water. As lemon juice can be drying, you should moisturize the area with petroleum jelly.
    • Repeat this every day until the dark skin begins to fade. You should see a significant difference within a couple of weeks.
  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 Rid of Dark Elbows Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • Get some heavy cream (or milk with a high fat content) and boil it until it is thick and 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 off.
    • Be aware that turmeric can dye the skin a yellowish-orange color, but this will fade after a day or two.
  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. Try mixing yogurt and vinegar. Yogurt and vinegar contain lactic and acetic acid which both help with lightening skin color.
    Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • To use, combine one teaspoon of yogurt with one teaspoon of white vinegar and mix until they form a paste.
    • Apply to elbows, rubbing in a circular motion. Leave for 20 minutes, then rinse off and moisturize.
  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 and add a small amount of water to the mixture. Use a brush or your hand to apply the mixture on the dark skin of your elbows. Wait for 10 to 20 minutes for the mixture to dry off. Rinse and wash it off. Use a dry (and clean) cloth to dry.

Exfoliating and Moisturizing

  1. Scrub your elbows. Scrubbing your elbows helps to remove dry, flaky skin cells which become trapped in the elbow crease, causing skin to darken.
    Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Use a loofah or wash cloth to exfoliate your elbows, along with an exfoliating shower gel.
    • 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. Moisturize your skin after scrubbing. Dry skin causes skin to darken, so remember to keep your elbows moisturized!
    Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Moisturize after each shower or bath (as hot water can be drying) and before you go to bed at night. For best results, use lotions which contain shea butter, jojoba oil or olive oil.
    • Another, more intensive ay to moisturize your elbows is to apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly, coconut oil or pure shea butter to your elbows before bed. Then cut the toes off some cotton tube socks and slide the socks over your arm to cover your elbow.
    • Leave the sock on your elbows as you sleep, then remove in the morning. This will prevent the moisturizer from rubbing off onto your bed sheets and will also provide extra heat, which will help your skin to absorb more moisture.
  3. Wear sunscreen. Sun exposure can cause damage skin and make the skin on elbows and knees darker, so it’s important to wear sunscreen everyday.
    Get Rid of Dark Elbows Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Although this is especially important during the sunny summer months, harmful UV rays are present even when it’s cloudy or raining, so your should wear sunscreen all year round.
    • Make sunscreen application part of your morning routine.


  • If the lemon juice stings unbearably, your skin might be dry, in which case you need to moisturize it with petroleum jelly the night before you use the lemon.
  • You can also replace the heavy cream with buttermilk and the turmeric with ground oatmeal and two ground almonds.


  • Be careful; turmeric will stain.

Things You’ll Need

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

Sources and Citations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *