Regular bathing is vital to keep the skin and the body clean and healthy. Bathing and scrubbing helps eliminate dirt, oil, dead skin cells and germs from the skin. Our skin constantly gets renewed as dead skin cells are shed from the body and new ones form itself about once a month. These dead skin cells can easily be removed by exfoliation and basic hygiene, such as bathing with a mild soap, water and loofah. If you would not wash any of the area of your skin regularly and properly, these dead skin cells may build up dark patches that are often scaly and rough. Symptoms may get worse the longer a person does not clean properly. Also secondary infections and other skin disorders can arise if these dark patches are left untreated.
While quickies are perfectly fine during bath, however there are likely to be areas of your body, such as elbows and knees which take a few extra minutes to make sure they are well clean. The black patches on our elbows and knees are a build-up of different components including oil secreted by the skin called sebum, dirt, sweat and moisture, dead skin cells, bacteria and other germs, pollution, such as smoke and fumes etc. So the basic reason behind formation of these patches is lack of personal hygiene. The dark, scaly, slightly raised, rough or waxy skin do not develop overnight, they take a few months to develop.
How to prevent dark elbows and knees
Prevention is often as simple as regularly cleaning the skin. Exfoliating your elbows and knees with a mild soap, water and loofah while taking a bath or shower may help remove dead skin cells and leave the surface feeling rejuvenated. It can help prevent the build-up of dirt, sebum and bacteria on the skin. Taking more than one shower each day may also work well in warmer months or after doing physically demanding work or exercise. Always apply coconut oil on the skin after having bath. This oil hydrates and moisturises skin and prevents dryness. The vitamin E content in coconut oil repairs and lightens skin colour.
How to cure dark elbows and knees
Simple cases with no complications can be treated with regular cleaning and exfoliation. As the dead skin cells and other wastes scrape off the elbows and knees, you will start noticing the results over a few weeks. However if this problem does not get cured with this simple solution, you will have to apply certain ingredients easily available at home.
· If it is a dark hyperpigmentation, rub your elbows and knees with isopropyl alcohol. Although the condition does not pose any serious medical threat, it is cosmetically distressing. Areas of dark brown hyperpigmentation could be completely rubbed off with isopropyl alcohol.
· Mix well one tablespoon of raw whole milk with one tablespoon of baking soda. Apply this paste on your knees and elbows and rub gently for three to five minutes. Wash off with water. Repeat the process every alternate day till your skin lightens.
· Take two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and two tablespoons of water. Mix the two well. Apply this solution on your knees and elbows. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then rinse off. Try this remedy on alternate days to see the difference in skin colour.
· Potato and cucumber have mild acidic qualities that can lighten dark patchy skin. Take two tablespoons of fresh potato juice and two tablespoons of fresh cucumber juice (extract the juice of cucumber and potato by grating them, pressing and squeezing out their juice). Add equal amount of lemon juice. Mix all well. Apply on the affected areas and give a rest of 30 minutes. Rinse off with water. Repeat this remedy alternate days till your elbows and knees whiten.
· Dry the peel of oranges in sunlight. Grind it to powder. Take two tablespoons of orange peel powder, two tablespoons of rose water and two tablespoons of raw whole milk. Mix all well. Scrub this paste on your knees and elbows thrice a week. Rinse with water after 15 minutes. Your dark elbows and knees will lighten.
· Make a thick scrub adding coconut oil and walnut powder. Apply it on elbows and knees thrice a week. Scrub for two to three minutes. Clean with water. This will lighten the colour of your knees and elbows.
· Make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda mixing equal quantities of both ingredients. These two ingredients have bleaching properties, making a great combination to cure this problem of dark knees and elbows. Rub the paste for three to five minutes, then rinse off. It will also remove hardened and dead skin.
· Mix two teaspoons of gram flour, a pinch of turmeric powder, one teaspoon of malai and few drops of lemon. Rub this paste on your dark elbows and knees thrice a week for 15 minutes till they whiten. Rinse with water.
· Take out fresh aloe vera gel from an aloe leaf. Mix it with two tablespoons of yogurt and half pinch of turmeric powder. Apply it on dark elbows and knees. Leave for 30 minutes. Wash off with water. Repeat on alternate days for best results.
Depending upon the severity of the case, it may take a few weeks to resolve this problem. If this self-care is difficult due to any reason, such as, old age, post operation issues or disability of body organs, you can consider hiring a caregiver or ask a loved one for help during this time. Apply coconut oil after every wash or scrub. Besides whitening, it will help moisturising your elbows and knees.
Severe cases may require some topical medicine to break down tough dark patches on elbows and knees. These treatments are typically salicylic acid or glycolic acid, which can be bought over the counter in low concentrations. Even then, if the problem does not get solved, dermatologist may prescribe stronger concentrations or different compounds to break up scales and dark deposits on elbows and knees.
If these dark and scaly skin patches start to wreck, bleed or ooze, it may be a sign of infection. These symptoms should be reported to a doctor or dermatologist for treatment.