Dark Knuckles Causes, Remedies and How to Reduce Them

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Dark knuckles are hardly “sinister patches” as one blogger put it, but they can be unwanted by some people. Contrary to what some may think, dark knuckles are not a result of dirt accumulation, neither because of a skin condition such as eczema nor very often a result of a medical condition such as acanthosis nigricans.

Dark knuckles

Catholic knees, a colloquial term for kneeling too much on Sundays, as a result having darker knees, knocking on doors, wearing ill-fitting shoes or skin trauma are all specific injuries. Yet most often you would find that a person with dark knuckles also has darker knees and darker elbows. It is simply and most usually genetic hyper-pigmentation of the skin in certain areas.

Excessive washing, friction to the skin, and sun exposure may all play a part in worsening the condition but are not causes of it.

If your dark knuckles are a serious problem for you, there are some remedies that may help. Though they are temporary and only improve the appearance minimally.

How to reduce dark knuckles


Gently. Viciously scrubbing at your dark knuckles does not help. In fact, it works to the contrary making one of three things happen: either your skin gets thicker, darker, or both. When you scrub too hard at your knuckles, your skin gets thicker and darker meaning you are achieving the exact opposite of what you want.


Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and can be used anywhere on your body. Like the rest of your body, your knuckles also benefit from a gentle exfoliator.


Use a good lotion that revitalizes your skin. One site suggests dabbing a thick layer of lotion on your knuckles and leaving it on for 5 minutes then rubbing it in or cleaning it off. They also suggest using shea butter for its skin lightening properties.

Whatever moisturizer you choose, it wouldn’t hurt to pick one that lightens the skin and locks in moisture.

Use sunscreen

Sunscreen should be applied daily anyway to protect your skin from harmful rays. Be sure to add some on especially on your knuckles.

Home remedies

Before we continue, keep in mind that certain commodities like lemon or baking soda can be harsh and drying on your skin. Be careful to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

Lemon remedies

1. Sugar and lemon

Sugar is ideal for an exfoliating scrub and lemon for bleaching the skin. Mix 1 spoon sugar and the ½ a lemon’s juice. Apply on your hands and feet in a circular motion on the affected area for at least five minutes.

Some suggest doing it daily for at least 2 weeks, others a few times a week.

2. Honey and lemon

Looking for some natural bleach? You’ve found it. Honey nourishes your skin while the lemon lightens it.

Take one spoon of honey and one spoon of lemon juice and mix. Apply the mix on your hands and toes and leave on for about 10 minutes.

Do this every day or a few times a week.

Oil remedies

1. Almond oil

Almond oil is known to clean and nourish your skin. It also has properties that help to lighten and soften your skin.

A couple of drops on your palm is enough to massage it into your hands and feet, rapidly rubbing in a circular motion on the knuckles.

Almond oil can be used daily.

2. Organic coconut oil

This has the same lightening effects of almond oil while also great at keeping in moisture.

You can use it as a mask on your hands and feet, leaving it on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Rosewater treatment

1. Baking soda and rose water

Rosewater is a beneficial agent that maintains the skin’s pH. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the effects of irritated skin, acne, dermatitis, and eczema.

Mix 1 tsp of rose water and 1 tbsp. of baking soda, then soak your hands and feet in it for about 5 minutes.

Dip a slice of lemon into glycerin and rub on your knuckles. Rinse off with cool water. Use twice a week.

2. Rosewater, baking soda, and glycerin

Add 1 tsp rose water, 1 tbsp. baking soda and 1 tsp of glycerin into a bowl of warm water. Soak your hands and feet for approximately 10 minutes.

Use once a week or more for softer, lighter knuckles.


1. Milk cream

A topical application of milk on the skin works to reduce pigmentation. This is due to the lactic acid.

Using 2 tbsp. of milk cream, gently massage into the dark knuckles for 5 minutes then leave it to dry. Rinse with lukewarm water or sleep overnight with the mixture on your hands and feet.

2. Milk cream and vitamin E

Vitamin E is helpful in reducing skin discoloration while simultaneously nourishing the skin.

Buy vitamin E capsules. As this is a topical treatment, take 1 capsule and add it to a tsp of milk cream. Apply and massage for 10 minutes.

Pumice stone

The pumice stone is a dark stone used to remove dead skin cells that appear on the top layer of the skin.

1. Pumice stone scrub

They are often used in pedicures. However, more regular use is necessary for quicker results. Scrub your knuckles with the stone daily in the bath. Results should be clearly visible in one month.

2. Egg white pack and pumice stone massage

This mixture is beneficial for the knuckles and the pumice stone rub makes it more so.

Take 1 tbsp. spoon of honey, 2 tsps. of gram flour and 1 egg white and mix into a thick paste. Apply the mixture and leave on for 20 minutes.

Take the pumice stones, dip it in water and scrub the affected area.

Rinse with cool water and apply 2-3 times a week.

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