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Dark Knees: Causes and Treatment Options

woman with healthy skin on her legs

Look, we get it—you spend your whole life in this body. It’s hard not to over-analyze everything about it. Especially with the constant pressure of social media, where everyone seems to be perfectly posed in a private jet somewhere and also wearing a bikini.

Which… Well, let’s not get into it. The point is, any little imperfection can very easily start to feel like something major and serious when it’s simply not.

A great example of this is hyperpigmentation of your knees. If you find that these joints are a bit darker than other parts of your body, it can start to feel like a flaw, rather than an absolutely normal thing that’s actually very common, especially in people with melanin-rich skin tones.

But while it most likely isn’t a major issue or even something to be concerned about, we totally get how it can still feel like something you want to change—so if you have hyperpigmentation of your knees, this is the guide for you!

What Causes Hyperpigmentation in Knees?

Hyperpigmentation, especially when it comes to deeper skin tones, is a really common struggle with a wide variety of causes and solutions. But when it comes to hyperpigmentation around your knees, as opposed to around your face, it’s actually less likely to be due to something that requires serious treatment.

Most knee discoloration is the result of very normal things those parts of your body are exposed to!

Hyperpigmentation on your knees can be caused by something as simple as dead skin cells—after all, we don’t often think of our knees as needing exfoliation. It can also be due to really routine things like friction, too much sun, or as the result of a reaction to an injury or break in your skin. Even something as simple as dryness can cause the skin around your knees to darken.

Of course, there are other slightly more serious causes, but honestly—noticing the hyperpigmentation on your knees is most likely not the way you’re going to discover you have a condition such as a hormonal imbalance or eczema. You will probably have experienced other symptoms first.

However, as always, if you feel like your hyperpigmentation is serious and recurring, it’s always worth speaking to your doctor or dermatologist. Even if there (hopefully!) ends up being a very simple solution, the peace of mind that comes with speaking to a professional is worth your while.

How Do You Treat Hyperpigmentation?

If you have hyperpigmentation on your knees, you might be wondering what you can do about it. If you’re certain you don’t have any underlying conditions that need to be treated, there are a number of very simple skincare saviors you can add to your beauty regimen to help you even out your skin tone.

We often make the mistake of thinking skincare isn’t important from the neck down, but this couldn’t be less true! The overall health of your skin is important, and if you’re suffering from dryness or any other issue with your knees, it’s definitely worth addressing—especially if it’s making you feel insecure.

If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. We have three easy steps to help you make sure your skin is clear and even from head to toe.

1. Use a Chemical Exfoliant

As we said, it’s pretty easy to remember to exfoliate your face. Remembering to exfoliate the rest of your body? Difficult. Remembering to exfoliate less-trafficked areas like your knees? Almost impossible.

But if you’re struggling with hyperpigmentation in those areas, exfoliating can really help. If you’re a veteran when it comes to exfoliating your face, you’re probably aware that there are two different ways to properly exfoliate—chemical, and physical, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

We recommend starting with our BrighterDays Dark Spot 8% AHA Polish . AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acid, which here means a powerful blend of brightening ingredients that will encourage cell turnover to smooth and buff your skin to a more even tone.

2. Use a Physical Exfoliant

After you’ve used your BrighterDays Polish, try a physical exfoliant to take your skin the extra mile, and keep it clean. We recommend our Clear and Even Tone Body Cleansing Bar , which comes with an exfoliating pouch or the Even Tone Cleansing Bar, which comes in a sponge for a gentle massage.

One of the best things about this is it’s two steps in one—cleanser and exfoliation. It includes some brightening ingredients like Lactic Acid and Niacinamide, as well as several gentle, hydrating oils and extracts to make sure your skin doesn’t get irritated from all this extra attention.

3. Protect All Your Hard Work

Especially if you don’t live in a particularly sunny climate (a girl can dream!) it’s easy to leave sunscreen out of your daily routine. Even if you’re a pro at remembering to protect your face from the sun’s harmful rays, if you’re not going to be spending all your time outdoors, making sure your body is protected by SPF might not be very high up on your priority list. But we’re here to tell you that it should be!

Applying SheerGlow™ Even Tone Daily Defense Mineral Moisturizer any time your knees are showing can go a long way toward preventing and helping you to address hyperpigmentation in those areas. SheerGlow is a 100 percent mineral-active sunscreen that works on all skin tones to protect skin from harmful sun damage which can cause or exacerbate hyperpigmentation.

All that said, there are many options out there for tackling hyperpigmentation—and which one works for you will depend on many personal and individual factors.

But there are a few things you should avoid at all costs if you’re concerned about hyperpigmentation. These things are hydrogen peroxide, mercury and steroids. While they may work for other issues, they could make your hyperpigmentation worse, or even damage your skin.

How Do You Keep Hyperpigmentation From Coming Back?

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again over and over again—the best way to guard against blemishes and dark spots on your skin, including hyperpigmentation on your knees, is to wear SPF!

SPF also protects you from things like premature aging, harsh sunburns and developing skin conditions, so really, it’s a superhero when it comes to skincare and the one thing you should never be without.

It’s also important to remember that even if the sky looks overcast, harmful UV rays can still affect your skin, so it’s better to get into the habit of applying SPF daily than to apply it based on the weather.

We also hope you’re doing this anyway, but especially if you’re exfoliating your knees frequently to combat hyperpigmentation, it’s important to keep your skin from drying out.

Moisturize your knees, elbows and other problem areas at least once a day—more if you live in a dry climate, or if you’re noticing flaking and irritation as a result of hyperpigmentation treatments.

Boost Vitamin Intake

Beyond skincare, there are a couple of vitamins you can focus on when it comes to your diet to ensure your body is getting the boost it needs to get your skin where you want it to be. Vitamin E is great for skin health, and it also may help when it comes to lessening the damage caused by sun exposure.

You can get Vitamin E from many common foods. It’s in green veggies, like broccoli and spinach, and it’s also found in seeds and nuts, like sunflower seeds or hazelnuts. Certain oils made from Vitamin E-rich nuts and seeds can also provide the Vitamin E boost you’re looking for.

Vitamin A is another great, healthy boost for your skin. Vitamin A supports not just your skin, but also your eyes and your reproductive health, so making sure you’re getting enough in your diet can really help you all around!

Both Vitamin A and Vitamin E can be taken in supplement form if you’re really looking to take your battle against dark knees and overall hyperpigmentation up a notch. However, it’s important to check with your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you’re already taking any medication.

In Conclusion

Hyperpigmentation on your knees can be incredibly frustrating! You might have your facial skincare routine down pat, but our bodies need a bit of love and care too.

If you’re unhappy with hyperpigmentation on your knees, giving these problem areas a little extra time and a place in your skincare regimen can be just the ticket.