Seeing dark knuckles on manicured hands can be frustrating. Though common among dark-skinned people yet anyone can have them. Many internal and external factors contribute to this hyperpigmentation. One of them is the increasing of melanin synthesis. The more the melanin, the darker the color of your skin. Using bleaching products can worsen the pigmentation further. Preventing dark knuckles is possible only when you know what causes them. That’s what we have covered in our next section.

What Causes Dark Knuckles?  

1. Deficiency of Vitamin B12

According to a 2016 study, Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to knuckle pigmentation. The good news is that such a condition is reversible. Including more Vitamin B12 rich foods can help treat the condition.

Some of the foods packed with Vitamin B12 are dairy, fish, meat, poultry etc.

2. Diabetes

If you’re diabetic, you may have black knuckles. People having risk factors of diabetes can also develop such dark patches. Altered insulin levels in your body leads to hyperpigmentation on skin.

3. Hormonal Imbalance

When adrenal glands fail to produce enough steroid hormones, the skin color gets darkened. The darkened skin, oftentimes, appear near the knuckles.

4. Medications

Certain medications like glucocorticosteroids, anticoagulants, contraceptive pills, and protease inhibitors can cause dark knuckles. However, the darkening of the knuckles heal as you stop taking the medicine causing it.

5. Acanthosis Nigricans (AN)

Darkened and thickened patches on folds and joints including the knuckles is called Acanthosis Nigricans. This condition is not infectious and can happen to people of any age. Generally, native American populations, Hispanic, Carribean, and African are affected by such a condition.

Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Dark Knuckles

1. Curd and Almond

Dark Knuckles

Almonds are packed with calcium, omega-3, magnesium, zinc, and more. They lighten the skin slowly and fade blemishes and dark spots.

Curds have lactic acid working as an exfoliator. Moreover, the mild bleaching effect that curd has lessens the appearance of dark patches on knuckles.

How to Use?

Crush 3-4 almonds. Mix them with curd to make a thick paste. Rub this paste for 10 minutes on your knuckles. Do this daily for getting fairer skin quickly.

2. Sugar and Lemon Juice

The exfoliating properties of sugar helps you remove dry and dead skin cells. Similarly, lemon juice has bleaching properties, which work as a natural skin lightening agent.

How to Use?

Mix 1 teaspoon of sugar with 2-3 drops of lemon juice. Scrub this paste for 5 minutes on the affected area. Wait for 10 minutes. Then, wash it off. For best results, practice this every day.

3. Egg White

Loaded with vital oxidants, egg white can be effective for treating dark knuckles.

How to Use?

Take only the white portion of an egg in a bowl. Add 1 spoon of honey and one spoon of gram flour to it. Mix all the ingredients nicely to make a smooth paste. Apply this paste. Keep it for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

4. Baking Soda and Rose Water

Dark Knuckles

Baking soda is rich in astringent properties. Consequently, its use improves your skin tone. Rose water also brightens your skin naturally.

How to Use?

Add a pinch of baking soda to 2-3 drops of rose water in a bowl. Mix both the ingredients. Start rubbing this paste on your knuckles. Use cold water to rinse it off.

Do this twice daily to remove dark patches on knuckles.

5. Orange Peel

Orange peel acts as a skin lightening agent. It also has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties that treat acne effectively.

Also Read

25 Tips on How to Get Rid of Acne Fast and Naturally

How to Use?

Dry a few orange peels under the sun for several days. Once dried, grind them to make orange peel powder. Add 2 spoons of glycerin to 3 spoons of orange peel powder. Apply it on the affected area to treat the darkness.

6. Gooseberry Extract

Dark Knuckles

Presence of vitamin C in gooseberries lightens the complexion.

How to Use?

Take one cup of water. Boil 2-3 gooseberries –in it for 5 minutes. Let it cool. Soak one cotton ball in that boiled water. Massage with it for a few minutes. Leave it for 30 minutes. Rinse well. Do twice daily for best results.

7. Potato Pack

Enriched with natural bleaching properties, potatoes can effectively reduce dark spots and pigmentation.

How to Use?

Slice a potato. Rub a few pieces on the darkened area. Rinse it off after a while. You will instantly observe that the darkened skin has been lightened to some extent.

8. Tomato

Dark Knuckles

Like potatoes, tomatoes also help in lightening the upper layer of your skin. It also makes your skin looks brighter by balancing its pH level.

How to Use?

Squeeze a tomato. Rub its juice on your knuckles. Let it dry completely. Rinse it off. Do this once daily to enjoy bright knuckles.

9. Milk Cream

Milk cream is another remedy for lightening your dark knuckles.

How to Use?

Add 2 teaspoon of milk cream to a pinch of turmeric powder. Apply this paste on your hands. Wait for 15 minutes. Use lukewarm water to rinse it off. Practice this twice weekly to brighten black knuckles.

10. Aloe Vera

Dark Knuckles

According to a study published in the International Journal of Pharmacognosy, aloe vera can minimize pigmentation.

How to Use?

Extract the aloe vera gel. Apply it on the blackened area. Let it sit there for 20 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water. Repeat daily for a few weeks. Do not immediately step out in the sun after applying aloe vera gel.

Over-the-Counter Topical Remedies to Treat Dark Knuckles

Generally, the OTC remedies have lipohydroxy acid or hydroquinone to treat black patches on knuckles. Most of them need to use on a long-term basis to get results. Among them, these two give the best results.

a) Topical Vitamin D compounds

b) Topical retinoids

Other effective skin-lightening ingredients present in drugs are 4-n-butylresorcinol and SMA-432. However, consult your doctor before using any of the medicines said above. Your doctor is the best person to devise a good treatment plan for you.

Lifestyle Tips to Prevent Dark Knuckles

a) Avoid Over-Washing Your Hands

Scrubbing your hands often under water can worsen the condition further. You may have heard that buildup of dirt can cause dark knuckles. But, this isn’t true. So, washing your hands excessively won’t do you any good.

b)  Wear Sunscreen Every Day

Sunscreen prevents additional darkening. Slather sunscreen on the knuckles after every two hours to reverse tanning. If you have any confusion regarding how to use the right SPF, read our detailed guide here.

c) Exfoliate the Knuckles Daily

Use an exfoliating scrub containing alpha-hydroxy acid to exfoliate your knuckles once weekly. You can also use sugar and oil for exfoliating. After applying, rinse it off with mild soap and water.

d) Don’t Use Ingredients Causing Allergies

Licorice extract, kojic acid, and arbutin can improve the skin tone. However, they’re also known for causing allergic reactions.

e) Moisturize

Knuckle hyperpigmentation can be healed using keratolytic-infused moisturizers. Plus, such a moisturizer will lock in moisture, leaving your skin soft and supple.


Can Scrub Clear Dark Knuckles?

The direct answer is YES. Scrubbing removes dead skin cells. It brings natural glow to your skin.

What Oil is Good for Dark Knuckles?

Olive oil, coconut oil, and almond oil, all contain Vitamin E. Vitamin E is essential for repairing damaged and darkened skin cells. Hence, you can use anyone of these three oils to treat knuckle hyperpigmentation.

Can You Use Vaseline for Dark Knuckles?

Applying melted Vaseline right after exfoliation can solve the issue. For better and fast result, mix the melted Vaseline with aloe vera gel or almond oil. No need to wash it off.

You can also make this moisturizer and keep it for use in an airtight container. When stored in such a way, you can use it for minimum 2-3 months.

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