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Rid That Sandpaper Effect

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Rid That Sandpaper Effect
September 21
10:09 2016

Article Highlights

  • The cause of dark elbows and knees is multiple but is usually related to genetics and skin type
  • People who have dark skin naturally are more prone to this problem
  • Dermatologists often recommend creams and moisturizers that contain alpha, salicylic or beta hydroxyl acids, and urea

When It Comes To Treating Darkness And Dryness Of The Knees And Elbows, Patience Is Indeed A Virtue

You’ve tried pretty much everything possible. You scrub them down in the shower and bath. You apply creams multiple times daily. Just when you think you’re making progress, the problem comes back. And it’s driving you up the wall.

You just can’t seem to remove the dryness and darkness from your elbows and knees.

However, don’t fret or stress. Darkness and dryness in elbows and knees is a common problem. You’re not the only one who is experiencing this frustration, so do not feel embarrassed.

There are many reasons why the skin on your elbows and knees become dark and dry. This may be caused by a hereditary trait, an accumulation of dead skin, sweat and dirt, too much exposure to the sun, inadequate skin care, additional tension on your elbows and knees, poor posture while sitting down or leaning over, and side effects of medications. Some darkness is also caused by skin redundancy, which is natural and necessary for your knees and elbows to bend. You should always take into consideration that your elbows and knees are joints which have numerous creases in the skin where residue can amass, leading to the drying and darkening of the skin.

Dr. Jason K. Rivers is a dermatologist at the Vancouver-based Pacific Dermaesthetics skin treatment clinic, and the President of the Canadian Society for Dermatologic Surgery. He points out that this problem is predominantly hereditary.

“The cause of dark elbows and knees is multiple but is usually related to genetics and skin type,” Dr. Rivers says. “That is, people who have dark skin naturally are more prone to this problem.”

Chemical peels are common and well-known treatments.

“A chemical peel may help with exfoliation of the skin thus reducing the excessive pigment,” Dr. Rivers explains. “Bear in mind that too aggressive a treatment may actually worsen the situation.

With this, opinions vary among dermatologists on chemical peels, with some doctors questioning the effectiveness of the procedure.

For solutions at home, dermatologists often recommend creams and moisturizers that contain alpha, salicylic or beta hydroxyl acids, and urea. Avène Akérat and Carmol 20 are a couple of examples of creams that include these key components, such as urea.

While these creams might be effective, you should always check with your dermatologist or doctor if you meet the requirements for using them, especially prescribed moisturizers, such as Tri-Luma.

While Dr. Rivers agrees with some of the suggestions mentioned above, he has his own recommendations.

“Temporary improvement may be seen by means of creams that help to exfoliate the skin or reduce existing pigment,” Dr. Rivers says. “The mainstay of treatment would be a topical Vitamin A derivative, [like] tretinoin. This has the effect of causing some exfoliation and helps to reduce pigment production. At times a compound cream with hydroquinone (a bleaching agent) may also be prescribed. The best method of treatment is to use a mild cleanser to the skin and then to apply a moisturizer immediately thereafter. Generally most moisturizers will help but consider those with ceramides or urea.”

Dr. Rivers cautions that those patients whose problems are hereditary may not see any substantial results, while most patients should not expect immediate results.

“It depends on the cause of the pigmentation. If it is genetic, then none of the agents may have a significant effect on lightening the skin,” Dr. Rivers maintains. “For post inflammatory pigment, most of the ingredients mentioned would have some benefit – though it takes many months to see improvement.”

So there is definitely hope for you to improve the condition of your elbows and knees. However, like Dr. Rivers said, people should not expect immediate results and remain patient.

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