Hello, this is a great website, thanks for your hard work. My problem is that my hand knuckles are darker than the rest of my hand, please tell me the causes of such case and how can I treat it. Thanks.

Skin contains cells known as melanocytes. These produce melanin, the pigment, which gives the skin its brown color. However, certain conditions can cause abnormalities in the melanocytes or their distribution causing the skin to appear pale or darker than the surrounding area. In most cases, discoloration of skin is harmless and can be treated with some simple home remedies.

Often mistaken for a suntan, darkening of the skin appears very often at pressure points, such as in your case the knuckles, it can also occur at the elbows or knees. This type of skin pigmentation is called hyper-pigmentation and is quite natural. However, it is advisable to visit a dermatologist, if the condition persists. The following four factors could lead to hyper-pigmentation: exposure to the sun, use of some medications, endocrine diseases such as Addison's syndrome, or vitiligo.

A number of non-prescription creams are available in the market that could reduce the skin pigmentation. Make sure to follow the instructions on the pack and discontinue usage after three weeks as continuous usage could damage your skin. Use sun-blocks and sunscreens when going outdoors. Lemon is a natural skin lightening agent. Cut a lemon in half and dip it in a mixture of glycerin, oatmeal or sugar. Gently scrub your knuckles with the lemon. Leave the mixture on your knuckles for about fifteen minutes. Rinse with rosewater or plain water. Your hands will feel soft and the lemon will reduce the pigmentation. Since this is a natural treatment, you can repeat it everyday before going to bed. Green papaya is another natural remedy to lighten the skin. Don’t worry if you cannot find green papaya, you can use the ripe ones too with good effect. Mash the papaya and apply the paste onto your knuckles. Leave it on for about twenty minutes and then rinse. Besides skin lightening, Papaya also exfoliates the skin. Alternately, you can apply some buttermilk or curd to your hands for about ten to fifteen minutes. Wash with a mild soap and water to remove excessive greasiness of the buttermilk or curd.  You can also prepare a homemade moisturizer using aloe vera mixed with a small amount of almond oil. Apply the moisturizer before going to bed and let it remain overnight. Licorice contains glabridin, which is effective in skin lightening. Use the extract of licorice two times a day, for around ten minutes, on your knuckles to reduce pigmentation.

answered by G M

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