Can Aloe Vera Gel Lighten Dark Knees?

aloe vera can lighten dark knees

Some studies have found that aloe vera gel might be useful in healing first to second-degree burns, including mild sunburns [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Eczema, cold sores, dry skin and psoriasis are other skin conditions that aloe vera is suggested to be beneficial for [6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

Many people claim that aloe vera gel can also lighten dark knees!

How accurate is this? Can applying aloe vera help you get rid of dark patches on your knees?

What does science say about the (claimed) skin-lightening properties of aloe vera?

The Immediate Answer

The short answer is, ” Yes, aloe vera gel may lighten dark knees. In other words, applying aloe vera topically may help you get rid of the dark patches on and around your knees.


Is It Evidence-Based?

It is important to indicate that there is a limited number of studies that support the effectiveness of aloe vera on lightening dark spots.

To our knowledge, there are only 3 studies on this topic, one of which is an animal study.

In one study – published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology –researchers suggested that the aloesin compound in aloe vera can be effective to stop sun-induced hyperpigmentation (darker patches of the skin).

Another study – published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science – found that aloesin prevented hyperpigmented laboratory-made human skin from producing more melanin.



As mentioned above, there is not enough scientific research to draw any firm conclusions as to whether or not aloe vera can lighten dark knees.

For this reason, we say ” Aloe vera “might” be an effective way to lighten dark-knees “.

Nevertheless, the findings of the studies, which we mentioned above, are pointing that aloe vera can be a natural way to lighten dark knees.

We will review these studies to find out why researchers suggested that aloe vera might be used as an agent to inhibit excess production of melanin, which can bring on dark spots, dark knees and dark underarms.

If you want to try aloe vera as a natural remedy for darkened knees, below we will also tell you how you can apply it. Before we go into the details, let’s go over the basics of dark knees.


Dark Knees

Dark knees occur when the skin around the knees becomes darker than the rest of the body. This is a form of hyperpigmentation, which can also happen in other areas of the skin, such as elbows, hands, and face (11, 12, 13).

Hyperpigmentation is caused by excessive melanin production. Briefly, melanin is a pigment that determines the hair, eye and skin colour of a person (14, 15).

It is important to note that dark knees are mostly harmless and common (16).

Everyone can develop dark knees or dark elbows; yet, they often happen to people with darker skin tones (17, 18). This is because people with darker skin tones tend to produce more melanin compared to those with lighter skin tones.


What Causes Dark Knees?

Above, we indicated that excessive melanin production causes dark knees.

Why does the skin produce too much melanin around certain parts of the body such as elbows, knees and make them appear darker than the rest of the body?

Many things can cause the skin to produce abnormally high amounts of melanin either in the knees or other parts of the body.

Below we gathered some common causes of excessive melanin production.

  • Unprotected sun exposure
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Allergies
  • Chemical or physical injury
  • Diabetes
  • Accumulation of dead skin cells
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis


Aloe Vera & Dark Knees

We now know that dark knees aren’t harmful and everyone can experience it at some point in their lives.

Nevertheless, if your knees appear darker than the rest of your body, you may want to lighten them for personal aesthetic reasons.

Previously, we said that there are two studies, suggesting that aloe vera gel can help lighten dark knees. Here are the details of that studies.


A 2002 Study

In a study, conducted in 2002, researchers aimed to evaluate the inhibitory effect of aloesin – a compound found in aloe vera – on pigmentation in human skin that exposed to UV radiation.


The Details

A group of people whose inner forearms were exposed to UV radiation (sunlight) participated in the study.

Researchers divided the participants into 4 groups and applied different treatment methods.

  • The first group was administered aloesin.
  • The second group was administered arbutin (hydroquinone).
  • The third group was administered both aloesin and arbutin.
  • The fourth group was the control group and was given no treatment.

Treatments were administered 4 times a day for 15 days.


The Results of the Study

Aloesin administered group members showed 34% less skin pigmentation compared to the vehicle (control) group.

Arbutin administered group members showed 43.5% less skin pigmentation compared to the vehicle (control) group.

Both aloesin-arbutin administered group members showed 63.3% less skin pigmentation compared to the vehicle (control) group.



Upon the findings, researchers suggested that aloesin may be used as an agent that inhibits sun-induced melanin formation.


A Study With Lab-Made Human Skin

In this study, researchers aimed to observe the effects of aloesin on the production of melanin pigment.


The Details

In the study, laboratory-made pigmented human skin was used, instead of genuine human skin.

Researchers examined the effects of aloesin on tyrosinase activity and the formation of melanin in the lab-constructed human skin.


The Findings of the Study

The results showed that aloesin (found in aloe vera) had direct inhibitory effects on the production of melanin pigment and also revealed that aloesin provides dose-dependent reductions in melanin content.



Researchers noted that; aloesin showed promise in terms of reducing pigmentation for cosmetic or therapeutic applications.


How to Apply Aloe Vera To Lighten Dark Knees?

You can obtain aloe vera gel directly from the aloe vera plant or you can buy aloe vera gel in pharmacies or herbal stores.

In case you don’t know how to obtain aloe vera gel from the plant, this video may help you.

Once you have aloe vera:

Take 1 tablespoon of aloe vera and apply to your knees gently with clean hands. Do it a couple of times a day 3 to 4 days a week.


Side Effects of Applying Aloe Vera Topically

According to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health ( NCCIH ); topical use of aloe vera is safe for most people.

However, although it is rare, you may be allergic to aloe vera.

If you experience skin irritation after using it, stop applying aloe vera on your skin.


When to See Your Dermatologist?

You can try natural remedies such as aloe vera to lighten dark knees, dark elbows or dark underarms.

They may work and help reduce excess skin pigmentation, which can cause dark spots throughout the body.

Nevertheless, if dark knees or other dark patches on your body is causing real stress in you, we strongly recommend you to work with your dermatologist.

Your dermatologist will examine your skin and apply the best treatment according to the underlying cause. While you are there, you can also ask about the effectiveness of aloe vera gel in lightening dark knees.


Final Thoughts

Throughout the article, we discussed the effectiveness of aloe vera gel on reducing hyperpigmentation.

As mentioned earlier, since there is not enough scientific research on this topic, we can’t say aloe vera “will” or ” certainly can” lighten dark knees.

Having said that, based on the studies that we examined above, it should safe to say, aloe vera may be an effective and natural way to lighten dark knees and this is especially true if the cause is UV radiation. 

Assess the impact of aloe vera on your darkened knees yourself. It may work well for you. At least, aloe vera is not harmful.

For the best result, consult your dermatologist.


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