6 Ways To Naturally Lighten Dark Elbows Without Harsh Chemicals — PHOTOS

Elbows are another part of our body that are often ignored. Maybe we don't treat them as bad as we treat our armpits or feet, but they are often the part of our body we notice the least. It's no wonder that I've been tasked by numerous friends to find a way to lighten elbows. Lightening elbows is far easier than lightening your armpits since this part of your body is readily exposed to light and you're less likely to darken them with shaving and waxing. With so many lightening creams and gels on the market many people don't know that they can easily lighten their elbows on their own sans chemicals and without racking up a huge bill.

Elbows become dark for a variety of reasons and sadly, you may not be able to prevent it. Dry skin is a common reason why areas of our skin, particularly darker complexions, become dark. That's why exfoliating and moisturizing those 'bows should be a super important part of your beauty regimen. Another reason we often overlook is how much wear and tear our elbows get. As someone who has my elbows propped up as I write this, I can attest that my elbows get more friction than the rest of my arms. What's more, according to sources at Skin Discoloration Issues, genetics play an important role in being predisposed to dark elbows as well as medication and hormones.

You don't need to bleach the crap out of your elbows to lighten them up. In fact, bleaching can actually cause dryness which will only continue the cycle of bleaching. According to sources at Livestrong, continuous use of bleach can make skin irritated. Translation: dry AF. Fortunately, mama earth has plenty of ingredients that can save you pain, money, and elbow drama.

1. A Citrus Peel

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Citrus is a great natural lightening agent and since you're lightening your elbows, you don't really need to worry too much about the astringent properties causing irritation. The skin on our elbows are slightly rougher than the rest of our bods (hence, they're in desperate need of lightening) and the vitamin C certainly won't hurt those bows either. To use a citrus peel for your elbows, use either fresh lemon or lime juice or five drops of the essential oil and put it directly on a banana peel. Then rub the peel on your elbows for five minutes. This treatment is great before a shower. Keep your treatment on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

2. A Turmeric Paste

Turmeric is one of my besties when it comes to helping complexions, cysts, and just restoring youth into my face. Turmeric also has some serious lightening properties that can gently send you on your way to elbow perfection in just a few weeks — patience and diligence will get you there. Use three teaspoons of fennel with six ounces of boiling water (use less water for a stronger tonic). Next, strain the fennel seeds out and store your water. For each treatment, use one teaspoon of turmeric to one teaspoon of fennel tea and mix together. Rub directly on your elbows and leave on for three minutes. Repeat twice daily, keeping your fennel tea stored in the refrigerator for future use.

3. Milky Honey Bath

According to sources at the Skin Laboratory, lactic acid can be used for pigmentation problems to lighten dark areas. Lactic acid is commonly placed in chemical peels because of its lightening properties and it's naturally found in milk products and alternatives like coconut milk. Start with two tablespoons of raw honey and one half cup of milk in a bowl and mix vigorously. Use your milk honey in the shower and massage into your elbows. The honey will be soothing and hydrating to your dark 'bows. Add salt or sugar to your treatment to make an exfoliate.

4. Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is another natural exfoliate that helps brighten elbows. The kitchen cabinet staple helps remove dead skin cells and it's amazingly cheap. I've used baking soda as a weekly exfoliate for under my armpits and have loved the results. According to sources at Boldsky, baking soda can remove dead skin cells which will soften up your rough 'bows, too. Instead of making a baking soda paste with water, add enough milk to dry baking soda to form a paste for each elbow. Massage gently on your elbows and rinse well. This treatment should be used once a week. You can increase treatments if the baking soda isn't drying out your skin too much.

5. Tomato Treatment

Perhaps the easiest way to lighten your elbows is by simply using the juice from fresh tomatoes to rub on your elbows. Tomatoes have vitamins A, B, and C and are a powerhouse of antioxidant. According to sources at New Health Guide, tomatoes can rehabilitate damaged skin! They are magical. Use the juice twice daily directly on to your elbows. This treatment works great for some, but it definitely takes more commitment and patience than harsher treatments.

6. Potato Slice

Potatoes are great for gentle lightening of dark spots. They brighten dull skin and increase skin's elasticity for smooth, even skin tones. Cut a thick slice of potato and then soak your slice in lemon juice for five minutes before applying directly on your elbows. You can repeat this treatment twice daily until you start to see the results.

Image: Lisa Moffatt , _Libby_/Flickr; Kristin Collins Jackson