Instances of dark knuckles are widespread among people with dark skin complexions. Although, anyone can develop dark knuckles. This condition is usually harmless, but it can sometimes reveal underlying health conditions.
Dark patches of skin occur steadily due to hyperpigmentation, which happens when the skin produces more melanin than usual. Melanin pigment is the one that gives skin its color.
Sometimes, it does not have an apparent cause. However, it can signify a metabolic factor, side effect of medication, or an underlying infection for some people. This article discusses some possible causes of dark knuckles, treatments, home remedies, and when to see a doctor.
What Is Acanthosis Nigricans?
Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin condition that induces small patches of skin, often near the knuckles. It causes it to darken, thicken, and become velvety to the touch and usually takes months or years to occur. Also, it causes the skin to have a foul odor or itch.
Other areas where acanthosis nigricans expands to include armpits, neck, groin area, elbows, knees, bellybutton, beneath the breasts, face, and the female genitalia
Some people are more prone to get Acanthosis Nigricans than others. They include people who have overweight or obese, are of native American, African, Caribbean, or Hispanic descent, and have a family history of acanthosis nigrican.
Causes Of Dark Knuckles
Acanthosis Nigricans is not transferable or detrimental on its own. However, it can be a precursor to other medical cases, such as:
Prediabetes Or Diabetes
Darkening skin can portend that a person is beginning to develop diabetes. Several of those at risk for acanthosis nigrican are also at higher risk for diabetes.
Prediabetes implies that a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than usual. Suppose a doctor can identify prediabetes timely. In that case, a person may prevent full diabetes from evolving by formulating lifestyle changes.
Acanthosis Nigricans can also signify thyroid, adrenal or hormonal imbalance resulting in polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS can result in excess testosterone in women, leading to fertility issues, pelvic pain, acne, increased weight, and irregularities in the menstrual cycle.
If Acanthosis Nigricans develops suddenly, it may indicate cancer, specifically the stomach, liver, or colon.
Dermatomyositis is an unusual disease that affects the weakness of the muscle through ongoing inflammation of the muscle.
The most prominent symptom of Dermatomyositis is a patchy bluish-purple or red rash in areas of skin covering the muscles near the knuckles, elbows, heels, and toes.
Some other symptoms include muscle weakness and pain, calcium deposits under the skin – calcinosis, hard agonizing nodules, unexplained loss in weight, fever, and swollen lungs.
Dermatomyositis is not curable, but detection of it early can help lessen the symptoms and slow down its advancement.
Addison’s disease is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the body mistakenly attacks the adrenal glands, resulting in short cortisol and aldosterone levels.
An initial symptom of Addison’s disease is some areas of darker skin near scars and skin creases, such as the knuckles. This defect provides a timely indication, as it can develop months or years before any other symptoms.
Other symptoms of Addison’s disease include exhaustion, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, mood changes, irregular menstrual periods, and diarrhea. Addison’s disease can be managed with hormone replacement therapy to restore cortisol and aldosterone in the body system.
Deficiency In Vitamin B-12
Another factor that can also cause dark knuckles is dietary factors. A study in 2016 demonstrated that knuckle pigmentation is an outward sign of a deficiency in vitamin b-12.
Symptoms of Vitamin B-12 can also include fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss. It also results in a numbing and tingling sensation in the hands and feet.
A person diagnosed with a vitamin b-12 deficiency can modify their diet to include more foods high in vitamin b-12 nutrients such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and milk.
Vegetarians and vegans will probably need to include supplements of vitamin b-12 nutrients or enhanced foods to their nutriment to address their requirements daily.
Raynaud’s disease arises when blood vessels in the fingers or toes stop responding to stress or cold. This can result in blood trapped in the fingers, which can cause blue discoloration.
It sometimes occurs independently, but it can also be an auxiliary symptom of another health condition, such as scleroderma or arthritis.
It is also likely that reaction to some drugs can result in Acanthosis Nigricans. Some medications can cause hyperpigmentation if a person takes the wrong combination of drugs.
How Do You Lighten Dark Knuckles?
According to conventional wisdom, scrubbing or bleaching may be a quick fix for darkened knuckles. However, most store-bought bleaching products contain strong acids, which exacerbate discoloration.
The following are more effective ways to get rid of dark knuckles in the shortest time.
The treatment of the root causes
It’s critical to identify and address the root reasons for your black knuckles. As a result, seek medical advice as soon as possible. When the conditions that cause the black knuckles are correctly treated, they frequently fade.
For example, maintaining healthy body weight and maintaining blood sugar control will aid in managing illnesses such as diabetes, which will aid in the removal of knuckle hyperpigmentation.
For treating illnesses like Addison’s disease or immunosuppressants for other autoimmune disorders, dietary supplements for vitamin b12 deficiency or hormone replacement therapy may be required.
keeping your knuckles moisturized and applying sunscreen regularly to further prohibit darkening. In addition, the following simple home remedies can help you lighten knuckle hyperpigmentation.
Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate and vitamin e, which help lighten your dark complexion. Soak the green tea in warm water and apply it to your knuckles. You can use a mixture of green tea leaves with milk and rose water to help lighten the skin of your knuckles.
Known for its skin-lightening effect. Apply a paste of powdered Turmeric in water on your knuckles, leave it for a few minutes and wash off.
Apply baking soda paste with water and apply it on your knuckles for 2 minutes in a circular motion. Then, wash off and apply moisturizer.
Curd’s high lactic acid concentration can help brighten dark skin efficiently. Applying curd on your knuckles for 20 minutes before washing them off with warm water will help lighten your knuckles.
almonds are rich in vitamin e, and this helps in skin lightening. A combination of almond powder in rose water and application on knuckles regularly will make lighten your knuckles. Also, applying almond oil can have a similar effect.
Over the counter remedies
Over-the-counter drugs help produce faster results. However, they should be used only after due consultation with a dermatologist.
Also, be informed that lightening the skin of your knuckles can take time, and otc products may work differently on different people.
the following are some over-the-counter products for whitening dark knuckles:
Whitening cream with lignin peroxidase creams containing kojic acid or soy serums with niacinamide moisturizers with ellagic acid products using hydroquinone
When to see a doctor?
Dark knuckles may often be the foreteller of a health disorder before other more severe symptoms have set in. Suppose you have dark knuckles that do not improve with home remedies; consult a doctor.
If you wish to opt for cosmetic therapy such as laser therapy, consult a dermatologist to decide the favorable treatment choice.
Dark knuckles due to regular wear and tear of the skin should not be much concern. Frequent washing, moisturizing, and sunscreen application using a product that suits your skin type can simply take care of it.
On the other hand, dark knuckles can indicate a health problem that requires immediate medical attention.
Knuckle darkening may typically be reversed with proper treatment of the underlying health issues. To lighten knuckle hyperpigmentation, many home treatments and over-the-counter medicines are available.