Chemical Peels for Dark Knees, Elbows, Hands and Feet?

Can chemical peels be used to lighten dark feet, hands, knees and elbows? Can it be used on African skin?

Doctor Answers 4

Chemical Peels Can Be Performed on Virtually Any Skin Color

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Chemical peels can be performed on virtually any skin color type — but best that you find a board-certified dermatologist who understands skin of color and how it is best treated. And has been already noted, they work very nicely on the face, but what you are describing is usually not the main indications for chemical peeling. For dark feet, hands, elbows, and knees, the first thing that needs to be determined is why you are having them, is thisfrom an eczematous cause or from some other reason. A dermatologist can help here. If it is just a manifestation of dry skin, an alpha or beta hydroxy acid topical medicine may be helpful, as would perhaps one of the urea based creams we have at our disposal.

Find the right dermatologist and get this handled correctly from the onset and you will be happier in the end.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Creams work best for dark knees and elbows

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I think chemical peels may be helpful but only for the short term. A better treatment and maintenance plan is a skin softening and hydrating cream that can soften the thick skin typical in these areas that gives this skin the dark appearance. Typically these creams contain alpha hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, and/or urea in a very thick moisturizing base. A non-prescription cream that is very nice for this is the Avene Akerat cream.

Chemical peels for dark knees and elbows

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Dear Ashmed,

Chemical peels can be used on African skin, however in the areas that you are concerned about (the feet, hands, knees and elbows) they are not too helpful. This skin in this area is thicker by nature and in skin that is pigmented, it often appears darker. If these areas get dry they may also thicken and appear darker. My advice would be to moisturize daily and watch over time. Chemical peels will be a waste of money.

Good luck,

Dr. Mariwalla

Kavita Mariwalla, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Chemical Peels for Dark Parts of the Body

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Chemical Peels are not too helpful with this skin care problem.  The skin on these areas are thicker making the pigment darker. Using a daily moisturizer with alpha and or beta hydroxy acids is a more beneficial treatment.


Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 127 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.