New and Improved Treatment for Dark Knuckles (Science -Based)


A word from the author: let’s face it, having dark knuckles comes with a stigma. There is a tendency for people to associate dark knuckles with skin bleaching, hence, self-hate. On the contrary, dark knuckles are caused by a host of factors including: skin redundancy, genetics, exposure to harsh chemicals, dead skin cells etc. If I’m being honest, I would have to agree with the fact that dark knuckles are sometimes exacerbated by the use of skin lightening/bleaching creams. Frankly, I don’t care as much for what left you with an unusually pigmented knuckle as I do about helping you get rid of it. To accomplish this, I have committed to constantly searching, researching, tweaking and updating my regime.For me, It’s become a goal and a driving passion. –Rita

By the way, here’s an updated version of this post:

Products you will need:

Hydroquinone 4% (click product) or New Dark Knuckle Serum

10-12% AHA moisturizer:  and


Glycolic peel, 50–70% (preferred): this should be done at three-week intervals.  

TCA Peel

Broad spectrum sunscreen: 


Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 3.11.07 PM

Pretreat the knuckles with a combination of 


Dark knuckle serum:

Dark knuckle soap: out of stock

 10-12% AHA moisturizer:  and Tretinoin: this should carry on for several weeks (about 3-6 weeks. Generally, the longer the better).

A word about hydroquinone: there was some controversy a few years ago regarding HQ. One caveat when using HQ is that long-term use can cause some irritation. It’s best to use it until results are achieved and then back off for a while. It can be started once again once your skin has had some rest time (Kotlus, 2015). During the rest/break period, feel free to substitute hydroquinone with Other efficacious skin lighteners like Skin Lightening Treatment:  or Azelaic acid:

Pretreatment helps to prevent post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, increases the depth of the chemical peel and speed epidermal healing. The products should be stopped approximately a week prior to the procedure to ensure intact epidermis.

What I use in place of hydroquinone: I personally use this natural lightening treatment: . However, price-wise, it’s a bit on the high-end. Hence, It would be naive of me to assume that everyone would find it affordable. Which is why I resorted to recommending hydroquinone (It is after all, still considered a gold standard in the industry).

More hydroquinone alternatives

Dark knuckles serum:

Dark knuckles soap (out of stock): 

Peel Application








The patient should then cleanse his/her knuckle with a gentle cleanser. The skin is then defatted with isopropyl alcohol wipes to allow even penetration of the peeling agent: Glycolic peel, 70% (preferred): this should be done at three-week intervals.  

The peeling agent is then applied with gauze pad or sponge evenly across the knuckles. Allow peel solution to remain for 10 minutes. Apply a second layer over the first, allow to remain on skin for 5-10 minutes(optional). Neutralize the glycolic peel with tap water. After two minutes, 35% TCA peel is applied with a gauze pad, allow solution to remain for 10 minutes (or according to skin tolerance), you may add a second layer if you feel only one is insufficient and wash off


Post-Peel Treatment








After the peel, the patient must follow strict sun protection with a Broad spectrum sunscreen:  reapply every 2 hours if out and about.

Use of hydroquinone post peel is very important to prevent development of hyperpigmentation. After several days, the patient can then resume using tretinoin and any other pre-treatment topical medication. If the patient tolerates the peel, a higher concentration may be used for subsequent peels.


Daily Routine and Directions







  • Do not use harsh soaps or liquid soaps containing alcohol on your hands. Use a gentle cleanser with AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) to correct hyperpigmentation.
  • Always nourish your skin with an AHA moisturizer after washing your hands (amlactin: is a great AHA infused moisturizer)
  • At night, scrub your hands with a mild scrub. Polishing each day will slough off dead skin cells that get trapped in the creases of your knuckles (Lancer, 2010).
  • When applying the cream or hydroquinone in morning, and at night, massage it furiously on your knuckles for 50 seconds.
  • A good cleanser will exfoliate and prepare the skin to drink in the ingredients of this skin lightening cream as well as the moisturizer.
  • You can also carry your moisturizer in your bag for when your hands get dry, perhaps when you are out and about or when you wash your hands. Don’t forget to use sunscreen if you are going to step outside (harmful UV rays are always present–whether in scorching sunlight or in frigid cold weather).
  • FOR INTENSIVE AT-HOME TREATMENT, slather your hands with an AHA moisturizer, coupled this lightening cream and wear a latex free glove to bed. The product will penetrate while you sleep and your hands will be soft, lighter and supple when you remove the gloves in the morning (Lancer, 2010).

 Updated Post:

Alam, Murad, et al. (2008) Cosmetic dermatology for skin of color. McGraw Hill Professional

Brett, Kotlus (2015) Pause and Reverse: How to look younger than your age with or without cosmetic surgery

Davis, E. C., & Callender, V. D. (2010). Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation: A Review of the Epidemiology, Clinical Features, and Treatment Options in Skin of Color. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 3(7), 20–31.

Skin Obsession (2013) Instructions for the peel of the body. Retrieved from

Lancer, Harold (2010) Younger: The Breakthrough Anti-Aging Method for Radiant Skin

21 thoughts on “New and Improved Treatment for Dark Knuckles (Science -Based)

  1. Hi Rita! Thanks so much, I needed this so bad, everytime i do a peel the ‘good times’ only last for about a week and then my knuckles start to darken again.
    I just want to be sure if you’re mixing the aha lotion, tretenion and HQ together, and then applying?
    Also, how does your skin around that area usually peel? And how long does it take for the knuckles to peel completely? I’m asking because if we’re to repeat the peel every 3 weeks.. There’s only so much of hiding my hands I can do. It’s an eyesore walking around with peeling handsLOL
    Um and my last question would be if I can do this procedure on my toes ?

  2. Hello . I used the product called Rita Cream.. I didn’t know inward suppose to uses it on my buckles.. Instead I used it all over. Now my hands are dark and light; very uneven. I will be getting married soon and I really need my hands to be cleared and even. It seems that the product burned my hands and left scaring and hyper pigmentation….. I need your help please. By the way I am a male. I can also send u a pic of what it looks like. I look forward to hearing from you.


  3. Hi Rita , thanks for taking the time to share this. could you please clarify how the pretreatment should be used. do i mixed the HQ,Tretinoin and aha lotion together and apply? or are they applied one after the other?

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