Ankles are often neglected and hidden from sight until warm weather rolls around. That's when you may discover that they look dull, dry and dark, and decide to put away your shorts, strappy shoes, swimsuits and skirts. But sloughing off dead, dry skin cells and moisturizing your skin can go a long ways toward making your exposed legs -- and ankles -- attractive again. Be patient and don't expect overnight results, because it may take several treatments to rid your ankles of dull, dark skin.
Soften your skin and exfoliate your ankles in the bath. Fill the tub with warm water, then add a splash of bath oil or mineral oil. Soak in the tub for five to 10 minutes. Once your skin is softened, rub your ankles with a washcloth, mesh puff or loofah. Rinse your feet with lukewarm water, then dry your ankles.
Massage a thick skin cream into your ankles while your skin is still warm and slightly moist from the bath. Reapply cream before bed and as needed throughout the day. If your skin is dry, use a lotion or cream containing alpha hydroxy acid, a natural acid that helps remove the outer layer of dry, dead skin cells.
Treat your ankles to a homemade exfoliating scrub once a week. For example, add almond oil or olive oil to brown sugar to make a paste. Soak your feet in warm water for five to 10 minutes, then massage the paste into each ankle for two or three minutes. Or make a scrub consisting of brown sugar and lemon juice, which can help to lighten the dark areas. Rinse your ankles thoroughly with lukewarm water, then apply moisturizer.
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- See your physician if at-home care doesn't lighten your dark ankles. In some cases, blood pools in the skin around the ankles because of certain physical conditions or injuries, creating a reddish or brown appearance.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.