5 Ways devoted Muslimahs can eco-lighten dark prayer-knees

Dark knee skin from praying

Kneecaps darkened by repetitive prayer in a kneeling position just ain’t pretty.  Even if your gams aren’t publicly paraded, it’s not a look most of us want to achieve. You can slather on harsh chemical bleaching creams, but how about trying an eco-remedy instead?

Islam requires followers to pray five times daily. The ritual involves kneeling on a prayer mat and touching the ground with your forehead. Done vigorously over time, a dark “prayer bump” may develop smack in the middle of the brow. This patch of calloused skin, called a zebiba, is considered by some as a sign of religious dedication.

Muslimahs also pray, but few women end up with a prayer bump. A woman likely takes better care of her facial skin than a man does, and if she chooses to wear a hijab her forehead is further protected from contact with abrasive prayer mat fibers.

Do fervent women get a “mark of faith” elsewhere on their bodies?

Performed prostrate on hard surfaces, frequent prayer can be brutal on knee joints, and on the papery skin that covers them. Clothing may protect skin from embedded dust, but it will still bruise and callous from repetitive kneeling. And to makes matters worse, melanin-rich ethnicities are prone to dark patches caused by the slightest friction or hormonal imbalance.

5 ways to even patches of dark skin caused by praying


Exfoliate skin regularly to get rid of dead skin cells, one of the main causes of darkening skin.(Just check that your chosen product doesn’t include pollution-causing plastic microbeads!

Clean with lemon juice

Lemon juice contains natural bleaching properties. Dip a cottonball in fresh lemon juice and rub it gently on the knees. Allow the juice to stay on the skin for at least 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse. Repeat several times a day.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has excellent bleaching properties too. Dip a cottonball in hydrogen peroxide and apply it to the knees. Repeat several times daily.

Aloe vera

Aloe also works well to remove dark spots. Pull a frond off an aloe plant, open up the leaf and rub the gelatinous inside over the affected areas daily.  Let dry completely, then rinse.

Moisturize but check blood sugar

And do check your blood-sugar levels next time you visit your doctor.  Dark spots, including zebiba, can be a type of acanthosis nigricans which could be a sign of insulin resistance caused by type 2 diabetes.

What is Acanthosis nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans (AN) is a skin condition that causes one or more areas of skin to darken and thicken. Often the skin with AN feels like velvet. People who get this skin condition sometimes mistakenly believe that a dye or something else they touched has discolored their skin. They try scrubbing away the discoloration. Vigorous scrubbing will not get rid of AN.

Sometimes, it is a warning sign of a health problem that requires medical attention. For this reason, it is important to see a dermatologist if you notice an area of darker, thicker skin.

What is a zebiba?

zebiba, prayer callous, Islam

Zebiba is a prayer callous from touching one’s head 5 times a day on a prayer mat. Image via Wikipedia

A prayer callus, zabiba or zebiba (Arabic: زبيبة zabība, “raisin”) is a callus on the forehead present in some devout praying Muslims, mainly in Egypt.

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7 thoughts on “5 Ways devoted Muslimahs can eco-lighten dark prayer-knees”

  1. Excellent, what a webpage it is! This website provides helpful information to us,
    keep it up.

  2. Lobna Al-wadeiah says:

    It caught my attention how you think praying causes dark knees. I would like to clarify with you that dark knees are the result of pigmentation which may arise from genetic inheritance as well as friction and stretching as a result of daily activity such as walking, wearing tight pants, etc. It has little to do with praying. If it did, then would you please explain to me why elbows get dark? How can getting down on your knees for a few seconds which may add up to a few minutes a day be the sole reason for dark knees?

    “The pigmentation is a reflection of the type of skin around the joints and the fact that there is constant friction between these thickened areas and the environment.” R. Karamanoukian, MD, FACS


    “The skin in these areas are always in motion because they are over some of the most utilized joints in the body.” M. S. Green, MD

    Source: http://www.realself.com/question/procedures-for-dark-elbows-and-knees

    These are answers from real doctors who give real reasons as to why skin on certain areas of your body can become dark.
    Yes, we pray five times a day and therefore get down on our knees often; however, this is not the reason for your dark knees. Please do not foolishly blame something like this on prayers as if they were a burden. My little sister is only 3 years old and is already showing signs of darkened knees. I also have non-Muslim friends who have this condition.

    If I wasn’t muslim, the first thing I would have thought would be, “wow! those poor girls have to dirty their pretty little knees everyday just to bow down to their own creator five times a day! Oh! what a waste!”

    Also, you mentioned that praying can cause dark foreheads. I have never in my entire life seen a muslim, male or female, with dark foreheads. So I have no idea where you got that one. 🙂

    Lobna A.

    1. MI909 says:

      So true! I have seen some of my friennds who are muslims with fair knees too!!! So that possibly means that darkening is not caused due to praying! And it is so embarassing for the author to mention dirty prayer knees! So what about the non-muslims? Do they have dirty “non-prayer” knees ???

  3. Arganfarm says:

    Cosmetic Argan oil does also wonders on healing and regenerating damaged skin 😉
    Keep up the good work!

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