As the winter is approaching really fast, many people worry about their dry and scaly elbows. It’s a common and really annoying problem. If the dryness is severe, the area may even become very itchy.
The skin around the elbows is much thicker than on the rest of the body and has fewer oil glands to keep the skin moist. The cool, dry winter weather sucks the moisture not just out of the air but also out of your skin. Apart from weather, there can be many other reasons why your elbows have become dry and scaly.
Frequent movement when bending your arms makes the skin around the elbows susceptible to becoming dry, scaly (crusty) and rough.
Other reasons include spending a lot of time in a pool, using chemical-enriched skin care products, taking hot baths or showers, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, and central heating systems and fireplaces that dry out the indoor air.
In some cases, dry skin may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition like diabetes, eczema, scleroderma, dermatitis or psoriasis.
No matter what causes your elbows to become dry and scaly, you can take steps to help return your elbows to their natural soft and smooth state.
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of dry and scaly elbows.
Exfoliating your elbows is the first and most important step for getting rid of dry and scaly skin. Exfoliating removes the dead skin cells and exposes healthy skin underneath. It will also improve the skin tone.
It is recommended to exfoliate while taking a bath or shower, when your skin is moist and warm. You can use a loofah, rough washcloth, exfoliating glove or even a pumice stone to exfoliate the rough skin.
No matter what you use for exfoliating, do it gently. Rough handling will only exacerbate the problem.
After exfoliating, wash the area well with cool water, pat your elbows dry and then rub in a few drops of olive oil or some moisturizing lotion to restore moisture.
Exfoliate your skin once or twice a week only, and not more than that.
2. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly, a common item in nearly every medicine cabinet, is another very effective agent to deal with dry, itchy elbows. Its moisturizing property can help combat the dry scales of skin.
Also, this thick emollient acts as a barrier on the skin and seals in moisture to help rehydrate your skin.
- Before going to bed, wash your elbows thoroughly with lukewarm water and gently pat dry your skin.
- Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on your elbows.
- Cover your elbows with stretchy tennis wristbands and go to sleep.
- The next morning, use warm water to wash off any petroleum jelly that remains on your elbows.
- Repeat daily.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is highly moisturizing in nature, and hence very effective for treating dry and scaly elbows.
It has vitamin E that can help lighten the skin tone along with reducing dryness. The oil is also effective at repairing dark and damaged skin.
- Slightly warm up some coconut oil in a microwave.
- Liberally rub the warm oil on your elbows.
- Gently massage your elbows, so the oil penetrates deep into the skin.
- Do this after taking a shower and again before going to bed.
- Do this daily until your dry elbows become smooth.
Instead of coconut oil, you can also use olive or almond oil.
4. Olive Oil and Brown Sugar
The gritty texture of brown sugar and the moisturizing property of olive oil make a good combination to prepare a homemade scrub. While the brown sugar will help exfoliate the dry skin from the elbows, olive oil will deeply moisturize the skin.
- In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup of brown sugar with about ¼ cup of olive oil.
- Mix the two ingredients thoroughly until you get a uniform consistency.
- Optionally, add a little honey.
- Massage the scrub into your elbows in gentle, circular motions for a few minutes.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes.
- Rinse the scrub off with lukewarm water.
- Use this homemade scrub once or twice a week.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is an amazing natural moisturizer that can help deal with dry and scaly elbows. It can keep the skin moisturized as well as treat damaged skin cells, if the problem is due to excessive sun exposure. It also helps even out your skin tone.
- Extract the gel from a fleshy aloe vera leaf.
- Apply the gel on your elbows.
- Let it sit for 20 minutes, then wash it off with warm water.
- Repeat 1 or 2 times daily for a few weeks.
Honey is an amazing natural moisturizer for your dry and scaly elbows. It penetrates deep inside the skin to keep it moisturized. Also, being a natural humectant, it helps your skin retain moisture.
- Apply raw, organic honey on your elbows. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Wash it off with warm water. Repeat this remedy 1 or 2 times daily to cure dry elbows fast.
- Alternatively, mix together equal amounts of honey and whole milk. Apply it on your dry skin. Wait 10 minutes, then take a shower. Repeat daily, or as needed.
The soothing and nourishing properties of oatmeal can help deal with dry elbows. It not only exfoliates to get rid of accumulated dead skin but also softens and moisturizes the skin.
In addition, it is very helpful in reducing itching associated with extremely dry skin.
- Mix 1 cup of powdered oats into your warm bathwater. Soak your body and elbows in it for 10 minutes. Rinse your body with clean water and pat dry with a towel. Apply a good quality moisturizer afterward. Do this once daily.
- Alternatively, mix 2 tablespoons of finely ground oatmeal with enough milk to make a paste. Apply the paste on your elbows and allow it to dry on its own. Scrub off the paste with cold water and pat dry your skin. Repeat once daily.
8. Shea Butter
Shea butter works as a great moisturizer for the skin, and can remove flaky or dry skin from your elbows. It contains vitamins A and E as well as essential fatty acids that help keep the skin hydrated.
Shea butter also gets easily absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue.
- Put a small amount of shea butter in your palm, and rub it between your hands to melt it.
- Apply it on your dry elbows.
- Massage your skin with it for a few minutes so that it gets absorbed into the skin.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, wash it off.
- Repeat daily, or as needed.
Another common household ingredient that is good for treating dry and scaly elbows is glycerin.
Glycerin keeps the skin moisturized to reduce dryness and make the skin softer and smoother. In fact, glycerin is a component found in many moisturizers.
- Mix equal amounts of glycerin and water (or rose water), then apply the mixture on your dry elbows. Wait 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Do it twice daily.
- Alternatively, mix together 1 tablespoon each of glycerin and coconut oil. Rub it on your elbows and massage before going to bed. The next morning, rinse your elbows with cool water. Do this daily.
10. Banana Peel
Rubbing a banana peel on dry elbows is also beneficial.
The fatty acids in the peel help keep the skin hydrated to reduce symptoms like dryness and itchiness. Also, the antioxidants in it help reduce dark patches of skin.
Moreover, a banana peel imparts properties that can protect your skin from sun damage.
- Gently rub the inside part of a banana peel on your elbows in circular motions for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Let the residue sit on your skin for at least 20 minutes.
- Rinse it off with cool water.
- Reapply 2 or 3 times a day until you get positive results.
- Use an emollient cream to help keep your skin hydrated and provide a barrier that seals in the moisture. In fact, emollients contribute to the reduction of transepidermal water loss.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your body and skin hydrated, but avoid sugary sodas, juices and caffeine, which may make skin conditions worse.
- Include healthy fats in your diet to help hold moisture in your skin, keeping it supple and soft.
- Use only lukewarm water when taking a shower or bath, as hot water will dry out your skin even more.
- Avoid using too much hot water and chemical-based soaps to wash your elbows.
- Soon after taking a shower or bath, gently pat yourself dry with a soft towel and apply a good moisturizer to seal in moisture and help prevent the skin from drying out.
- Wearing suitable clothing will also help prevent your elbows from drying out due to cold weather. Natural fibers like cotton are recommended to help avoid irritating the skin.
- Do not use harsh soaps and skin care products that may irritate the skin and cause dryness.
- Don’t over-exfoliate or scrub your skin too roughly. It will only strip your skin of important natural moisturizing oils.
- Choose your moisturizer carefully, checking the ingredient list. Steer clear of those containing chemicals.
- Before going to bed, apply moisturizer on your elbows and cover them with soft tube socks to let it work on your skin overnight.
- If you’re experiencing a lot of problem with dry skin, keep the temperature in your home slightly cooler.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to dry indoor air.
- Avoid swimming for a long time in chlorinated water and make sure to take a quick shower afterward.
- If you have severely cracked skin on your elbows, it’s important to consult your doctor.