This Is What Really Causes Your Dry Elbows

If you have dry elbows, you're not alone. Elbows are naturally more prone to dryness and flakiness than the rest of your body, so dry elbows are an all-too-common condition. "Skin on the elbow is significantly different to other skin on your body," Dr. Mervyn Patterson, a cosmetic dermatologist at Woodford Medical, told Good Housekeeping. "It tends to be much thicker to be able to withstand mechanical stretching, and is drier because this area has significantly fewer sebaceous glands, the oil-secreting parts of the skin."

This natural dryness can be exacerbated by irritation or friction from certain chemicals, perfumes, skincare products, and pieces of fabric. According to Healthline, having an underlying skin condition, like eczema or psoriasis, can also make the skin on your elbows feel rough, dry, and flaky. Moreover, extremely cold temperatures and too much sun can whisk moisture away from your skin and further dry out your elbows.  

How to manage dry elbows

Fortunately, you can manage your dry elbows by making a few simple lifestyle changes. For one, keeping your elbows hydrated and moisturized will prevent dryness. According to Verywell Health, using body lotion with nourishing ingredients, like shea butter, cocoa butter, and mineral oil, can help trap and seal in moisture, rehydrating the skin on your elbow.

It's also important to pay attention to the type of clothing you wear. That's because certain fabrics, like polyester and spandex, can irritate your skin and cause dryness, flakiness, and itching. If you notice your skin becomes rough and dry after wearing certain fabrics, you should avoid wearing them and opt for clothing made with less irritating materials. Furthermore, you should try to avoid coming into contact with any possible irritants. That includes harsh ingredients in soaps and skincare products, nicotine, and certain medications, like diuretics and retinoids.