Dry skin on elbow

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How To Get Rid Of Ashy Elbows: 7 Expert Tips

Even if your skin’s generally smooth and hydrated, there’s a good chance you suffer from dry skin in at least area: your elbows.
Ashy elbows affect people of all races and genders. Some people suffer from ashy elbows due a skin condition, while others simply experience dry skin in this area as a result of external factors.
In this article, the skin care experts at SiO Beauty weigh in on causes your elbows get dry and ashy — and you can about it.

Causes Ashy Elbows?

The experts have spoken, and as with many other skin conditions, there is a multitude of reasons your elbows might become dry and ashy over time.
Common causes of dry, ashy elbows include genetics, environmental conditions, and inadequate hydration.

Genetics And Ashy Elbows

The overall complexion of your skin has a lot to with your genetics. fact, some people are more prone dry skin and irritation no matter how much moisturizer they apply.
When it comes your body, the overused and hard-working skin on your elbows is of the first areas betray your age. Why does this happen? Constant movement causes the dreaded saggy and crepey skin that unforgivingly ages you.

Environmental Conditions And Ashy Elbows

As the comes a close, the temperatures you live are most likely starting drop — or will be soon. And as we head into the months with cooler, drier weather, those conditions have the potential of sucking all of the moisture out of your skin.

Inadequate Hydration And Ashy Elbows

you actively take steps keep your elbows hydrated? Many people tend overlook their elbows because they’re not the first thing they notice in the mirror.

However, dry elbows can be a direct result of inadequate hydration. This may be caused by the ingredients in certain soaps, perfumes, and lotions. Even more, hot baths or showers can also dry out your skin.
Your elbows could always benefit from an added dose of hydration. The SiO Beauty Elbow & Knee Rescue Lift intensifies hydration and promotes your skin’s natural collagen production, transforming the wrinkled, aged skin on your elbows (or your knees!) into the smooth, uplifted look of youth!
No matter the cause of your ashy elbows, there are a number of steps you can take to help your elbows regain their natural smoothness. Here’s the experts suggest.

7 Expert Tips For Getting Rid Of Ashy Elbows

1) Rethink Your Shower Routine

Believe it or not, there are a number of aspects of your shower regimen that may be contributing to your ashy elbows.
First and foremost, dry elbows can be the result of too much time spent in the water without moisturizing enough afterward, so limiting your shower or tub time may be beneficial. Experts say that lowering the water temperature is also a must. Hot water can zap the moisture from your skin, so aim for a more moderate heat level.
If you’re using scented soap or body wash, consider going fragrance-. Scented washes or products with alcohol can often dry out your skin. If you decide try a new product, opt for a body wash with added moisturizer.

2) Apply A Quality Moisturizer

If you aren’t moisturizing your skin — elbows and elsewhere — after every shower or bath, it’s time to start! Apply lotion to your elbows anytime they’ve been exposed to water or there’s been a drastic change in temperature.
When choosing a moisturizing lotion or cream, look for products with naturally soothing and smoothing ingredients, such as:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Cocoa butter
  • Shea butter

If you’d rather concoct your own moisturizer, you can make this exfoliating moisturizer at home:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with 1/3 cup of olive oil
  2. Rub the mixture onto the affected elbow(s)
  3. Rinse the area well after scrubbing
  4. For optimal results, apply a hydrating cream to the area

This all-natural exfoliator will help remove dead skin and hydrate your elbows.
So how often should you exfoliate your elbows? Experts recommend increasing exfoliation to your elbows by using a gentle scrub two to three times per week.

3) Use A Banana Peel

This one may sound a little bizarre, but experts recommend rubbing a banana peel in a circular motion on your elbows to reduce dryness.
Bananas are a fruit rich in vitamin C (which aids in healing), and the peel has been scientifically shown contain both antifungal and antibiotic components. Rubbing a banana peel on your ashy elbows could help keep them healthy and healed.

4) Break Out The Humidifier

Changing your environment may seem easier said than done, but if it’s the cause of your rough elbows, it’s possible to make helpful adjustments without having to pack up and move.
After all, living in a dry space — whether that’s due to your location or simply an overactive air conditioner — could play a part in how dry your elbows become.
According to our trusted experts, using a humidifier to add moisture into the air can help hydrate and relieve dry skin. Plug one in by your bed and sleep soundly knowing you’re doing something good for your skin.

5) Pay Attention To You’re Wearing

Have you worn a new top or blouse recently, or have you snuggled up into a new blanket? If you have sensitive skin, some fabrics can cause irritation and lead to dryness.
If you notice your elbows feel especially dry after coming into contact with a certain fabric, it may be worth looking into. Limit your contact with the material and take note of your symptoms. If they lessen once you remove that material, the dryness may be the result of fabric irritation.

6) Adjust To The Weather

When the weather changes, so do your skin care needs.
Getting too much sun can severely dry out your skin, especially on your elbows. If you plan on being in the sun for an extended period of time, be sure to apply fragrance- sunscreen and wear protective clothing.
For optimal protection, reapply your sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
Extremely cold temperatures can also dry out and dull the skin on your elbows. If you’re in a cool, dry setting, be sure apply moisturizer and keep your elbows covered and protected.

7) Heal Throughout The Night

Though you may not actively move your elbows around too much during the nighttime, adding extra hydration to your vulnerable skin spots while you sleep is a great way to combat ashy elbows.
SiO Beauty’s medical-grade silicone patches are used and trusted by experts as an exceptionally safe and effective means to heal and hydrate dry, ashy skin.
To give your elbows an extra dose of healing hydration, just apply your SiO Beauty patches before bed to cleansed skin, and wake to healthier, more rejuvenated skin!

Goodbye, Ashy Elbows!

Although your ashy elbows can be uncomfortable, the good news is that most of the symptoms are only temporary. Tweaking your shower routine or trying a new lotion may be all that’s needed to rehydrate your rough elbow skin and restore much-needed moisture.
If your symptoms persist even after your efforts, be sure talk with your doctor or dermatologist to find a treatment that’s right for you.

How to Smooth Rough Elbows, Knees & Heels With 9 Weird Tricks

Winter is rough on skin everywhere, but I never realize the full extent of it until spring comes. Some time around May, I unload all of my skirts and dresses and sandals from my closet, put them on, and think, “What are these dry patches on my elbows and knees?” Needless to say, knowing how to smooth rough elbows, knees, and heels becomes my next priority.

In fact, dry skin is something that affects the vast majority of people, and dry skin is caused by many factors — everything from hot, dry, or humid weather, to dehydration, harsh soap products, and inadequate moisturizing. It’s relatively harmless, but if left untreated, skin can crack so severely that small cuts form, leaving it vulnerable to infection.

Thankfully, unless your cracked elbows, heels, and knees are so severe that you need to visit a dermatologist, this is something that you can fix at home, entirely on your own. Keeping dry skin at bay essentially breaks down into three distinct routine-alterations: Your shower routine, your before-bedtime routine, and your on-the-go routine. Follow these simple yet effective tips, and you’ll be enjoying smooth and hydrated skin in no time.

In the Shower, Dried-Out Pores Are Especially Receptive To Moisture

Moisturizing is especially important during a shower, as your pores are wide open and extra absorbent.

Coconut Milks Softly Sloughs Away Dry Patches

First Botany Cosmeceuticals Coconut Milk Exfoliant, $15, Amazon

Exfoliation is essential for removing dead, dried out skin, but you need to remember that if skin is cracked, it’s already a little bit damaged. Excessive exfoliation can do more harm than good, as it irritates cracked skin and could prompt an infection. First Botany Cosmeceuticals coconut milk exfoliant has Dead Sea salt to gently buff away old skin, but it’s also packed with things like vitamin E and coconut milk, which has tons of fats, nutrients, and minerals that protect, hydrate, and nourish skin. This non-greasy moisturizer also contains healing ingredients like almond oil, grapeseed oil, and avocado oil, and reviewers say that this stuff smells great and moisturizes like nothing else.

Sweet Almond Oil Protects Skin With Vitamins E, A & D

Lux Organic Sweet Almond Oil, $20, Amazon

Lux Organic’s sweet almond oil is an awesome alternative to chemical-filled moisturizers because it has just one ingredient: 100 percent pure, organic, and cold-pressed sweet almond oil, which makes an incredible moisturizer because it’s packed with deep-penetrating vitamins like E, A, and D, which all work to help skin repair itself, keep it soft, and increase healthy cell turnover. The formula is great for those with sensitive skin, as it’s non-greasy and won’t clog pores, and it comes in a convenient pump-bottle for easy shower use.

Antibacterial Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Hydrate Skin

Raw Shea Butter Bar Soap, $8, Amazon

If you’re not careful, your choice of soap can entirely dictate whether your skin is smooth and supple or dry and cracked. Why? Most soaps have super harsh ingredients that kill natural bacteria and strip all of your skin’s hydrating oils. Raw Shea Butter bar soap, though, is formulated with organic shea butter, which is one of the most effective natural balms for moisturizing cracked skin. It also has organic coconut oil (which has naturally-occurring anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties) and rosemary extract, which are incredible when it comes to making your skin soft and healthy. That being said, skin still feels clean and smells great, and reviewers have widely deemed this “the best soap they’ve ever used.”

Skin Repairs Itself While You Sleep, So Work Moisturizing Into Your Bedtime Routine:

Moisturizing before bed is a great idea for two reasons: 1). Since you’re not doing anything except lying there, moisturizers are far more likely to have some time to sink in, and 2). You’ll wake up with healthy, glowing skin.

Penetrate Cracked Heels & Other Dry Spots With Antiseptic Peppermint

The Yellow Bird’s All Natural Moisturizing Foot Cream, $17, Amazon

The Yellow Bird’s foot cream is a rich, nourishing balm that contains ten simple organic ingredients, including coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax. Plus, aromatherapeutic ingredients like peppermint essential oil, lavender essential oil, and tea tree essential oil create a fragrant mix with soothing and antiseptic properties. All of these ingredients together penetrate deep into the skin to heal and hydrate cracked areas, and while this balm was originally made for dry heels, it’s effective on any part of the body, from elbows to hands. Best of all, it smells awesome, and there are no chemicals whatsoever.

Body Brushing Before Bed Stimulates Circulation For Smoother Skin

Dry Skin Butter Mania And Body Brush, $22, Amazon

When it comes to healthy, hydrated skin, this combination can work wonders, especially if you’re someone who showers right before bed. The Butter Mania cream has seven of the best natural ingredients for hydration, including almond oil, coconut oil, argan oil, cocoa butter, and mango butter. It’s thick and rich, but it absorbs into skin quickly for a non-greasy application. The accompanying body brush is also exceptionally healthy, as body-brushing is known to increase circulation, stimulate the lymph system, reduce stress, and gently exfoliate — all of which lead to smoother skin over time. This particular brush is made from natural bristles, and it has a convenient strap for easy, full-body brushing. Because both items are high-quality and effective, users say that this set is a game-changer.

Hydrate Heels Overnight in Cozy Aloe Vera Socks

Earth Therapeutics Aloe Socks, $6, Amazon

If you suffer from painful, cracked heels, these Earth Therapeutics aloe socks might just change that overnight. Unlike normal socks, these ones are infused with aloe vera gel to hydrate and moisturize while you sleep. As they’re ultra-stretchy and comfortable, they fit most foot sizes, and since they’re soft and plush, you’ll hardly realize you’re wearing them. For double the healing therapy, apply one of the above moisturizers and lock in the hydration all night by putting these on over it — you’ll wake up with soft, smooth feet, from heel to toe.

Soothe & Treat Dryness On-The-Go, Right When It Strikes

If your skin is especially dry, it might not be enough to moisturize after a shower and before bed. Ideally, you should be able to tackle dryness whenever it hits, including when you’re out and about.

Combine Aloe Vera & Cocoa Butter in Stick Form For Quick Heel Relief

Miracle of Aloe Miracle Heel Stick, $10, Amazon

This Miracle of Aloe heel stick makes it easy to apply healing aloe vera, tea tree, shea, and cocoa butters to your feet wherever you happen to be, because it comes in a balm-like stick that you simply rub on. It cools and eases the sensation of pain, so it’s especially great for use under socks or with sandals when you’re walking or running, and reviewers say it’s the best heel-repair solution they’ve tried so far.

Beeswax Makes It Possible To Tidily Apply Nourishing Coconut Oil

CocoMe Body Stick, $16, Amazon

Coconut oil makes an incredible moisturizer; not only does it hydrate and soften, but it nourishes skin with fatty acids and vitamins that can easy penetrate pores without clogging them. CocoMe’s body stick takes all of the healing qualities of virgin coconut oil, but ditches the messy application. Instead, it comes in an easy-to-apply stick that contains nothing else except a little bit of beeswax — also great for skin, as it locks in hydration. It’s concentrated, so a little goes a long way, and it’s great on every single area of your body, from elbows to face. Because of the beeswax, the stick will stay mostly solid (unlike regular coconut oil), so it’s great for travel, and reviewers say that because it’s convenient and versatile, it’s a must-have in anyone’s bag.

For Mess-Free Relief On The Go, Lotion Wipes Make Moisturizing Easy

e.l.f. Lotion Wipes, $6, Amazon

For the convenience of lotion in disposable, mess-free, single-application wipes, look no further. These are infused with aloe vera, cocoa butter, vitamin E, sweet almond oil, and coconut milk to revitalize skin wherever you happen to go, and because they smell great, absorb easily, and won’t leave a sticky residue, reviewers love them for planes, work, post-gym, and anywhere else you might not want to lug a huge bottle of moisturizer. Even those with sensitive skin say that these are gentle and effective, and because the lotion goes on evenly, they’re great for full-body use.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.

Images: Fotolia (1); Amazon (9)

For many men, dry elbows are a common problem. Also known as “ashy elbows,” dry elbows on men can be unsightly due to their roughness and flakiness. If you have a dry elbow (or two), use these men’s skincare tips to hydrate your skin and maintain a healthy appearance.

1. Moisturize daily. There are a lot of things that could be causing your dry elbows: climate, stress and age are just a few factors. Your best defense against these different dry elbow causes is a men’s body lotion. A men’s body lotion with active ingredients like hyaluronic acid can help protect your skin and leave it soft and supple. Apply daily to your dry elbows to help reduce flakiness and other dry skin signs. “How to Apply Men’s Body Lotion” has tips on maximizing the benefits of your men’s body moisturizer.

2. Give your elbows a weekly scrub. Washing your elbows weekly with a men’s scrub can help remove dry skin flakes along with other debris that can accumulate and contribute to ashy elbows. A men’s scrub contains fine exfoliating particles that provides your skin with a deep clean like no other. Weekly use can help improve the appearance of your ashy elbows as well as the rest of your skin. “Exfoliation 101” further explains the benefits of exfoliating regularly.

3. Take lukewarm showers. A hot shower is tempting, but stick to lukewarm water or even cold water when showering. Too many hot showers can leave your skin – especially your elbows – dry and flaky. By limiting hot showers, you’re lowering the risk of developing dry elbows as well as giving your skin time to heal. “5 Dry Skin Causes” lists other things that could be causing your ashy elbows.

4. Stick to liquid cleansers. The majority of mass-market bar soaps can dry out your skin, so use a men’s liquid body wash instead. A men’s premium body wash like Daily Body Wash contains glycolic acid, which can help reduce the appearance of dry patches on your skin – and that includes the ones on your dry elbows. “Choosing the Best Men’s Skincare Products” has great information on how to pick the right men’s skincare products for your skin.

5. Stop leaning on your elbows. Leaning on your elbows stresses your skin and can contribute to development of rough, dry patches. While leaning on your elbows can sometimes be unavoidable (particularly if you work a desk job), try to limit it at the dinner table and during other situations such as when you’re reading a book. This small change can make a big difference.

6. Consult a dermatologist. Sometimes, your dry, ashy elbows can be caused by an underlying dermatological condition. Talk to your doctor about your dry elbow problem and see what solutions they suggest. After all, they know your entire medical history and can prescribe personalized treatments for your dry elbows.

Diane Shear/Demand Media

Constant elbow movement makes the skin in this area thicker; as such, elbows are more susceptible to rough, dark and dry patches. Dead skin builds up easily over the elbows, which can lead to the darker pigments, and dry skin can make the area scaly and patchy. If you want to bare your arms with confidence — but fear showing off those rough elbows — treatment and prevention are key.

Diane Shear/Demand Media

Apply a dime-sized amount of exfoliating scrub to the elbows twice a week in the shower before using body wash. Rub firmly in circular motions to get rid of dead skin. Rinse with water and follow up with a hydrating body wash.

Diane Shear/Demand Media

Dab skin dry with a towel. Apply three to four drops of vitamin E oil to each elbow after every shower and rub it in thoroughly for two minutes. Vitamin E oil can also be applied to other dry areas such as knees and hands.

Diane Shear/Demand Media

Apply a hydrating, fragrance-free cream containing shea or cocoa butter to your elbows in the morning and before bed. Creams with chemical moisturizers and heavy fragrances can irritate the skin.

Diane Shear/Demand Media

Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on your elbows prior to bed twice a week in lieu of cream. Cut the toes off of two white cotton tube socks, and pull them over your arms; this covers the elbows to prevent getting the jelly on your bedding. Rinse any residual jelly away in the morning with a moisturizing body wash and follow with cream.


Make your own exfoliating scrub at home. Mix together one part brown sugar with one part almond or olive oil and rub over the skin. Other popular homemade exfoliants are sea salt, oatmeal and white sugar mixed with olive or almond oil.

Steer clear of extremely hot showers and baths, which can further dry and damage skin. Stick with warm water and shower or bathe for a maximum of 15 minutes at a time.


If you still find dry, patchy elbows after a couple weeks of treatment, see your dermatologist. Prescription treatments may be required or there may be an underlying health issue.

How to Get Rid of Rough Elbows and Knees

How rough are your elbows and knees? They’re not the smoothest right, because elbows and knees are two body parts that are often neglected and tend to be more rough and dark than the rest of your skin. Since it’s summer and you probably have your elbows and knees more exposed than other times of the year, give them more care and pamper yourself to get soft good looking arms and legs. With simple steps, you can get rid of rough elbows and knees, here’s what you should do…
1. Exfoliation: We can’t stress enough about the importance of exfoliation to your body, it actually does wonders. Exfoliation whether by dry brushing or using a body scrub helps your skin stay smooth by removing the dead cells and increasing your blood circulation, resulting in a healthy and glowing skin. Use a loofah or a brush in circular motion while showering to get rid of rough elbows and knees, you will feel the difference after a couple of times.
2. Moisturization: Keeping your skin moisturized is important because it’s a way of keeping your skin hydrated. It’s essential that you drink at least eight glasses of water per day to maintain a healthy skin, but you should back that up by applying cream or baby oil to your elbows and knees on a daily basis to get rid of any rough skin.
3. Homemade Remedies: Most homemade remedies to get rid of rough elbows and knees contain lemon, for its ability to lighten dark skin spots and remove dead cells. The easiest way is to cut a lemon in half and rub it onto your elbows and knees for 10 minutes then wash it off, this could be done twice per week right before you shower.

How to Treat Dry and Scaly Elbows with Home Remedies

As soon as the winter chills come knocking, many people with naturally dry skin start to fret about one key problem area that typically gets aggravated during this time of the year: their elbows. Dry and scaly elbows are a common yet discomforting skincare complaint, which, if not tended properly, can turn severely 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. Due to these basic structural drawbacks, elbows produce relatively less amount of the vital lipids required to retain water and keep the surface skin naturally moisturized.

This is further compounded by the chilly and arid climatic conditions associated with winter. Frosty as it may be, winter air is grossly devoid of any humidity, which means that your dry skin can’t supplement its moisture needs from the environment.

The resultant chipping, flakiness, and scaling of the skin compromise the protective function of its epidermal barrier, making it progressively more vulnerable to unwanted external irritants.



Causes of Dry and Scaly Elbows

Although weather remains the prime culprit, several other factors can also lead to the drying and scaling of your elbow skin.

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 the pool
  • Using chemical-based skin care products
  • Taking extensive hot baths or showers
  • Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun
  • Installation of central heating systems and fireplaces in your living space that tends to dry out the indoor air

In some cases, dry skin may even be symptomatic of an underlying medical condition, including diabetes, eczema, scleroderma, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

Treatment Options for Dry and Scaly Elbows

What makes dry elbows a particularly grueling sore spot is the fact they are always in action. Keeping your hands still at a stretch becomes impossible in the face of daily tasks that, basic as they may be, require some degree of arm and elbow movement.


It’s only when you retire for bed that you can expect to give your overworked elbows a break from the constant moving and bending.

Thus, to work around this problem and prevent the discomfort from getting worse, you may have to proactively care for your elbow skin even if the irritation is still comfortably mild.

One must adhere to a strict moisturizing routine for the entire body, but particularly to make up for the lack of lubrication around these overused joints. In the absence of this supplementary hydration, the dry elbow skin, which already runs low on elasticity, is likely to crack under the pressure of relentless maneuvering and movement.

If, on the other hand, the problem is addressed right away with proper care, rest, and moisturization, you can help return your elbows to their natural soft and smooth state.

Here are some tried-and-tested ways to get rid of dry and scaly elbows through natural means.


1. Exfoliate to Get Rid Of Dead Skin

Exfoliating your elbows is the first and most important step in getting rid of dry and scaly skin. Exfoliating removes the dead skin cells and exposes the healthy skin underneath. It also works to improve and even out the skin tone.

It is recommended to exfoliate while taking a bath or shower when your skin is still moist and warm. You can use a loofah, rough washcloth, exfoliating glove, or a pumice stone to exfoliate the rough skin.

Regardless of your choice of exfoliation tool, the method remains the same. Always employ gentle hand movements when scrubbing your skin as 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 and retain moisture.


Exfoliate your skin once or twice a week only and not more than that.

2. Apply a Protective Layer of 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 your elbow skin.

Also, this thick emollient forms a shield over the skin and locks in moisture to keep your skin looking smooth and hydrated.

  1. Before going to bed, wash your elbows thoroughly with lukewarm water and gently pat your skin dry.
  2. Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on your elbows.
  3. Cover your elbows with stretchy tennis wristbands and go to sleep.
  4. The next morning, use warm water to wash off any petroleum jelly that remains on your elbows.
  5. Repeat daily.

3. Give Your Elbows a Coconut Oil Massage

Coconut oil is highly moisturizing in nature and, hence, very effective for treating dry and scaly elbows.

The oil is also effective at repairing dark and damaged skin, all thanks to its generous supply of vitamin E.

This essential nutrient can help lighten the skin tone along with reducing dryness. Moreover, this skin-friendly antioxidant helps counter free radical activity, which is responsible for the oxidative stress that renders your skin dull and damaged.

  1. Slightly warm up some coconut oil in a microwave.
  2. Liberally rub the warm oil on your elbows.
  3. Gently massage your elbows so the oil penetrates deep into the skin.
  4. Do this after taking a shower and again before going to bed.
  5. Do this daily until your dry elbows become smooth.

Instead of coconut oil, you can also use olive or almond oil.

4. DIY Scrub with Olive Oil and Brown Sugar

The gritty texture of brown sugar and the moisturizing property of olive oil make for a safe, well-balanced, and effective homemade scrub. While the brown sugar helps exfoliate the dry skin from the elbows, olive oil deeply moisturizes the skin.

  1. In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup of brown sugar with ¼ cup of olive oil.
  2. Mix the two ingredients thoroughly until you get a uniform consistency.
  3. Optionally, add a little honey.
  4. Massage the scrub into your elbows in gentle, circular motions for a few minutes.
  5. Leave it on for 10 minutes.
  6. Rinse the scrub off with lukewarm water.
  7. Use this homemade scrub once or twice a week.

5. Aloe Vera is a Quintessential Skin Salve

Aloe vera is an amazing natural moisturizer that can help deal with dry and scaly elbows. Not only does this balm help lubricate the skin and seal in its moisture, but it can also reverse any signs of sun-induced cellular damage.

Aloe vera gel is also effective in treating and correcting skin discoloration to achieve a more even skin tone.

  1. Extract the gel from a fleshy aloe vera leaf.
  2. Apply the gel on your elbows.
  3. Let it sit for 20 minutes, and then wash it off with warm water.
  4. Repeat this one to two times daily for a few weeks.

6. Honey Helps Restore and Maintain Skin Lipids

Well endowed with antibacterial, antioxidant, and hydrating attributes, honey is touted as an amazing natural moisturizer for your dry and scaly elbows and rightly so. It penetrates deep inside the skin to keep it moisturized. Also, being a natural humectant, it helps your skin retain moisture.

  1. Apply raw, organic honey on your elbows.
  2. Leave it on for 20 minutes.
  3. Wash it off with warm water.
  4. Repeat this remedy one to two times daily to cure dry elbows fast.


  1. Mix together equal amounts of honey and whole milk.
  2. Apply it on your dry skin.
  3. Wait for 10 minutes, and then take a shower.
  4. Repeat this daily or as needed.

7. Oatmeal Works as a Skin-Friendly Exfoliant

The soothing and nourishing properties of oatmeal can help deal with dry elbows.

It not only exfoliates your skin to get rid of accumulated dead skin cells, but it also softens and moisturizes the skin. The fresh layers of skin that come to the surface once the dead epidermal cells are scrubbed away tend to absorb moisture more readily.

Moreover, oatmeal contains a protein that helps prevent moisture loss from the epidermis and thus keeps your skin supple, hydrated, and glowing for longer. This natural skin healer is also known to mitigate the itchiness associated with extremely parched skin.

  1. Mix 1 cup of powdered oats into your warm bathwater.
  2. Soak your body and elbows in it for 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse your body with clean water and pat your skin dry with a towel.
  4. Apply good-quality moisturizer afterward.
  5. Do this once daily.


  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of finely ground oatmeal with enough milk to make a paste.
  2. Apply the paste on your elbows and allow it to dry on its own.
  3. Scrub off the paste with cold water and pat your skin dry.
  4. Repeat this remedy once daily.

8. Use Shea Butter to Get Smooth, Supple Skin

Shea butter works as a great moisturizer for the skin and can safely be used to treat flaky or dry skin over your elbows. It contains vitamin A and E as well as essential fatty acids, all of which contribute to making your skin sufficiently hydrated and healthy.

What makes shea butter even more of a skin boon is the fact it gets easily absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue.

  1. Put a small amount of shea butter in your palm, and rub it between your hands to melt it.
  2. Apply it on your dry elbows.
  3. Massage your skin with it for a few minutes so that it gets absorbed into the skin.
  4. Leave it on overnight.
  5. The next morning, wash it off.
  6. Repeat this remedy daily or as needed.

9. Use Glycerin for a Healthier-Looking Skin

Another common household ingredient that is good for treating dry and scaly elbows is glycerin.

Glycerin works both as a moisturizer and as a humectant, which essentially means that this skin tonic not only supplies moisture to parched skin but also helps lock it in. Glycerin has emerged as a beauty mainstay for many and figures as one of the prime components of a number of commercial moisturizers.

  • Mix equal amounts of glycerin and water (or rose water).
  • Apply the mixture on your dry elbows.
  • Wait for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.
  • Do this twice daily.


  1. Mix 1 tablespoon each of glycerin and coconut oil.
  2. Rub it on your elbows and massage them before going to bed.
  3. The next morning, rinse your elbows with cool water.
  4. Do this daily.

Anecdotal Remedy

The following remedy is neither backed by scientific evidence nor reviewed by our health experts. Nonetheless, a number of general users have reported an improvement in their condition using this anecdotal remedy.

Rub Dry Elbows with Banana Peel

Rubbing a banana peel on dry elbows is also found to be beneficial.

The fatty acids in the peel help keep the skin hydrated to reduce symptoms such as dryness and itchiness. Also, the antioxidants in it help correct dark patches of the skin.

Moreover, a banana peel also boasts therapeutic properties that might help your skin brave sun damage better.

  1. Gently rub the inside part of a banana peel on your elbows in circular motions for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Let the residue sit on your skin for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Rinse it off with cool water.
  4. Reapply two to three times a day until you get positive results.

Tips to Prevent Dry and Scaly Elbows

  • Use an emollient cream to help keep your skin hydrated and to provide a barrier that seals in the moisture. 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 such as cotton are recommended to 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.

Risk Factors Associated with Dry Elbows

  • Wearing coarse fabrics such as wool during winters can cause friction between your clothes and the elbow skin, thereby making the skin dry and scaly.
  • People who are in the habit of resting their elbows on rough, hard, or concrete surfaces for prolonged periods generally tend to have dry, scaly elbows.
  • Insufficient water intake can lead to general body dehydration which paves the way for dry and scaly elbow skin.
  • Smoking also contributes to increasingly dry and scaly elbows.
  • People undergoing hormonal changes, such as during menopause, are especially prone to this condition.
  • People suffering from hereditary conditions, such as eczema, show a tendency to develop dry and scaly elbows.

When to See a Doctor

There’s usually no real need to rush to the doctors to treat something as innocuous as a case of dry and scaly elbows. Keeping your skin adequately moisturized along with proper water and dietary intake should suffice to alleviate the dryness and itchiness to a great degree.

However, if you fail to get any relief from these self-care measures, you might have to consult with a dermatologist to rule out any other skin concerns or conditions that may be causing the dry skin.

Based on your doctor’s evaluation, he may prescribe strong topical ointments or creams to deal with the dryness. If he suspects a systemic disease at the base of your skin condition, he will outline a comprehensive treatment approach to tackle the underlying cause and thereby reverse the damage.



Thanks to sporadic weather changes, our skin sure takes a beating – with our elbows being one of the biggest culprits for dry, scaly skin.

We spoke to two skin experts to find out why exactly we’re getting dry elbows, and how to treat the annoying problem.

Why do we get dry elbows?

It’s all about the glands in your elbows, or lack of, according to Dr Mervyn Patterson, cosmetic dermatologist at Woodford Medical.

“Skin on the elbow is significantly different to other skin on your body,” he tells us. “It tends to be much thicker so as 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.”

In general our elbows, and the lower parts of our legs, produce less of the key lipids that are help moisturise the top layer of our skin. This means more unwanted external factors can affect our elbows, and less water is retained in them.

Dr Noor Almaani, consultant dermatologist at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, told us other unique factors that contribute to dry elbows. These include:

  • Friction, such as from clothes, or when resting the elbows on hard surfaces.
  • General body dehydration.
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes, such as the menopause
  • Hereditary conditions, such as eczema

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Are dry elbows linked to any other medical condition?

Some conditions and medications can be the cause of your dry skin, too. Both diabetes and thyroid problems have been linked to dryness of elbows and knees.

“Conditions such as thyroid problems or diabetes disrupt skin function generally and are linked to dry skin all over the body, making dryness on the elbows much worse,” says Dr Patterson.

“Some medications such as vitamin A derivatives are also linked to elbow dryness,” adds Dr Almaani.

It’s also important to remember that the vast majority of dry elbow cases are not due to other conditions or underlying primary skin disease, but instead the disruption of normal skin. In fact, dry skin and something like psoriasis are two completely different things.

“Psoriasis is a skin disease where the body’s own immune system attacks the skin,” Dr Patterson tells us. “Inflammation is a result of an overproduction of layers of skin cells, which then heap up on each other forming psoriasis plaques.”

Tips to soften scaly, dry elbows

  1. Avoid using soap-based skin cleaning routines, particularly harsh alkaline soaps and surfactants.
  2. Try to avoid exfoliating using abrasive creams and glycolic materials. “For my own clients, I recommend something like Epionce Extreme Barrier Cream,” Dr Patterson tells us. “This product is specially formulated with key lipids and emollients to deeply penetrate and replenish the lipids that are so deficient in these areas.”
  3. Ensuring the skin barrier is intact by using regular greasy moisturisers
  4. Avoid taking long, hot showers. “This can lead to depletion of intercellular lipids and desiccation of the outermost layer of the skin,” says Dr Almaani
  5. Vigorous rubbing or exfoliation should be avoided. It might be worth using cushions or padded material when resting elbows on hard surfaces for long periods of time


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How Does Plaque Psoriasis Affect the Elbows and Knees?

Plaque psoriasis is an inflammatory autoimmune condition that can cause “plaques” to form on the skin on any part of the body. Plaques are areas of inflamed, thickened skin that are often covered in silver scaly patches. The areas affected by the symptoms can be itchy and painful.

Two of the most common places on the body to be affected by plaque psoriasis are the elbows and the knees. In fact, one study of people living with plaque psoriasis found that almost half of the people had psoriasis symptoms on their elbows.1 Around 1 in 3 people in the study reported that they had patches of plaque psoriasis on their knees.

Psoriasis symptoms on elbows and knees?

Psoriasis plaques on the knees and elbows can take different forms in different people, and can change for the same person over time. There might be a couple of small patches, or the entire knee or elbow might be covered. Because of their position on joints of the body that are constantly moving during normal activities, psoriasis plaques on the knees and elbows can often tend to have small cracks form in the dry, thickened skin2. These cracks are called “fissures.” Fissures can cause some bleeding at times, and they can be painful.

Treatment for psoriasis on elbows & knees

People living with plaque psoriasis have a wide range of treatment options. Healthcare providers will often advise people with mild psoriasis on the elbows and knees to try using topical medicines to relieve their symptoms.3 Topical medicines are usually creams or ointments that are applied directly to the skin that is affected by psoriasis. Some topical medicines are available over the counter, but some stronger ones will require a prescription. Coal tar and salicylic acid are over-the-counter topical medicines commonly used to treat plaque psoriasis. Because the plaques on the knees and elbows can be especially dry and prone to painful cracking, some people find that special, thick moisturizers can help. While moisturizers will not treat the cause of the psoriasis plaques, many people find that they offer some relief and help to reduce dryness and cracking.

Some people may find that they need a more powerful prescription topical medicine to control their symptoms. There are topical creams that contain special forms of Vitamin A and others that contain Vitamin D. Topical corticosteroids are also helpful for some people.

People who have more severe forms of plaque psoriasis may need a different type of treatment, called systemic medicines4. Unlike topical medicines which are applied to the skin, systemic medicines are taken by mouth (in a tablet or liquid) or through an injection or IV. Systemic medicines are very strong and have an effect on the entire body, which may increase the potential for unwanted side effects.

Tips for psoriasis on elbows & knees

Prescription medications are not the only ways for people with plaque psoriasis can help to manage psoriasis on the elbows and knees. For example, some people find that routines such as taking a daily lukewarm bath and avoiding harsh soaps can provide some relief by loosening scales and soothing the skin.

Most people with psoriasis find that the condition will flare up for a period of time, during which the symptoms become worse. These flare-ups are often caused by certain triggers, and everyone has a different set of triggers for their disease2. To help prevent flare-ups, it can be helpful to try and identify your own personal triggers so that you can try to avoid them if possible. Common triggers for plaque psoriasis flare-ups are things like stress, skin injuries, smoking, and getting too much sun exposure.

Check out the interactive psoriasis journey

Skin findings associated with nutritional deficiencies

Although vitamin and mineral deficiencies are relatively uncommon in the United States and other developed countries, physicians must be alert to them, particularly in specific populations such as infants, pregnant women, alcoholics, vegetarians, people of lower socioeconomic status, and patients on dialysis, on certain medications, or with a history of malabsorption or gastrointestinal surgery. The skin is commonly affected by nutritional deficiencies and can provide important diagnostic clues.

This article reviews the consequences of deficiencies of zinc and vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, and C, emphasizing dermatologic findings.


Case: A colon cancer patient on total parenteral nutrition

A 65-year-old woman who had been on total parenteral nutrition for 4 months after undergoing surgical debulking for metastatic colon cancer was admitted for evaluation of a rash on her face and extremities and failure to thrive. The rash had started 10 days earlier as small red papules and vesicles on the forehead and progressed to cover the forehead and lips. She had been prescribed prednisone 20 mg daily, but the condition had not improved.

Figure 1. Violaceous papules, plaques, and vesicles on the face and feet of a 65-year-old woman on total parenteral nutrition for the past 4 months.

Physical examination revealed numerous violaceous papules, plaques, and vesicles on her face, legs, and feet (Figure 1). The vesicles were tender to touch and some were crusted. Biopsy of a lesion on her leg revealed psoriasiform dermatitis with prominent epidermal pallor and necrosis (Figure 2), suggestive of a nutritional deficiency.

Blood testing revealed low levels of alkaline phosphatase and zinc. She was started on zinc supplementation (3 mg/kg/day), and her cutaneous lesions improved within a month, confirming the diagnosis of zinc deficiency.

Zinc is an essential trace element

Figure 2. Hematoxylin and eosin staining of a punch biopsy of a leg lesion in the patient in Figure 1. Hyperkeratosis and superficial epidermal necrosis with prominent pallor and vacuolization can be seen. There is perivascular mixed inflammatory cell infiltrate with lymphocytes and neutrophils but no eosinophils in the dermis.

Zinc is an essential trace element required for function of many metalloproteases and transcription factors involved in reproduction, immunology, and wound repair. Additionally, its antioxidant properties help prevent ultraviolet radiation damage.1

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc is 11 mg/day for men and 8 mg/day for women, with higher amounts for pregnant and lactating women.1 The human body does not store zinc, and meat and eggs are the most important dietary sources.1

The normal plasma zinc level is 70 to 250 µL/dL, and hypozincemia can be diagnosed with a blood test. For the test to be accurate, zinc-free tubes should be used, anticoagulants should be avoided, the blood should not come into contact with rubber stoppers, and blood should be drawn in the morning due to diurnal variation in zinc levels. Additionally, zinc levels may be transiently low secondary to infection. Thus, the clinical picture, along with zinc levels, histopathology, and clinical response to zinc supplementation are necessary for the diagnosis of zinc deficiency.2

Since zinc is required for the activity of alkaline phosphatase (a metalloenzyme), serum levels of alkaline phosphatase correlate with zinc levels and can be used as a serologic marker for zinc levels.3

Zinc deficiency is a worldwide problem, with a higher prevalence in developing countries. It can result from either inadequate diet or impaired absorption, which can be acquired or inherited.

Clinical forms of zinc deficiency

Acrodermatitis enteropathica, an inherited form of zinc deficiency, is due to a mutation in the SLC39A4 gene encoding a zinc uptake protein.4 Patients typically present during infancy a few weeks after being weaned from breast milk. Clinical presentations include diarrhea, periorificial (eg, around the mouth) and acral dermatitis, and alopecia, although only 20% of patients have all these findings at presentation.5 Occasionally, diaper rash, photosensitivity, nail dystrophy, angular stomatitis, conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and growth retardation are observed. Serum levels of zinc and alkaline phosphatase are low.5 Clinical and serologic markers improve within 2 to 3 weeks with oral zinc supplementation (2–3 mg/kg/day).

Acquired forms of zinc deficiency are linked to poor socioeconomic status, diet, infections, renal failure, pancreatic insufficiency, cystic fibrosis, and malabsorption syndromes.1,6,7 Cutaneous findings in acquired cases of zinc deficiency are similar to those seen in acrodermatitis enteropathica. Periorificial lesions are a hallmark of this condition, and angular cheilitis is an early manifestation. Eczematous annular plaques typically develop in areas subjected to repeated friction and pressure and may evolve into vesicles, pustules, and bullae.2 On biopsy study, lesions are characterized by cytoplasmic pallor, vacuolization, and necrosis of keratinocytes, which are common findings in nutritional deficiencies.8 Dystrophic nails, structural hair changes, and diminished growth of both hair and nails have been reported.2

Cutaneous lesions due to hypozincemia respond quickly to zinc supplementation (1–3 mg/kg/day), usually without permanent damage.2 However, areas of hypo- and hyperpigmentation may persist.


Case: A lung transplant recipient on peritoneal dialysis

Figure 3. Purpuric macules and plaques on forearm and legs of a 59-year-old man on dialysis for the past 2 years.

A 59-year-old bilateral lung transplant patient with a history of chronic kidney disease on peritoneal dialysis for the past 2 years was admitted for peritonitis. He had developed tender violaceous papules and nodules coalescing into large plaques on his arms and perifollicular purpuric macules on both legs 3 days before admission (Figure 3). The lesions were painful to the touch, and some bled at times. Tender gums, bilateral edema, and corkscrew hair were also noted (corkscrew hair is shown in another patient in Figure 4).

Biopsy of a lesion on the forearm was consistent with lymphangiectasia secondary to edema. Staining for bacteria and fungi was negative.

Serologic investigation revealed low vitamin C serum levels (7 µmol/L, reference range 23–114 µmol/L). Supplementation with 1 g/day of vitamin C was started and resulted in gradual improvement of the purpura. The patient died 4 months later of complications of comorbidities.

An important antioxidant

Figure 4. Corkscrew hairs on the abdomen of a 50-year-old man with a history of type 1 diabetes mellitus and kidney and pancreas transplant.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an important antioxidant involved in the synthesis of tyrosine, tryptophan, and folic acid and in the hydroxylation of glycine and proline, a required step in the formation of collagen.9 Humans cannot synthesize vitamin C and must acquire it in the diet.9 Plants are the most important dietary sources.9 Although vitamin C is generally not toxic and its metabolites are renally cleared, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disturbances can occur if large amounts are ingested.10

Vitamin C deficiency is rare in developed countries and is linked to malnutrition. Risk factors include alcoholism, severe psychiatric illness, anorexia, and low socioeconomic status. Moreover, multiple conditions including stress, viral illness, smoking, fever, and use of antibiotics lead to diminished vitamin C bioavailability.9 Patients on dialysis are at increased risk of vitamin C deficiency since it is lost during the process.11

The RDA for vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women, with higher requirements during pregnancy and lactation.12 This is much higher than the amount needed to prevent scurvy, 10 mg/day.13

Scurvy is the classic manifestation

The classic manifestations of vitamin C deficiency are scurvy and Barlow disease, also known as infantile scurvy.

Early manifestations of vitamin C deficiency such as fatigue, mood changes, and depression appear after 1 to 3 months of inadequate intake.13 Other manifestations are anemia, bone pain, hemorrhage into joints, abnormal vision, and possibly osteoporosis.

Cutaneous findings are a hallmark of scurvy. Follicular hyperkeratosis with fragmented corkscrew hair and perifollicular hemorrhages on posterior thighs, forearms, and abdomen are pathognomonic findings that occur early in the disease.13 The cutaneous hemorrhages can become palpable, particularly in the lower limbs. Diffuse petechiae are a later finding along with ecchymosis, particularly in pressure sites such as the buttocks.13 “Woody edema” of the legs with ecchymosis, pain, and limited motion can also arise.14 Nail findings including koilonychia and splinter hemorrhages are common.13,14

Vitamin C deficiency results in poor wound healing with consequent ulcer formation due to impaired collagen synthesis. Hair abnormalities including corkscrew and swan-neck hairs are common in scurvy due to vitamin C’s role in disulfide bond formation, which is necessary for hair synthesis.13

Scurvy also affects the oral cavity: gums typically appear red, swollen, and shiny earlier in the disease and can become black and necrotic later.13 Loosening and loss of teeth is also common.13

Scurvy responds quickly to vitamin C supplementation. Patients with scurvy should receive 1 to 2 g of vitamin C daily for 2 to 3 days, 500 mg daily for the next week, and 100 mg daily for the next 1 to 3 months.15 Fatigue, pain, and confusion usually improve in the first 24 hours of treatment, cutaneous manifestations respond in 2 weeks, and hair within 1 month. Complete recovery is expected within 3 months on vitamin C supplementation.15

Eczema is a chronic, probably genetic, inflammatory skin condition that causes the skin to become inflamed or irritated and often results in a patch of skin that is lighter in pigment than the skin around it.

“Eczema is especially common in children,” says Dr. Shali. “They often outgrow it, but some people continue to have symptoms on and off throughout their lives.”

Eczema is always itchy, and sometimes itching will start before a rash appears, most often on the face, back of knees, wrists, hands or feet. The areas may appear dry, thickened or scaly, and sometimes the skin can blister. Many people with eczema have allergies as well.

Treatment for eczema focuses on relieving and preventing itching, since scratching can make it worse and even lead to infection. Lotions and creams can keep the skin moist, and cold compresses can provide relief from itching. Other treatments include phototherapy, antihistamines and hydrocortisone.

“The right treatment will depend on your age, medical history and severity of your symptoms,” says Dr. Shali. “Your doctor can determine what is best for you.”