Dry skin can pop up any time of the year, but it is especially common during the colder Fall and Winter months. And more than anywhere else on the body, dry skin occurs the most on the ELBOWS.
Dry elbows totally suck. You know what we mean. Not only is it super unattractive, but if it gets too bad, it’s literally painful. Like, can’t even set your elbows down on the table, painful.
So, why are elbows like this? Why is it a constant battle to keep them silky smooth and free of dry skin? We’ll tell you.
Basically, the sebaceous glands underneath the skin secrete oil that moisturizes the skin. Unfortunately for our elbows, there are less sebaceous glands in the elbow area. And just like you’d think, the lack of natural lubrication can cause the skin to dry and thicken. Then, you have dry skin.
In addition to the natural lack of lubrication in this area, there are several other factors that can contribute to dry elbows. Think harsh exfoliators, prolonged exposure to hot water, and so on. We’ll get to all that later.
The point is, the best way to cure dry elbows is to identify these factors so that you can protect your skin from further damage, and return your elbows to their original soft and healthy state.
So today, we’re going to go over these factors and talk about what you can do to soften dry elbows and keep them as smooth as possible.
A little disclaimer: Keep in mind that excessive dryness on the elbows can be a sign of an underlying skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis. So, if these tips don’t make a difference in the overall health of your dry elbows, consider seeing a dermatologist for medical advice.
How To Cure Dry Elbows
♡ Avoid abrasive exfoliators.
Exfoliator brushes and body scrubs with abrasive properties can exacerbate dry skin patches. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good sugar scrub. Just try to avoid your elbows as you work on healing your dry skin. And when you do exfoliate your elbows, opt for a gentle exfoliator to remove the dead skin cells.
♡ Stay away from glycolic materials.
Glycolic materials are known to be excellent chemical exfoliators. However, they are also known to dry out the skin. So, avoid using products with glycolic materials on all areas of dry skin, including the elbows (and face).
♡ Avoid long, hot showers.
This one is so important. We get it, a hot bath or shower is SO NICE. But, exposing your skin to hot water for long periods of time is one of the best ways to dry out your skin. Instead, take shorter showers with lukewarm water. And avoid just letting the warm water run over your elbows. P.S: Balancing your skin’s pH can also help prevent dry skin. Here’s what to put in your LUKEWARM bath water to promote skin pH balance.
♡ Keep your skin hydrated.
You should moisturize your skin with a body lotion every single day – no matter what. For a good daily moisturizer, we love Nécessaire. If it looks like your elbows need a little extra love because they’re dry and cracked, apply a healing moisturizer like Aquaphor or coconut oil to the affected areas ( in addition to your daily moisturizer). Once the flare-up is calmed, you can return to just the one daily moisturizer.
♡ Use gentle wash products.
Your skin barrier is one of the most important parts of your body, especially when it comes to defending your body from sickness. So, you should always be using gentle products on your skin so that it is as healthy as it can possibly be. In fact, using harsh products could be the reason your elbows are dry, and the reason you’re experiencing other dry patches as well. Switch to a more gentle product and see the difference for yourself. Try Nécessaire body wash. People are crazy about it for a reason – ahem, Amelia Hamlin.
♡ Use elbow pads.
No, we’re not talking about elbow pads you throw on your kid when they’re riding their bike. We’re talking about moisturizing elbow pads and/or sleeves made to treat dry elbows. Basically, these are like moisturizing patches for your elbows, that provide intense hydration in a short period of time. Perfect for colder weather flare-ups. Try these – bonus: they’re pink.
♡ Guard the skin against external elements.
If you’re dealing with dry skin anywhere on your body (including your elbows), it’s a good idea to protect it from the surrounding environment. This could include extreme cold, harsh winds, hot water, extreme heat, and sweat. And even things like excessive dirt, cleaning products, and chemicals. When dealing with these external factors, cover the skin on your elbows with a long-sleeve shirt, some elbow pads, or some arm sleeves.
♡ Choose the best skincare products for your needs.
Like we mentioned earlier, using the right products can make a big difference in the overall health of your skin. If you haven’t weeded out your low-quality and/or expired skincare products yet, do that now. Then, replace them with products that suit the needs of your skin. For a list of the best skincare products for sensitive skin, click here.
♡ Choose the best household products for your skincare needs.
It’s also a good idea to switch up your laundry detergent, just in case you’re allergic to an ingredient that could be causing elbow breakouts. After all, your elbows touch your clothes a lot, especially in the Fall and Winter when you wear more long-sleeve outfits. Lauryn loves Molly’s Suds or anything from Branch Basics (use code SKINNY for 15% off) because she’s knows it’s non-toxic and safe for her family’s skin.
♡ Pay attention to your choice of clothes.
Lastly, pay attention to the clothes you’re wearing. Is there a certain material that causes your elbows to break out more than another? Do you often wear scratchy knit sweaters? This could be exacerbating your dry skin, especially during a flare-up.
Drop your home remedies for dry elbows below.
No more cracked, dry elbows here. Do you have a trick for curing dry skin on the elbows, or anywhere for that matter? If so, drop it below, you guys always know best.
x, The Skinny Confidential team
+ if you’re dealing with dry, cracked heels check out this post on the baby foot peel.
++ stalk the best skincare for sensitive skin here.