wondering why your elbows are dry?

if you have dry skin, it's common to encounter ashy elbows. although it's not usually a cause for concern, applying your go-to moisturizer, like lotion, body butter, or oil, can help alleviate the problem. however, if the dryness persists or becomes more severe, there may be an undiagnosed underlying issue, such as eczema, psoriasis, or diabetes, that requires medical attention.

dryness and irritation can result from lifestyle factors or underlying conditions. but don't worry, these are often easily resolved with minor adjustments to your daily routine.

dry elbows are often caused by exposure to cold weather, taking frequent hot showers or baths, swimming in low-humidity areas, or skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. symptoms may include:

  1. cracking skin
  2. flaky, rough skin
  3. itching
  4. chapped skin

managing dry elbows


managing dry elbows can be an easy task, provided you understand the reason behind their dryness. several factors, such as weather conditions, exposure to chemicals, water temperature during shower or bath, irritants, or certain ingredients in lotions or soaps, can lead to dry elbows.

stay moisturized

dry elbows can be treated with regular moisturization, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits can prevent them. keep your elbows soft and silky with our expert tips. if you live in a dry climate or face extremely cold temperatures, dryness is unavoidable. even if you enjoy swimming, you may experience dry elbows and skin due to chlorine in water. incorporating proper skincare practices can alleviate these problems.

furthermore, water exposure during showers and baths can cause dryness in elbows, especially if the water is excessively hot. in all of these situations, moisturizing the elbows can alleviate the dryness.

pay attention to clothing

dry elbows can be caused by clothing in some people. natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, and linen can trigger allergies. synthetic materials like polyester, rubber, spandex, and rayon can also lead to dryness. additionally, dyes and glues used in clothes' manufacturing process can irritate the skin. if there is dryness, flakiness, or itching after wearing certain fabrics, stop wearing them. if the dryness or itching does not improve, contact a healthcare professional.

avoid irritants

dry elbows can be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, smoking, certain medications, and contact with irritants. when under stress, people can experience aggravated skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. it is important to be mindful of ingredient labels on products that come into contact with the skin to avoid dryness and irritation.

smoking is a known culprit of skin dryness and elbow roughness, caused by reduced blood flow due to nicotine. dry elbow is also a possible side effect of certain medications like diuretics (water pills) and retinoids (used in treating acne and psoriasis). if dry elbows are a concern due to medicine, contact a doctor to discuss alternative treatment options.

moisturizers: ingredients to look for


products that are known to seal in moisture and rehydrate the top layer of the skin have three main ingredients:

  1. humectants such as sorbitol, glycerin, lecithin, and hyaluronic acid, have the ability to attract moisture.
  2. occlusive ingredients such as lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum help to seal in moisture.
  3. emollients aid in smoothing out the skin by filling the gaps between skin cells. ingredients such as lauric, linoleic, and oleic acids serve this purpose.

research has found that adding specific humectants like aloe vera, mineral oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter to a topical moisturizer is crucial for reducing dryness, including dry elbows, in people with dry skin.

other possible causes

there are some additional causes for dry elbows as well. if you find that the area is consistently itching, infected, develops a rash, or is painful, contact your doctor right away so they can provide the proper treatment.

the following may also cause dry elbows:

  1. genetics play a role in some skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, which can be inherited.
  2. age: as people age, their skin loses elasticity and fat, and the skin becomes thinner. in addition, sweat glands and oil dry up. these skin changes are expected in older adults.
  3. certain medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease can result in dry and itchy skin.


dry elbows are a common occurrence. if you have habits that promote dryness, it's crucial to change them or use a moisturizing product specifically designed to cater to your skin and elbows. in some situations, a separate skincare product exclusively for elbows is suggested.

a word from verywell

if you have persistent dryness, flaking, or itchiness in your elbows, don't hesitate to contact your healthcare provider. they can help you with your concerns.

if symptoms persist or seem abnormal, a medical professional can refer you to a dermatologist. they will also give you a plan to moisturize and keep your elbows smooth.

frequently asked questions

how do i know if i have eczema on my elbows?

although dry elbows can be normal, they can also be the result of an underlying health condition. for example, symptoms of eczema include dry, itchy, crusting skin, and at times there are scaly leathery patches. the skin is also known to swell.

these symptoms resemble psoriasis, although the scales on the skin are visibly thicker and have well-defined edges in psoriasis cases.

what topicals help get rid of dry elbows?

dry elbows can be easily treated with moisturizing creams and lotions. look out for products that contain ingredients like glycerin, lecithin, mineral oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter.

are there any home remedies for dry elbows?

home remedies for dry elbows include monitoring the water temperature and duration of exposure. hot water can cause dryness, as can certain ingredients in soaps and shower gels. consider natural remedies, such as aloe vera, shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil, to alleviate dryness.

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