Dry Elbows

How to Care for Dry Elbows

Learn more about what really causes dry elbows and itchy elbows and whether you could be making it worse without realising it.

Why dO WE GET DRY elbowS?

WHAT MAKES ELBOWS DIFFERENT TO THE REST OF THE BODY?

Dry elbows are more common than other dry areas of skin on the body, but why is this the case?

It’s due to a couple of factors:

  1. The elbows are in contact with different surfaces a lot more than a lot of other areas – whether you're leaning on the desk, holding your head in your hands or reading a book. This makes the skin thicker than usual and puts it at a higher risk of you suffering from dry elbows.
  2. Your elbows are a joint – the skin on them bends and stretches constantly throughout the day as you move, which puts further strain on the elbow skin, causing dry elbows that can even become cracked if not looked after.
 

dry elbows

I’ve got discoloured elbows – should I be worried?

Having discoloured elbows is completely normal, it's simply caused by a buildup of dead skin cells which can make the area look patchy or even scaly. Make sure to exfoliate regularly to remove these dead skin cells for bright and rejuvenated-looking elbow skin.

CAUSES OF DRY ELBOWS

IRRITATING CLOTHING

Certain materials such as synthetics like polyester can irritate the elbow skin as they rub against it. Sweat can contribute to this by clinging to clothing causing friction between your skin and your clothing. This can strip the skin of its natural oils and leave it dry and dehydrated resulting in dry elbows.

CAUSES OF DRY ELBOWS

HEATING

Heating systems can often draw the moisture out of the air, consequently dehydrating your skin, you may notice you have dry elbows more in the winter months when you rely more on heating than you do during Spring and Summer. However, exposing your skin to hot temperatures in the sun can also be a problem, for example when you go on holiday your skin may not be used to high temperatures and will dry out easily. You could be causing dry elbows yourself by taking showers that are too hot - this strips the skin of its natural oils causing it to dry out, which can lead to itchy elbows and dry elbows.

CAUSES OF DRY ELBOWS

AIR CONDITIONING

In the same way that heating can dry out the skin, air conditioning can have the same effect by upsetting the skin’s natural moisture balance. This can often lead to itchy elbows that feel dry to the touch.

CAUSES OF DRY ELBOWS

MOVEMENT

As elbows are on a joint, they're moving and bending all the time. This puts extra pressure on the skin and if they're dehydrated already, they will be less elastic than usual and the skin may even crack if not cared for properly.

CAUSES OF DRY ELBOWS

INSUFFICIENT SKIN CARE

Your skin needs moisture – and this is all the more important when it comes to dry elbows. Keeping the skin hydrated on a regular basis using a rich moisturiser like NIVEA Irresistibly Smooth Body Lotion is essential for avoiding dry skin on elbows.

CAUSES OF DRY ELBOWS

SUN DAMAGE

Elbows can be particularly susceptible to damage from UV light– this can cause dry elbows and sun overexposure. Make sure to always apply a good sunscreen all over before exposing your elbows to the sun.

CAUSES OF DRY ELBOWS

CHLORINE

On holiday, swimming and relaxing in the sun is the main thing on your mind but if you're swimming in a pool, there is a high chance that the chlorine is drying out your skin. Rehydrate your skin after drying off from the pool with moisturiser, or if you'll be basting in the sun again you can do this by reapplying sunscreen.

cigarettes

CAUSES OF DRY ELBOWS

SMOKING

Smoking dehydrates your skin, and areas of the body that are already naturally drier will be the first to notice, so you may develop dry elbows if this is you.

CAUSES OF DRY ELBOWS

HORMONAL CHANGES

Hormonal changes such as menopause dehydrate the skin causing dry elbows.


WAYS TO TACKLE DRY SKIN ON ELBOWS

Dry elbows may be common, but there are steps you can take at home to keep your skin smooth and supple.

Dry elbows may be common, but there are steps you can take at home to keep your skin smooth and supple:

  • Use lukewarm water when you wash, or shower to prevent getting dry elbows.
  • Exfoliate your skin to get rid of the dry, flaky skin with a gentle body scrub. It is important that the scrub is gentle on your skin as your dry skin will be more sensitive and can result in itchy elbows.
  • Moisturise your skin after you shower to lock in moisture and keep your skin hydrated and nourished to prevent dry elbows. Moisturising is also soothing to your skin and can provide much needed comfort from itchy elbows. Try the NIVEA Lotion - Dry Skin, for long-lasting nourishment.
  • Wash with gentle, nourishing shower gels as some ingredients can cause dry skin and dry elbows. Creams and gels with Shea or Cocoa Butter are great for keeping your skin nourished. NIVEA Indulgent Moisture Cocoa Shower Cream is rich and keeps your skin feeling moisturised and smooth, even after drying.
  • Change the clothes you wear and instead wear clothing made from softer and more breathable materials such as cotton which will be gentler on your skin.
  • Change your fabric softener if your skin is reacting or becoming sensitive to it to prevent itchy elbows.
  • When going out and about in the sun, make sure to apply sunscreen to your body to protect against UV light as well as the heat drying out your skin. If you're swimming, make sure it is water resistant and after swimming, make sure to wash off the chlorine or sea water and promptly moisturise to restore your skin’s hydration levels. If you leave salty seawater on your body you may find you have itchy elbows as the salt can be rough on your skin so this is a useful habit to get into.

If your dry elbows persist or worsen, see your GP as they will be able to prescribe medical treatments that will help soothe your dry elbows and itchy elbows.

 

dry elbows

5 REASONS TO EXFOLIATE YOUR DRY ELBOWS 

Dead skin cells are a big cause of unsightly elbows with dry and scaly skin. Exfoliating on a regular basis will get rid of these and reveal the bright, healthy-looking skin underneath.
Just take a good body scrub and gently massage it all over your skin, focusing on areas with particularly dry skin like the elbows and knees. Then wash it off and enjoy rejuvenated-looking skin.
A body brush can be another key tool for keeping the elbow area exfoliated.

  1. Skin will look brighter in appearance
  2. Dead skin cells will be removed to reveal fresh, healthy-looking skin
  3. The massage will give the skin’s circulation a boost
  4. Hard patches of skin will feel smoother
  5. Skin tone will look more even and discoloured elbows eventually eliminated

Although exfoliating your elbows is very important if you have dry elbows, it's important not to do it too often as this can become to harsh for the skin and you may start removing healthy skin cells leaving your with dry elbows, that can be sore. Experts recommend using a body scrub no more than twice a week if you want to reap the benefits without causing further damage. When you have dry elbows it's important to be patient with your treatments as only doing something once will not fix the problem. You must implement new techniques into your routine in order to be successful and say goodbye to dry elbows long-term.

dry elbows

A body oil could be your dry elbows' best friend

If you have very dry elbows and you feel you need more intense moisturisation, try treating it to nourishing body oil. NIVEA Oil In Lotion Coconut & Monoi Oil is enriched with monoi oil and is perfect for smoothing out dry elbows and leaving them feeling silky and hydrated for longer.