Different types of skin call for different types of moisturization. You likely know this if you’ve lathered up your elbows and knees with your standard lotion only to be met with the same dry skin. Mindbodygreen explains that your microbiome may impact your skin’s appearance more than initially meets the eye, from your face to your feet.
The main reason why your elbows are a magnet for dry skin is because this layer is much thicker than other areas of your body and has fewer pores to moisturize itself. “The skin on the elbows tends to be thicker, which helps them withstand all of the mechanical forces from the constant movement of the elbow joint,” Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D., tells the outlet. “The skin of the elbows is also drier and more prone to irritation since it contains fewer oil glands than on some other areas of our bodies.”
The rest of our skin can readily absorb natural oils that offer a layer of moisture, but the elbows don’t have this luxury. Plus, Healthline notes, your skincare products may be making matters worse. Harsh perfumes or self-care products can cause irritation and your beloved hot shower may be zapping already-sparse moisture in that area. The outlet recommends applying a soothing lotion to your elbows after every shower to ensure that you’re hydrating the area following your rinse.
Super dry elbows may be from a skin condition
If you’ve noticed an abnormal amount of flakiness or rough skin around this area, it may stem from an underlying condition. Mindbodygreen asserts that this condition may be something as common as eczema or a more complex problem, such as a thyroid issue. Psoriasis may also cause dry skin on your elbows, and diabetes can be a culprit as well.
Beyond health issues, other elbow-drying factors come from our lifestyles. According to Healthline, the rough materials of your shirts and outerwear can contribute to the scaly feeling on your outer arms and may be exacerbated by an irritating detergent. Opt for a gentler soap and check to make sure your new top isn’t scratching up your elbows. Furthermore, Mindbodygreen explains that this area of the body undergoes a lot of wear and tear due to its position. Cochran Gathers tells the outlet, “The elbow skin undergoes constant friction from movement, clothing, and even just resting our elbows on desks and tables. These external factors, along with culprits like cold weather, exposure to hot water and chlorine from swimming pools all contribute to dry, flaky elbow skin.”
Perhaps the best way to rid yourself of pesky dry flakes is by exfoliating once a week. Simply slough off the dead skin cells and layer with a dense hand cream. The outlet explains that these types of lotions work best for your elbows due to their more densely concentrated formulas — they aren’t just for your hands. Make sure that you’re drinking enough water on a daily basis and know that you can talk to your doctor if you think there’s a bigger issue at play!
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