Skin knowledge Guide Dry ellbows – what helps
Frau cremt sich ihren trockenen Ellenbogen ein

Dry elbows - what helps

Especially in the cold season, many people struggle with dry skin. To counteract this, there are a variety of face, hand and foot creams. And the elbows? They are often neglected. Since the elbow skin tends to dryness for anatomical reasons anyway, it is beneficial to treat the elbows with the right care. In this article you will learn what else can cause elbows to dry out and how this dryness can be treated properly.

What are the causes of dry elbows?

1. Elbow anatomy

On the elbows we lack sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing fat to keep the skin supple and protect it from drying out. This means that the skin on the elbows is already naturally somewhat drier than the rest of the body.

2. Mechanical stress on elbows

Compared to other parts of the body, the elbows experience particular mechanical stress. Frequent propping up when writing, reading or thinking causes pressure and shear forces that result in greater keratinization and thickening of the skin. As a result, the skin on the elbows feels rough and dry.

3. Hormones

Our hormones regulate the activity of the sebaceous glands. For example, an overproduction of sebum is not uncommon during puberty. During pregnancy and menopause, hormonal fluctuations also have a strong effect on the skin’s appearance. With increasing age, hormone and sebum production decreases, which is why the skin – and thus also elbows – usually becomes drier.

4. Lifestyle

Lifestyle also has a major influence on our skin appearance. Smoking stimulates keratinization processes via nicotine receptors in the skin in certain areas of the body, which can then lead to skin thickening and dryness. Occupational or recreational activities that lead to mechanical irritation of the skin at the elbow can also influence the skin’s appearance.

5. Cold

Cold causes the skin to dry out, for example on the elbows, as the sebaceous glands produce less sebum and the skin thus loses moisture.

6. Dry air

Indoors, the air is often too dry, especially in winter. This in turn dries out the skin, especially the areas that hardly contain any sebaceous glands, i.e. hands, lips or elbows.

7. Long and hot showers

Water, especially hot water dries out the skin due to the lime content (If you want to learn more about the influence of lime-containing water on the skin click here). In combination with degreasing soaps and shower gels, a lot of moisture is removed from the skin.

Therefore, it is better to take a short, lukewarm shower and preferably use moisturizing shower gels. In addition, apply a moisturizing body lotion directly after showering.

8. Clothing material

Clothing made of wool or synthetic fabrics with chemical additives can irritate sensitive skin and thus promote dry skin. Especially in the cold season, we wear long-sleeved clothes that fit at the elbows. Therefore, if you have sensitive skin, you should choose soft cotton clothing.

When should I see the doctor for dry elbows?

If dryness and itching are accompanied by swelling and pronounced redness, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist, because sometimes not only dry skin but also skin diseases such as contact eczema, neurodermatitis or psoriasis can be behind the above symptoms. If the symptoms occur more frequently or do not improve, the cause should be clarified by a doctor.

Suitable products for dry skin:

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