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

In Innenräumen herrscht vor allem im Winter oftmals zu trockene Luft. Das trocknet wiederum die Haut aus, vor allem die Stellen, die kaum Talgdrüsen enthalten, also Hände, Lippen oder Ellenbogen.

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.
Deswegen gilt: lieber kurz und lauwarm duschen und am besten auf rückfettende Duschgels zurückgreifen. Außerdem: direkt nach dem Duschen mit einer rückfettenden Bodylotion eincremen.

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.

What helps in the case of dry elbows?

Elbows can be rubbed with a body milk that is quickly absorbed and does not leave a greasy film. If the elbows are already relatively dry, care products with a high urea content of five to ten percent, such as UREA 5% Body Lotion or UREA 10% Body Milk, can help. These are best massaged in with circular movements and then allowed to absorb.

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, Atopic Dermatitis 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: