Constant elbow movement makes the skin in this area thicker; as such, elbows are more susceptible to rough, dark and dry patches. Dead skin builds up easily over the elbows, which can lead to the darker pigments, and dry skin can make the area scaly and patchy. If you want to bare your arms with confidence -- but fear showing off those rough elbows -- treatment and prevention are key.
Apply a dime-sized amount of exfoliating scrub to the elbows twice a week in the shower before using body wash. Rub firmly in circular motions to get rid of dead skin. Rinse with water and follow up with a hydrating body wash.
Dab skin dry with a towel. Apply three to four drops of vitamin E oil to each elbow after every shower and rub it in thoroughly for two minutes. Vitamin E oil can also be applied to other dry areas such as knees and hands.
Apply a hydrating, fragrance-free cream containing shea or cocoa butter to your elbows in the morning and before bed. Creams with chemical moisturizers and heavy fragrances can irritate the skin.
Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on your elbows prior to bed twice a week in lieu of cream. Cut the toes off of two white cotton tube socks, and pull them over your arms; this covers the elbows to prevent getting the jelly on your bedding. Rinse any residual jelly away in the morning with a moisturizing body wash and follow with cream.
Make your own exfoliating scrub at home. Mix together one part brown sugar with one part almond or olive oil and rub over the skin. Other popular homemade exfoliants are sea salt, oatmeal and white sugar mixed with olive or almond oil.
Steer clear of extremely hot showers and baths, which can further dry and damage skin. Stick with warm water and shower or bathe for a maximum of 15 minutes at a time.
If you still find dry, patchy elbows after a couple weeks of treatment, see your dermatologist. Prescription treatments may be required or there may be an underlying health issue.
Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.