Dry, chapped and scaly elbows are uncomfortable, and sometimes embarrassing. There are a few possible causes: environmental factors, inadequate hydration or even genetics. If dry elbows are a problem for you, basic yet consistent skin care is key.
Exfoliation surfaces a fresh layer of skin and helps moisture seep into skin cells. Use an exfoliating scrub on your elbows at least once a week to keep them soft and smooth. There are many options for body scrubs at any drugstore or beauty supply store, or you can make your own by mixing equal parts sea salt or sugar and olive oil. Scrub your elbows in a circular motion to slough of dry skin.
Moisturize with a cream rather than a water-based lotion. Emollient creams provide a barrier on the skin to help lock in moisture and tend to be less irritating to the skin than water-based formulas. Look for ingredients like jojoba oil, shea butter, olive oil or coconut oil. Apply to your elbows every day and night; it's best to apply to damp skin to trap the moisture in.
Hot water tends to dry out your skin. Keep the amount of time spent in the shower or bath to a minimum (five to 10 minutes) and use lukewarm water. Choose gentle body soaps and washes that are fragrance- and dye-free. After showering, blot your elbows dry with a towel rather than rubbing. Give your elbows a break by not leaning on them too much, which can irritate the skin and lead to chapped, scaly patches.