10 Cures for Dry Scaly Elbows

Let's face it. Having dry, hurting elbows sucks. We get them in the summer time and, come winter, our dry elbows are in near constant pain from the dry air, dry heating, and from the constant rubbing from our shirt sleeves.

Here are ten different remedies for dry elbows you can test out. I've tried each one one of these items on this list with success and alternate between oils and treatments at will.

1. Exfoliate First

Before you begin treating your dry, scaly elbows with creams and oils, give them a good scrub first. You can purchase face and body scrubs at the grocery store or drugstore. If you don’t feel like running out, you can mix your own scrub. You will need one tablespoon of brown sugar and one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix the two ingredients together for a cheap scrub. Gently massage about 1/2 tablespoon of scrub onto each elbow. Wash off with warm water and moisturize. You only need to do this once or twice a week.

Brown Sugar for Elbow Scrubs

By Moe Rubenzahl (Moe Rubenzahl) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Moe Rubenzahl (Moe Rubenzahl) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

2. Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E oil is very good for dry skin and it is often used on the face and neck to help prevent wrinkles. For your elbows, purchase the oil in a roll on applicator, if possible. Apply vitamin E oil to your elbows and other dry areas immediately after taking a shower. Massage the oil into your elbows for a minute, applying more, if necessary.


 img width="512" alt="Rosehip (9661613673)" src="h
img width="512" alt="Rosehip (9661613673)" src="h | Source

3. Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil is commonly used in cosmetics. It is a light oil that is quickly absorbed into the skin. I often use this oil whenever I first notice dry elbows and it always stops the dryness from getting any worse. Simply apply the rose hip oil onto your elbows after your morning shower, middle of the day, and at night before going to bed. Because it is absorbed so quickly, I have never had a problem with this oil coming off onto my clothing.

4. Before Bed Treatment

Petroleum jelly has long been the go to remedy for dry skin, however most people don’t realize that the jelly is not absorbed into the skin. What it does is coat the skin with a protective layer, holding in the moisture. For this nighttime treatment, you will first need to moisturize your elbows with whatever you prefer: coconut oil, skin lotion, shea butter, olive oil, etc. After you have applied the moisturizer onto your elbow, apply a layer of petroleum jelly overtop. Cover your elbows with stretchy tennis wrist bands or cut off sleeves. This keeps the petroleum jelly on your elbows and off your bed covers. The next day, remove the covers and wash off your elbows. Apply moisturizer and your elbows should feel softer and less painful from dry skin.

Drinking Water

Bronzino [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Bronzino [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

5. Drink Plenty of Water

One of the main causes of dry skin is dehydration. Most of us don’t drink enough water in a day. While the recommend daily amount of water fluctuates from professional to professional, you should be drinking at least 1/2 ounce of water to 1 full ounce of water for every pound you weigh. That means, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should drink anywhere from 60 to 120 ounces of plain water daily. This does not include sodas, teas, or fruit juices, although if you want to add a squirt of lemon to your water for flavoring, that is fine.

Body Scrub Recipe

6. Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil on my hair, face, and as a body lotion. It also works great on dry elbows. Apply a small amount after a shower and then apply twice more before going to bed for a total of three applications. Coconut oil is absorbed into the skin rather quickly and I have never had any problems with it staining my shirts. However, if your elbows are extremely dry, you may need more than three applications throughout the day.

7. Lard

Our ancestors used animal fats for ointments and for dry, chapped skin. Thankfully, clean lard is readily available in many grocery stores today. Use lard as you would any other skin oil. Apply a small amount of lard to your elbows after your shower and before you go to bed. It can stain clothes so wear a cotton undershirt after applying the lard to prevent staining on your outer shirt.

Shea Butter in Tins

By LC-Seminar Uni Hohenheim (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
By LC-Seminar Uni Hohenheim (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. | Source

8. Shea Butter

I like to use shea butter throughout the winter months because it is heavier than coconut oil and stays on my skin longer. You can buy raw shea butter from most health food stores and online. To use it, simply apply a small amount of shea butter to your elbows immediately after showering and then apply a second coating before going to bed at night. Like rosehip oil and coconut oil, I have not had any problems with shea butter staining my shirts.

9. Olive Oil

There are numerous expensive and fancy natural oils on the market and nearly all of them are great for dry skin, but don’t overlook olive oil. Olive oil has been used for dry skin since antiquity simply because the stuff works. Many celebrities also admit to using it for their dry skin problems, but unlike some oils, olive oil is not absorbed into the skin as quickly as rose hip oil or coconut oil and it can stain clothing. To avoid staining your shirts, apply a drop or two of olive oil onto each elbow and massage it into the skin. Wear a long sleeve, cotton undershirt overtop. This will prevent the oil from staining your outer shirt. Apply more olive oil to your elbows before going to bed.

Homemade Body Butter

10. Banana Peel

Bananas are an all around great food the we all should try and eat on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, banana skin is also good for your body. The next time you eat a banana, rub the inner part of the skin (the white side) onto your elbows and leave it on for 20 minutes or so. Rinse off your elbows and apply a moisturizer. The banana peel helps ease the pain of dry skin and soften the skin, too.

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1 comment

Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 14 months ago from Oklahoma

Great tips!

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