Why do I Have Dry Skin on My Elbows?
The reasons can be different: from dry air to a serious illness.
What is the peculiarity of the skin on the elbows?
The skin in this area is not the same as in the rest of the body. Firstly, there are almost no sebaceous glands, the secret of which is created by a water-lipid acid mantle. Because of this, the upper skin layer — the epidermis — practically is not protected from moisture loss. Without a natural shield, it begins to peel off and even crack...
Secondly, the skin on the elbows is in constant motion: in order to withstand the additional load, it has to stretch and become rough. However, this is trouble not only for the elbows but also for other joints: the skin on the knees and ankles has a similar problem.
Dry skin on the elbows is not dangerous by itself, but it is not worth bringing it to cracks: through damage, bacteria and viruses can get into the deeper layers, which lead to more serious problems.
What makes the skin dry?
Usually, the skin condition worsens in the cold season due to dry indoor air, temperature differences and constant friction on clothes. However, the skin on the elbows can become dry in the summer.
Here are the most common causes:
- Too aggressive cleansers that dry out the epidermis even more. For example, ordinary alkaline soap destroys the acidic skin mantle, and the epidermis needs two to six hours to restore balance.
- The habit of resting your elbows on the table, due to which there is additional pressure and friction.
- Coarse or synthetic clothing that irritates the skin.
- Taking a hot shower or going to the bathhouse. At high temperatures, the body loses moisture, and primarily dehydration is noticeable in sensitive areas. Long baths harm the skin more than a shower: prolonged exposure to water leaches the epidermis, i.e. deprives it of protection.
- Chlorinated water in the pool. Chemical allergies are especially common on vulnerable elbow skin...
- Lack of vitamins and minerals that stimulate skin renewal. The most valuable in our case — vitamins A and E, biotin, zinc.
How to help the skin?
Without proper care, the skin on the elbows quickly becomes rough.
Here's what dermatologists advise:
- Try to spend less time in the water, especially in hot or chlorinated.
- Replace alkaline soap with more gentle means, pH of which is closer to skin acidity — from 4 to 6. Suitable synthetic products, for example, with lactic acid in the composition. But soap with triclosan, sulfur or benzoyl peroxide should not be used every day.
- After water procedures, be sure to moisturize your skin. So you restore the washed lipid layer. German dermatologist Yael Adler in his book «What hides the skin. 2 square meters that dictate how we live» recommends universal creams for daily care, but not organic oils. In its pure form, on the contrary, they wash out lipids and make the skin even drier.
- Include skin-friendly foods in your diet: fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, oily fish — everything rich in antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids.
- Protect your skin from the sun, wind and cold: dress according to the weather and do not forget about sunscreen if you spend a lot of time outdoors.
- If you do not have skin diseases, do a gentle peeling or a gentle massage with a brush. Such procedures should be carried out no more than once a week...
When to see a doctor?
If the skin on the elbows peels off, cracked, sores appear — worth a guard. Dryness may be a sign of more serious health problems...
Here are some of them:
- Hormonal disbalance. For example, a decrease in estrogen, which helps the skin retain moisture. Fluctuations in this hormone are usually observed during menopause, pregnancy, and menstruation.
- Diabetes and other disorders of the endocrine system. They affect the condition of the skin, and this is especially noticeable on the elbows and knees.
- Anemia With this disease, hemoglobin production is disturbed due to iron deficiency.
- Elbow eczema. Manifested by cracks and non-healing ulcers.
- Psoriasis. Accompanied by a flaky rash.
If you notice suspicious symptoms, make an appointment with a doctor. Only a specialist can make a final diagnosis.