Check with Your Doctor
Considering the commonness of dry elbows and all of the possible causes, it seems as if you could try home and over-the-counter remedies forever. In certain cases, though, a trip to the pharmacy just won't cut it.
The elbows are common prey for psoriasis, though many people incorrectly assume it's just a case of dryness [source: Kolsky Hertzig]. Psoriasis is characterized most often by patches of raised red skin topped off with shiny scales, which can ooze, crust or bleed if they're picked or irritated. Elbows are an especially painful area because bending and moving affected skin can further irritate the rash, and psoriasis sometimes causes joint pain (psoriatic arthritis) in affected areas [source: WebMD].
Eczema is another condition that warrants a visit to your doctor, because the condition is manageable but not curable. Management requires an evaluation to determine the triggers to your particular situation and ways to alleviate or avoid those triggers. Eczema results in dry, thickened skin that doesn't go away on its own or respond to hydrocortisone cream. The skin patches can blister or develop crust [source: WebMD].
See the next page for more advice and lots more information on skin care.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Gluck, Didi. "10 Body-Smoothing Secrets from the Top Skin Experts." WebMD. (May 11, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/10-body-smoothing-secrets-from-the-top-skin-experts
- Grossman, Karen, MD. "Why the Skin on Your Arms is Bumpy -- And What to Do About It." WebMD. April 22, 2010. (May 11, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/why-the-skin-on-your-arms-is-bumpy-and-what-to-do-about-it
- Kolsky Hertzig, Alyssa. "Summer Beauty Tips." WebMD. (May 11, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/summer-beauty-tips
- Park, Madison. "More talking, more problems: 'Cell phone elbow' damages nerves." CNN. (May 18, 2010)http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/02/cell.phone.elbow/index.html#cnnSTCText
- Shape. "Beauty Secrets of the Spas." (May 11, 2010)http://www.shape.com/beauty_and_style/spa/at_home_treatments/beauty_secrets_of_the_spas
- WebMD. "Calluses and Corns--Exams and Tests." Dec. 7, 2009. (May 11, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/calluses-and-corns-exams-and-tests
- WebMD. "Psoriasis--Symptoms." (May 11, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/psoriasis-symptoms
- WebMD. "Spring Cleaning: How to Pamper Your Skin." (May 11, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/how-pamper-your-skin
- WebMD. "Understanding Eczema -- Symptoms." (May 11, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/understanding-eczema-symptoms
HowStuffWorks finds out what ashy skin is and how to treat it.