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.