By: Suzanne Carlile, KSL
Have you heard of “alligator skin?" In addition the animal variety, it is also a term to describe skin that is dry, scaly and sometimes discolored.
Alligator skin on the elbows can be especially frustrating because the unsightly blemish is in area frequently seen by others. The condition can cause people to become self-conscious, and many will do whatever it takes to keep their elbows covered.
What causes alligator skin?
Dry, cracked elbows are mainly caused by climate. The skin condition is common for people living in dry climates with cold winters and hot summers. This is becuase the dry air causes skin to lose moisture and eventually dry out.
Dry skin can also be caused by harsh detergents, soaps, excess water exposure, psoriasis and eczema.
In general, any area on the body with thick skin is more susceptible to roughness and cracking (i.e. the knees and heels). To compound the problem, dry elbows just get drier when they come in contact with any surface. This skin-surface contact tends to drain skin of its natural oils.
How to treat alligator skin
Treatment for alligator skin on the elbows usually involves one or a combination of the following:
- Reduce sun exposure
- Ensure your environment is humidified when possible
- Avoid hot showers or baths for extended periods of time or frequency
- Avoid hard water if possible
- Exfoliate dry area with body scrub every few days
- Rub non-perfumed lotions, aloe vera gel or coconut oil into the elbows
- Cover the elbows in Vaseline or Bag Balm overnight. (Hint: cut the toe out of a sock and slip the sock over your elbow to avoid getting the moisturizer all over you as you sleep).
- Combine even parts baking soda and milk to make a paste. Then use that paste to scrub your elbows every other day.
- Cut a lemon or lime in half and put each half an elbow. Let it stand for 10 minutes daily.
- Some essential oils will also work well in smoothing rough elbows.
- Keep your body hydrated
- Ensure you have omega-3 is in your diet
- Consider medications you may be taking for other health issues could be causing skin dryness
If you have chronic skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, it is extremely important to consult your physician for treatment.
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