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Home Remedies for Dry Itchy Skin on Elbows

Home Remedies for Dry Itchy Skin on Elbows

Dry skin can occur anywhere on the body, but because skin on the elbows is rough and thick, it may become particularly dry. Dryness on the elbows is caused by cold, dry weather, wind, sunburn or a skin condition, like eczema or dermatitis. In most cases, dry and itchy skin on the elbows can be treated at home.


Varro E. Tyler, Ph.D., author of "The Honest Herbal," recommends adding castor oil to a lukewarm bath, which can keep the skin from drying out by and sealing the moisture from the bath into the skin. Castor oil is a thick oil derived from the castor bean, and is available over-the-counter at grocery stores and drugstores.

In addition, any oil, including olive oil and vegetable oil, has moisturizing properties that help keep skin hydrated, suggests Dee Anna Glaser, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at St. Louis University School of Medicine. Glaser recommends using vegetable oil or shortening to coat the skin immediately after getting out of the shower or bath before bed. Coat the elbows liberally with the oil, then wear an old long-sleeved shirt or pajamas to keep the oil from getting on any bed linens.


Oatmeal is an old home remedy for relieving the itch from chicken pox, and it also helps to soothe itchy elbows. The Mayo Clinic suggests sprinkling store-bought colloidal oatmeal into a bathtub filled with cool water, then soaking in it to relieve itchy skin. If colloidal oatmeal is unavailable, store-bought cooking oatmeal can be placed in a clean food processor or coffee grinder for several seconds to grind into a fine powder.

Cold Compress

The Mayo Clinic suggests placing cool compresses on the elbows to temporarily relieve itching and to add moisture to skin. Protect the skin by rinsing a washcloth or piece of gauze in cold water, then applying it directly to the skin on the elbow. When the compress begins to get warm, remove it and rinse it in cold water again, then apply it to the skin. Cold compresses can be used as needed throughout the day as an anti-itch remedy.

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