How to Get Rid of Ashy Skin

Get Your Skin Glowing Again

Applying body lotion
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Ashy skin is a problem that people often deal with during the fall and winter, when dry skin is most common. The term “ashy” refers to what is simply just very dry skin; skin so dry that it actually appears white or flaky. This skin problem is especially noticeable on people who have deeper skin tones, and it can be annoying or even embarrassing.

Ashy skin appears most often on the lower legs, elbows, knees, arms and heels.

Luckily there are many ways to stop ashy skin and get your skin glowing again.  Here are some tips about how to treat and prevent dry, ashy skin.

Look at the Ingredients on Your Skin Care Products

Sometimes a moisturizing skin care product can actually be drying to your skin depending on the ingredients in the product. Try to avoid products with certain types of alcohol in them. These ingredients can be extremely drying to the skin and will only exacerbate the appearance of ashy skin.  The bad types of alcohol in skin care products include SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol.  Fatty alcohols, which you will see on a skin care as cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol are actually good for your skin.

Other ingredients to watch out for include artificial fragrances in products and SLS’s - sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate – which are usually found in body washes and shampoos.

 SLSs cause products to have a lot of bubbles but they can also strip the skin on needed moisture.  You may have heard of SLS-free shampoo for color-treated hair because it doesn’t strip the hair. It's the same with skin care products with SLS.

Ingredients are listed in order of percentage in the product, so looking at the first five ingredients in a skin care product can be very telling.

Does product contain such ingredients as oils, butters, lanolin or petrolatum? These are all great ingredients for giving your skin a large dose of lasting moisture.

Desperate for something that really works? Ditch the products and use a straight butter or oil directly on your skin.  For example use coconut oil on your skin and in your hair.  You can also use shea butter to deeply moisturize your skin.

Turn the Hot Water Down in Your Shower

Taking a shower with hot water only dries skin out more, especially if you take extra-long showers. Use warm water instead of hot when bathing, and try not to soak in the tub for too long if you love baths. This is especially important during the winter when the air is already much drier in your home and around you in general. Apply a thick body cream or coconut oil right after you dry off from your shower to lock in the moisture your body absorbed during your shower or bath.

Exfoliate on a Weekly or Bi-Weekly Basis

Exfoliate your skin often even if you don’t have ashy skin, but if you do have extra dry skin exfoliation is particularly important. Part of the ashy look on your skin is caused by the buildup of dead skin cells which are actually visible on the surface of the skin because they are sitting there and not moving.

They can easily be removed by using a gentle scrub once or twice a week in the shower on your arms, stomach, and legs.

Use a Humidifier

Winter air is terrible for dry skin because it lacks moisture and leaves us all with parched, itchy skin. The heat we use to warm our homes during the winter months also dries out our skin. Try combating this by using a humidifier which will help keep the moisture levels in your home at a higher level and will actually help the moisture level of your skin.  A cold water humidifier keeps mold and bacteria from growing in your humidifier.

Drink Plenty of Water

You hear it all the time, but do it! Drinking enough water can help your skin stay plump and moist, hydrating your body from the inside out. Our skin needs the moisture from the inside just as much as it needs it on the outside, so drink up!

 Don't limit yourself just to water.  Drink naturally flavored waters and tea as well in order to replenish your body's moisture.

Updated by Hanah Tetro