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What can I do for Ashy Skin?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 21, 2024
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Ashy skin is a type of dry skin that affects people of every skin type and race, but is more noticeable on tanned or darker complexions. Ashy skin can be noticed when areas of the skin appear slightly whiter than the rest of the skin, or when the skin has a dull, chalky, flaky appearance overall. The best treatments for this type of dry skin are exfoliation and moisturization.

The best place to begin treating ashy skin is with a thorough exfoliating treatment to remove any dead skin on the surface. To exfoliate the skin, choose a body or facial scrub designed for the purpose. These will likely contain an exfoliating ingredient designed to slough off dry skin, such as apricot pieces, small plastic beads, oatmeal, sugar, or salt, among others.

When exfoliating the body, dampen small areas, and then apply the exfoliating scrub, rubbing it into the skin for a minute or two before rinsing off. Do this over the entire body, or just the places that appear dull and dry if necessary. The water you use should be warm, but not hot. In general, it is also a good idea to avoid using body washes, body scrubs, or other cleansers that contain soap, which is extremely drying.

Do not use an exfoliating scrub designed for the body on the face; it will likely be too harsh for the delicate skin there. You may also use an exfoliating body wash every day in the shower to maintain the new, fresh appearance of the skin. Choose one that is designed for everyday use with a bath pouf or wash cloth. A body wash designed for everyday use will be gentler than an exfoliating scrub, and you can choose one with moisturizers included for an added benefit to treat ashy skin.

After the skin has been thoroughly exfoliated, it is time to apply moisturizer. Choose a deep moisturizer designed for the face that will not clog pores, and be sure to apply it both morning and night. For the body, it may be simpler to use rich moisturizers like cocoa butter or shea butter, as they will be able to deeply penetrate and soften the skin. Oil-based moisturizers are also often very effective in treating ashy skin, and should also be applied in the morning and before bed.

Once the ashy appearance of the skin has been improved, maintain the new, fresh look by applying moisturizer every day and exfoliating regularly. You may also choose to receive regular exfoliating treatments at a salon or spa. If skin remains dry, itchy, or red, it may be necessary to visit a dermatologist to rule out any allergies or other skin conditions.

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Discussion Comments
By anon356824 — On Nov 28, 2013

All I wanted was a product that can help me stop ashing. But this just had to be complex.

By CellMania — On Jan 09, 2011

@momothree: Yes, if lotion doesn’t work then you can always try oils. Since oil is greasy it will leave your skin very slick, therefore, removing the ash. Also, it will add an extra shiny coat to your skin which is always a good look. Baby oil would probably be the best type to use as well as mineral oil.

By momothree — On Jan 07, 2011

I’ve tried using lotion as suggested, but I still have really ashy skin. It seems like no matter how often I moisturize I just can’t get rid of this white stuff on my skin. Is there any other way to rid my legs of ash? I've tried several different skin products.

By calabama71 — On Jan 04, 2011

Ashy skin normally comes from a lack of lotion. The best time to rejuvenate your skin with lotion is after bathing, in the morning, and before you go to bed. This way your skin stays replenished with moisturizer all day.

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