What is Ashy Skin?


If you are with a dark brown or black skin color and you feel that sometimes your skin looks a bit gray, then you may have something that dermatologists refer to as ‘ashy skin’.

Ashy skin is common in darker skin types, and is a result of dry skin. Dry skin leads to a build-up of dead skin cells on the stratum corneum (the outer layer of the skin) causing the skin to look gray in color.

Thankfully, getting rid of ashy skin on the face and body is easily achievable at home with a personalized skin care routine. Read on for our expert dermatologist tips on how to get rid of, and prevent, ashy skin. To read more about “What causes skin color? ” click here.

Why Do I Get Ashy Skin?

Ashy skin is primarily caused by skin that is dry and dehydrated; therefore, daily use of a moisturizer is essential. This should be preceded by a face or body exfoliator as ashy skin is also often the result of incomplete desquamation (i.e. the shedding of dead skin cells to reveal new and fresh skin beneath).

How To Get Rid Of Ashy Skin

The most sure-fire way to get rid of ashy skin on the face and body is to regularly use an exfoliating scrub to gently remove the dead skin cells, as well as stimulate the production of collagen (an essential component of healthy skin) to leave radiant and glowing skin.

What Are The Best Face Scrubs To Treat Ashy Skin?

The best face scrub for ashy skin is a mechanical face scrub with abrasive beads that are not bad for the environment.  One of the best face scrubs for ashy skin is Pidanti Smoothing Polish Face and Body Scrub - an excellent all-round exfoliating scrub. This face scrub gently removes dead, dull skin cells using a combination of exfoliating beads and 10% glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a low pH cleanser  with alpha hydroxy acid well-known to create a smoother, more even appearance, as well as gently peel away dead skin cells from the surface of the stratum corneum.

Pidanti Smoothing Polish face and Body Scrub is also packed with antioxidants to protect the skin from further damage, and soothing chamomile to reduce irritation and relieve blemishes.

Similarly, Jan Marini Bioglycolic Resurfacing Body Scrub  also combines glycolic acid and exfoliating granules with soothing aloe and chamomile. While named a ‘body scrub’ this light exfoliator is also ideal to remove ashy skin on the face for smooth, glowing skin.

We also love ClarityRx Down + Dirty Mask,  which is a natural apricot and mineral-rich seaweed scrub that also doubles as a charcoal mask to remove the gray scales that create an appearance of ashy skin. This face scrub for ashy skin is suitable for even sensitive skin types, and will lift away dead skin cells for a healthy-looking complexion. Mineral-rich seawood supports the skin’s natural hydration process to prevent the reappearance of the dry, dead skin cells that cause ashy skin.

What Are The Best Body Scrubs To Treat Ashy Arms And Ashy Legs?

The best body scrub for ashy arms, ashy legs, ashy hands, ashy knees, ashy elbows, and even ashy ankles is Pidanti Smoothing Polish Face and Body Scrub. This scrub will remove dead skin cells to treat any ashy parts of the body. You can use it to target just those areas where ashy skin is prevalent, or on your entire body. Follow with an effective body moisturizer, such as Zerafite Ultra Rich Body Cream, which will protect the skin barrier and keep the skin hydrated.

How To Prevent Ashy Skin On The Face

If you regularly suffer from ashy skin on the face, the best way to keep it at bay is to use an effective facial moisturize r or face oil, which will keep the skin hydrated and reduce the appearance of the dry skin that causes a gray color. A face moisturizer that replaces the lipids that are commonly lost in dry skin conditions, as well as hydrates, is essential to prevent ashy skin.

One of our favorite face moisturizers to prevent ashy skin is Zerafite Barrier Repair Cream,  a gentle face cream that repairs and protects the skin barrier (i.e. the stratum corneum). By doing so, this face moisturizer prevents the appearance of dry, ashy skin by locking in moisture and replenishing lost skin lipids.

Medature PSL Repair Moisturizer  is a rich but lightweight face cream that combines ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids to restore the skin barrier. This helps the skin hold on to water, preventing dehydration and ashy skin on the face. This healing moisturizer is best used as the last step in your nighttime skin care routine.

Finally, SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2  replaces the lipids lost in dry skin conditions to hydrate dry skin on the face and improve skin radiance. This skin barrier product is a rich cream, which some skin types may not like, but it is very effective at improving skin texture and radiance through its combination of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids.

You may also wish to try face oils to treat ashy skin. Face oils  that contain argan oil in particular are ideal, as argan oil is suitable for both sensitive and dry skin types, keeps the skin hydrated, and contains linoleic acid (a type of moisturizing fatty acid), which calms the skin.

PAORR Organic Moroccan Argan Oil  contains 100% organic Moroccan argan oil. We love this face oil because it soothes, protects and hydrates the skin. It is an entirely natural product, with no hidden ingredients, so is suitable for dry and sensitive skin types.

ClarityRx Glimmer Of Hope Shimmering Facial Oil  is a naturally scented oil that mixes antioxidant and anti-inflammatory oils to hydrate the skin - perfect for dry and dehydrated skin. Turkish rose oil (an anti-inflammatory) regenerates and protects the skin, while antioxidants marula kernel oil and meadowfoam oil boost hydration and skin radiance.

How To Prevent Ashy Skin On The Body

Just as you would use an effective moisturizer to prevent ashy skin on the face, the body also requires hydrating body creams to prevent the return of dry, dehydrated skin following treatment with a body scrub.

As mentioned above, Zerafite Body Cream is the best skin barrier cream for ashy skin . This unscented body lotion is rich and luxurious, and will prevent ashy arms and ashy legs - and is particularly perfect for ashy elbows and ashy knees.

EltaMD Moisture-Rich Body Crème  is also an unscented, non-comedogenic body lotion that will treat ashy skin on the body, including ashy ankles and ashy hands. It is gentle enough for sensitive skin types and is packed with ceramides to maintain healthy skin barrier function.

Also packed with ceramides is SkinMedica TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream , a rich body cream that effectively treats ashy skin on the body. It is suitable for dry skin, and can even be used following a cosmetic procedure to support hydration and protect the skin barrier. This cream for ashy skin also contains peptides and growth factors, which provide additional anti-aging benefits.

Finally, La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+Body Cream  for Extra Dry Skin is one of our favorite drugstore brands to soothe dry skin, and which is also great for skin conditions like eczema. This moisturizing cream deposits lipids on the skin to help treat ashy arms and ashy legs. Lipids play a crucial role in supporting the skin barrier and keeping skin hydrated.

What’s The Best Skin Care Routine for Dark Skin Types?

If you have a dark skin tone, selecting the correct skin care routine for your skin type is essential to prevent the appearance of ashy skin. Cleansers and moisturizers in particular have a big role in treating ashy skin.

Knowing your Baumann Skin Type can guide you on what skin care products are best to help keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Click here to learn more about skin care for black skin. 


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