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Simple Steps For Reviving Your Dry Skin


Simple Steps For Reviving Your Dry Skin

Image Source: Irina Bg / Shutterstock

Simple Steps For Reviving Your Dry Skin

We all experience ashy skin at some point. Dry, flaky skin with a gray or white tone affects approximately one-third of the global population, regardless of age, skin type, or skin tone, as stated in a report by Scientific Reports. Maintaining the moisture and smoothness of our body’s largest organ can be challenging. While dry skin is inevitable, dealing with ashy skin can be bothersome and uncomfortable.

Thankfully, you don’t have to live with ashy skin forever. By making some simple adjustments to your routine, you can achieve shiny and supple skin. To guide you through this process, we consulted with board-certified dermatologists Nada Elbuluk, MD; Hope Mitchell, MD; and DiAnne Davis, MD, to provide effective ways to restore ashy skin. They also shed light on what ashy skin is, its causes, and how to prevent it.

Experts Featured in this Article:

  • Nada Elbuluk, MD, board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles, CA
  • Hope Mitchell, MD, board-certified dermatologist based in Perrysburg, OH
  • DiAnne Davis, MD, board-certified dermatologist based in Southlake, TX

Understanding Ashy Skin

Ashy skin is characterized by rough, dry skin with a scaly, lighter appearance that accentuates lines and flakes. Medically known as xerosis, dry skin, as explained by Dr. Davis, often feels tight, cracked, and itchy. Ashy skin is typically found on the face, hands, or legs and occurs due to the accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface, leading to a matte-like appearance lacking natural radiance. If you observe dull, lackluster, or grayish skin, you may be dealing with ashy skin, according to Dr. Mitchell.

Research indicates that ashy skin affects only the superficial layers of the skin, causing it to appear dry on the surface without necessarily being dehydrated or damaged underneath. However, ashy skin can indicate skin-barrier dysfunction or an underlying health condition such as eczema, diabetes, or psoriasis. If your skin remains ashy despite moisturizing and exfoliating regularly, it’s advisable to consult a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Davis for proper guidance.

Potential Causes of Ashy Skin

Ashy skin is primarily triggered by insufficient moisture and natural oils on the skin’s surface, according to Dr. Mitchell. Several hygiene and lifestyle factors can contribute to this dryness, including:

Cause #1: Inadequate Moisturization

Dr. Davis and Dr. Elbuluk emphasize that inadequate or complete absence of moisturization can lead to ashy skin. Dr. Elbuluk suggests a general rule that the drier your skin, the richer your moisturizer should be. She explains that sheer, lightweight body lotions might not provide sufficient hydration for dry skin. Creamier body moisturizers, like body butters, contain more emollients that form a moisture-locking layer on the skin’s surface to aid in repair. Ingredients such as lipids, oils, petrolatum, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid are recommended by experts.

Cause #2: Showering Habits

Frequent and prolonged hot showers can worsen dryness and flakiness, according to the dermatologists interviewed. Harsh soaps and certain body washes can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to a compromised skin barrier over time. Although indulging in a hot shower can be relaxing, excessive showering, especially without adequate moisturization afterward, can contribute to dry skin.

Cause #3: Environmental Factors

Cold weather and excessive sun exposure can deplete skin moisture levels, resulting in ashy skin. Low-humidity conditions and indoor heating may also cause visible dryness, particularly during winter.

Cause #4: Previous Skin Conditions

Prior skin conditions like psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, atopic dermatitis, and ichthyosis can impair the skin’s barrier function, leading to ashy skin. It’s essential to consult a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis, as these conditions typically present additional symptoms beyond dryness.

Restoring Ashy Skin

Hydration and exfoliation are key to revitalizing ashy skin, according to Dr. Mitchell. While collaborating with your dermatologist for a personalized approach is optimal, you can implement the following tips in the meantime:

Revise Your Shower Routine

Reduce the frequency and duration of showers, opt for lukewarm water, and choose a moisturizing body wash without harsh sulfates. If you use bar soap, select a cream-based, sulfate-free option to prevent excessive drying of the skin.

Moisturize Thoroughly

Immediately after showering, apply moisturizing products rich in emollients and humectants on damp skin to lock in hydration and prevent ashy skin due to water loss. Look for ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides in your moisturizers for effective hydration and skin barrier restoration.

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