Does your skin appear dry and grey? You may be experiencing ashy skin, a condition that can affect different parts of your body and cause discomfort.
There are multiple factors that can contribute to ashy skin. Read on to know what causes this skin condition and ways to treat it.
What Is Ashy Skin?
Ashy skin gets its name from the greyish skin tone that resembles ashes. This is a dry skin condition, where the skin appears whitish or grey. When your skin is extremely dry, it is called xerosis. It can happen to anyone irrespective of their age, race and skin type. With ashy skin, your skin will feel rough and bumpy. You may also notice thin cracks or lines on your elbow and knees.
Ashy skin appears more prominently on dark skin. But that does not necessarily mean only people with darker skin will get ashy skin. Most people suffer from ashy skin at some point in life as it is a common skin condition.
1. Symptoms of Ashy Skin
- Cracks in elbow & feet
- Skin peeling
- Painful or burning sensation
- Inflamed discolored skin
- Pink scaly patches
- Crusting on the skin
What Causes Ashy Skin?
The main reason for ashy skin is a lack of moisture. When your skin is dehydrated, it becomes dry and itchy. The most affected areas of your body due to dryness are usually the face, arms and legs.
As mentioned, many factors may cause ashy skin. Environmental changes, extreme weather conditions, washing hands frequently, inadequate hydration, swimming in a chlorinated pool, mechanical or farming jobs that are rough on the hands, or even a suffocating indoor atmosphere may trigger the skin condition. When you consistently stay in a heated temperature or highly air-conditioned room, your skin loses moisture and becomes dry. 
1. Certain medical conditions can also be responsible for ashy skin.
2. Contact dermatitis is one such skin condition that causes extremely dry and flaky skin. Typically it happens when you come in contact with any irritant or pathogen that affects your skin and causes discomfort.
3. Eczema is another skin condition that makes your skin itch. It causes red rashes on your skin. Usually, the most affected areas are your arm folds and below the knee.
4. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes pink scaly patches on the skin. It may also trigger itching and discomfort.
How To Treat Ashy Skin?
1. Moisturize Your Skin
Dry skin is nothing but the absence of moisture. So, the easiest and most effective way to get rid of ashy skin is to moisturize it regularly. Moisturize your skin at least twice a day.
Practice using a deep moisturizing body cream right after you finish showering and before going to sleep. Use a moisturizer that suits your skin type. Go for products that have shea butter or cocoa butter as key ingredients.
2. Change Bathing Habits
Quit showering in hot water. Instead, use lukewarm or cool water for regular showers. Limit the duration of your shower. The longer your shower, the more it strips down the natural oil balance from your skin.
3. Quit Harsh Products
If you are experiencing dry skin, immediately stop using chemical products on your skin. Go for natural soaps, body lotions and other skincare products. Look for products that offer moisturizing benefits. Buy gentle topical cleansers to wash your face. 
4. Drink Sufficient Water
A major contributor to dry skin is drinking insufficient water. Many people tend to forget to have sufficient and regular water intake. Doctors suggest that 8 glasses of water is necessary for everyone. Try to consume 8 glasses of water every day and notice the difference in your skin.
5. Use Petroleum Gel
Petroleum gel has been a savior for dry skin for centuries. It locks the moisture inside your skin pores and does not cause any kind of discomfort. It is considered to be one of the safest moisturizing products of all. The only downside, however, is its greasiness.
6. Use Humidifiers
Humidifier is a device that can control the moisture in the air in a room. When you are living in extreme weather conditions, a humidifier can truly be helpful. It will maintain the moisture around you and prevent your skin from dryness.
How To Prevent Ashy Skin?
Simply treating your ashy skin may not be sufficient, as it may recur. To prevent that from happening, ensure that you.
- Moisturize your skin regularly. It will keep your skin soft and
- Create a skincare routine focusing on skin moisturization. Use hydrating creams, fragrance-free products and moisturizing lotions.
- Use a humidifier in your room. Keep it on especially before your bedtime.
- Avoid long hours under the sun. In case, you must go out during the daytime, use sunscreen and cover the exposed areas of your skin with a scarf. Use sunglasses as well.
When To Consult A Doctor About Ashy Skin?
- When your skin itches badly but there is no visible rash.
- When you have cuts and sores due to scratching.
- If over-the-counter products fail to control the skin dryness.
- The itching is unbearable.
- Your skin starts bleeding due to cracks and itching.
- You are unable to do your daily chores due to your skin condition.
Untreated ashy skin conditions may lead to severe skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Do not ignore the mentioned warning signs and consult with a doctor immediately in case of an emergency.
Ashy skin is a common skin condition that occurs when your skin becomes very dry. Extreme weather conditions, insufficient water intake, and harsh chemical products can lead to ashy skin. You can get rid of ashy skin by using moisturizing products, opting for natural skincare products instead of harsh chemical-based products and changing some bathing habits. If the skin condition is causing too much discomfort and irritation, immediately consult your doctor.
1. Treatment of xerosis with a topical formulation containing glyceryl glucoside, natural moisturizing factors, and ceramide, August 2012
2. Dry skin:Overview
3. Reducing ashiness in the skin of colour: The impact of mild cleansing, 2014
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