I used to dread winters in New York because, for me, it was the start of ashy skin season. As soon as the temperature dropped, my skin would start to dry out and before long, my knees, elbows and hands looked like they were covered with a fine gray dust.
If you’re a man who struggles with dry, ashy skin, you can probably relate. Fortunately, there are ways to combat ashy skin with a few simple techniques.
What is Ashy Skin?
Although the term, “ashy skin,” typically describes how dry skin appears on people with a darker skin tone, anyone can have ashy skin.
Ashy skin is characterized by a white, gray, or chalky appearance. It’s most commonly seen on the knees, elbows, hands, feet, and face. Depending on how dry your skin is, you might also notice:
- Rough texture
- Thin, cracked lines
What Causes Ashy Skin?
Ashy skin is mostly caused by environmental factors, including:
- Cold weather or seasonal changes in temperature
- Dry air and low humidity
- Hot water from showering or bathing
- Harsh or irritating skincare products
Moreover, as people age, sebum production in the skin naturally declines. This can cause the skin to appear dryer as skin moisture decreases.
Finally, skin tone also plays a role. Research shows that melanin-rich skin contains lower levels of ceramides (natural lipids in the skin), which makes it more prone to water loss and dryness.
7 Ways to Treat Ashy Skin in Men
1. Moisturize daily
Using a good moisturizer or lotion is the single most tried-and-true way to combat dry, ashy skin. It’s not enough to apply lotion every now and then. Skin needs to be moisturized twice daily, morning and night, to restore hydration to parched skin.
2. Avoid long, hot showers
Long, hot showers might feel good, but they are very drying to the skin. Hot water disrupts the skin’s natural moisture balance and strips the skin of its natural oils. Take shorter, lukewarm showers instead.
3. Avoid body soap
Bar soap can wreak havoc on skin due to its disruption of your skin’s natural pH balance. This can cause your skin to produce less sebum and become drier than normal. Opt for a gentle, moisturizing body wash instead.
4. Drink lots of water
Keeping your body hydrated can prevent dehydration in your skin, thereby maintaining moisture levels for healthy, supple skin. To help keep ashiness at bay, drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day.
5. Seal in the moisture
If your regular lotion isn’t doing the trick, try adding some face or body oil to the mix. By applying a layer of oil to your skin after moisturizing, you are able to lock in more moisture. You could also apply petroleum jelly to extra-dry areas, like the knees, elbows, and feet.
6. Exfoliate regularly
Exfoliate areas where ashiness is prevalent to remove any dry or dull skin. Exfoliation improves blood circulation and helps to remove dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin, leaving it smoother and brighter. Removing dead skin cells also allows your moisturizer to sink in and work more effectively.
7. Use a humidifier
Since dry air causes dry skin, placing a humidifier in the room can increase moisture levels in the air and prevent your skin from drying out. Cool-mist humidifiers can help to soothe irritated skin and provide a plethora of other benefits along the way.
Dry, Ashy Skin on Your Face?
If dry, ashy skin has crept up to your face, a proper facial skincare routine is a must. Luckily, we’ve made it easy for men to take care of their skin.
Combat dry, ashy skin on your face with our Skin Essentials Set. This men’s skincare routine includes our top 3 essentials for clear, healthy, youthful skin, including:
- Clean Slate – Purifying Face Wash + Toner
- True Grit – Detox Face Scrub
- Saving Face – Age Defense Moisturizer + Aftershave