How to Get Rid of Ashy Skin

Written by Jessie Kimani

Dry skin is a common problem that affects people from all races. However, this skin problem is more widespread among black people. Factors such as environmental conditions, skincare habits, and genetics are usually the main causes. In this article, we’ll explore why Black people are more susceptible to ashy skin, and simple ways to get rid of ashiness.

What is Ashy Skin?

Ashy skin is simply dry skin that is more visible and apparent in Black people. While it can affect anyone, the more melanin you have, the more noticeable ashy skin becomes. The ash-like coating makes your skin look gray, dull, or chalky. Sometimes it may feel tight, dry, and even painful.

Why Black People Are More Prone to Dryness

Black people are more susceptible to ashiness because of the nature of our skin. The outer layer of the skin, also known as Stratum Corneum, serves as a protective barrier against pathogens. It also keeps your skin free of radicals in the environment and prevents moisture loss. However, we have a thicker stratum corneum compared to people with lighter skin tones. This makes it more challenging for Black skin to retain moisture. As a result, the skin becomes dry.

What Causes Ashy Skin?

Before we get into ways of preventing ashy skin, let’s have a look at some of the common causes. What really makes your skin appear ashy?

  • Less Production of Sebum

Sebum is a natural oil that your skin produces to lubricate and moisturize the skin. Unfortunately, Black skin produces lesser amounts of sebum compared to other skin types. The low production of this natural oil results in your skin becoming dry and flaky.

  • Environmental Factors

Exposure to several environmental conditions contributes to ashy skin. People living in areas that are extremely hot or cold are more likely to have dry skin. The dry or cold air strips the skin of its natural oils, leaving it dehydrated.

  • Unhealthy Habits

Your daily habits can also have an impact on the health of your skin. Some of the most common unhealthy habits that lead to dry skin include:

  • Harsh Soaps and Detergents: Some soaps and detergents are formulated with harsh ingredients that disrupt your skin’s natural moisture balance
  • Hot Showers and Baths: Having long hot showers can irritate and dry your skin. Hot water damages the keratin cells. These cells are located on the epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin. A hot shower or bath may disrupt these cells and strip the natural oil in the skin. This will in turn make it more prone to dryness and flakiness
  • Skin Conditions: Other factors that contribute to having ashy skin include conditions such as eczema and psoriasis

How to Prevent Ashy Skin

Ashy skin can be irritating. Luckily, you can resolve the problem by making a few changes to how you care for your skin. Here are some important tips:

Moisturize Regularly

Moisturizing plays a major role in skin care. It helps the skin to seal the water inside the cells, repairing the skin’s natural barriers. However, you need to choose moisturizing products that are specially formulated for ashy skin. A good moisturizer contains hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides. Focus on the areas of your skin that tend to get drier for optimal results. It is also beneficial to moisturize immediately after taking a shower or bath.


Exfoliating your skin regularly is another great way to get rid of dry flaky skin. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells that clog skin pores, which can lead to dryness. Remember to use a gentle exfoliant to avoid irritating your sensitive skin further.

Use Sun Protection

Protecting your skin from the sun is also important. UV sun rays can be harsh to your skin, leading to dryness and discoloration of the skin. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on the areas of your skin that are exposed to protect your skin.

Use Gentle Cleansers and Soaps

To avoid harsh soaps from stripping the skin of its natural oils, aim to use gentle cleansers formulated for black skin. Avoid products that contain alcohol as they are drying to the skin. In addition, take shorter cooler baths to maintain natural oil balance in your skin.

Eat a Healthy Diet and Stay Hydrated

What you consume directly affects the health of your skin. Processed food and saturated fats can cause inflammation that leads to skin dryness. Eating a balanced diet will help maintain a healthy skin. Aim to incorporate more vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your diet. Also, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your skin moisturized.

Although ashy skin can be frustrating, you can improve the condition of your skin with the right skincare practices. Moisturize and exfoliate your skin regularly, avoid hot showers and protect your skin from harsh weather. It also helps to eat a healthy diet and take enough water. Make sure to use products that are gentle on your skin. Keep in mind that a daily skincare routine provides the best results when trying to hydrate dry skin.

About the author

Jessie Kimani

Jess is a dedicated natural hair enthusiast, stylist, and writer. From tips on how to style your curls to product recommendations, she is your go-to source for all things natural hair care. She is passionate about helping women embrace their natural beauty; a firm believer that every woman should feel confident and beautiful in their natural hair.

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