What Is Ashy Skin & How Moisturizing Skin Care Can Help

Ashy skin is a common term used to describe dry skin. When skin becomes dry, it can end up looking gray and flaking off more easily, resembling ashes. If you’ve ever noticed your knees, elbows, or hands cracking or looking gray when dry, you’ve likely experienced ashy skin.

Anyone can experience ashiness from dry skin, but the characteristic gray color tends to be more noticeable on deeper skin tones. If you experience ashy skin during dry months or all year round, there are plenty of ways you can soothe that dryness and prevent ashy skin

What Causes Ashy Skin, Anyway?

It’s normal to experience dry, ashy skin every once in a while. Ashy skin is primarily caused by dryness, but what causes dry skin in the first place?

Below are some of the most common causes:

  • When the weather gets dry, our skin can become dry too. This may be from severe cold weather in the winter, extremely hot weather in the summer, or dry air and weather that can drain the moisture from our skin. If you live in an arid region, you might experience ashy skin more often than someone living in a humid region.
  • Heat is another cause of dry, ashy skin. If you spend too much time by a fireplace, you can experience temporary dry skin or tightness. 
  • Hot baths and showers can also soak up the moisture from the skin and lead to dryness and ashy skin. If you like taking hotter showers, be sure to moisturize immediately afterward to compensate for your skin’s moisture loss.
  • Certain soaps and products can also lead to ashy skin! Many facial cleansers, skincare products, makeup products, and even detergents contain harsh, drying ingredients like alcohol and chemicals that are meant to strip the natural oil your skin produces. This can lead to ashy, dry skin.
  • Poor skincare habits can also lead to ashy skin. If you fail to moisturize or never supplement your skin with a lotion, moisturizing cream, or moisturizing skincare products, your skin may lack the hydration it needs. This can lead to dryness and ashy skin. If you overwash your face, you may also experience dry, ashy skin that flakes. 

While ashy skin is typically the result of one or more of the above factors, other skin conditions can cause it as well. It’s important to be aware of why you may be experiencing ashiness so you can tackle it at the root and use appropriate moisturizing products to help.

Ashy Skin and Other Symptoms

If your skin is dry, you probably experience other uncomfortable symptoms than just ashy skin

Here are a few other symptoms that occur along with ashy skin:

  • Ashy skin is often accompanied by tightness. Your skin may feel tight all the time or after spending time soaking in the tub or pool.
  • Your skin may feel rough to the touch and look noticeably more textured than usual.
  • Dry, ashy skin often itches.
  • You may also experience flaky skin, peeling, or scaly-looking skin.
  • Your skin may crack, especially in the winter months.
  • You might notice redness from dry skin or irritation. 

Depending on your skin type, how often you moisturize, and your external conditions like weather, you may experience one or more of these symptoms when your skin gets dry. 

Dullness and Sallow Skin

If you have ashy skin, you may also notice changes in your complexion. Instead of the usually bright, glowing of your skin, your skin can look dull and sallow. You may even experience an uneven skin tone because of ashiness

What do dullness and sallow skin look like? Here are some defining characteristics of these two symptoms of ashy skin. Dull skin is characterized by a lack of brightness. You may think of your skin as gray looking, lacking color, or just altogether bland. If you have ashy skin, you can experience this lackluster dullness in your skin tone. 

Another symptom of ashy skin is sallow-looking skin. Sallow skin is similar to dullness but has some differences as well. It is characterized by skin losing its natural complexion and brightness and, instead, looking yellow, yellowish-green, or even brown in tone. 

These symptoms often cause skin tone to become uneven. Nobody wants to deal with uneven, gray, dull skin or sallow skin. Fortunately, there are easy ways to prevent ashy skin for good!  

The Key Is To Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

You don’t have to have a complicated skincare routine to keep your skin looking healthy, youthful, and most importantly, keeping your skin ash-free. The key to healthy skin is moisture! Our skin loves moisture, so making sure we keep it sufficiently hydrated throughout the day and night is the best way to avoid ashy skin and keep it glowy and bright.

If you’ve never used moisturizers or moisturizing products regularly, here are some of the most important tips to keep in mind.

What Kind of Moisturizer Should You Use?

When picking a moisturizer, there are a few guidelines to follow. Not all moisturizers are made the same, and some may include harmful chemicals that actually dry your skin rather than keep it hydrated. 

Avoid moisturizers with any drying alcohols. This includes ethyl alcohol, also called ethanol, which can dry out the skin when used in cosmetics. Instead, look for moisturizers with hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil, shea butter, lactic acid, and linseed oil. 

Synthetic ingredients are included in many products, but these can be harmful to the skin and cause irritation. Instead, look for moisturizers with real ingredients like Grapefruit, Blueberry, and Daisy, all of which can be found in our Alpenglow moisture-friendly color corrector. These ingredients are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients that are great for the skin and can help keep your skin moisturized and happy. 

How Often Should You Moisturize?

How often you moisturize is determined by what kind of skin you have and how often you experience ashy skin. If you have severely dry skin and have ashy skin often, you may want to moisturize around twice a day. This frequency can increase if you spend time in the sun, in the winter months, or if you take a hot shower

If you tend to experience ashy skin every so often rather than every day, you may be able to moisturize once a day. You can also moisturize with a lighter hydrating product if you have oily skin. If you’re not sure how often your skin needs moisture, start by using moisturizer once a day. Experiment with this and increase the regularity if needed. 

When Should You Moisturize?

Whether you moisturize once or twice a day, it’s vital to know when. Should you moisturize first thing in the morning? Before bed? In the middle of the day? When it comes to hydration, timing is everything. 

When you moisturize is determined by when you wash your face, shower, or use drying products. Moisturizers are made to trap moisture in your skin, protect the moisture barrier, and keep dryness outside. Because of this, it helps to moisturize skin that still has moisture in it!

The best time to use moisturizer is after a shower, after washing your face, or after swimming. You can also reapply your moisturizer if your skin starts feeling dry throughout the day, especially in the winter or hotter months. 

Use Moisturizing Products for a Two-in-One

Knowing what hydrating products to use, how often to use them, and what time is best can take your moisturizing game up a level. Still, there’s one more way to add extra hydration into your routine without having to buy new products.

One of the easiest ways to make sure your skin is getting the hydration it needs all day long is to use moisturizing skincare products. Choosing products with hydrating ingredients will help keep your skin happy and ash-free while still accomplishing your beauty goals. 

If you’re not sure where to find hydrating skincare, look no further than Journ. We pack all of our skincare with hydration and vitamins, so your skin looks great and healthy all day. And, since each product is moisturizing in itself, there’s no need to spend money on more than one. 

Make Ashy Skin a Thing of the Past

Ashy skin can be discouraging and lead to dullness, discoloration, and uneven skin tone. How can you help this skin concern? Keep your skin hydrated, avoid drying ingredients like alcohol and other chemicals, and aim to find products that moisturize, too, like Alpenglow. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy moisturized, even-looking skin all year long!


Dry skin - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic  

Winter dry skin | University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

"Alcohol-Free" | FDA

The Importance of Moisturizing | UTMC