Ashy Skin: A War That Can Be Won

    (BlackDoctor.org) — In elementary school, ashy knees and elbows can grab attention across a playground or cafeteria. So imagine the impression an adult makes when they arrive for an interview or attends a social event looking like they’re wrapped in dingy cheese cloth. There is nothing even slightly attractive about the sight of skin ash at any age.

    Skin ash results from dryness. The condition is more visible on African -Americans because it clashes with our skin tone, Dr. Earnest Levister, MD wrote in his column.

    A study suggests that African-Americans shed more than Caucasians and another found that black people lose greater amounts of water through their skin. These findings could support theories that African-Americans suffer from dry skin at disproportionate rates. Combine that with the fact that ashiness affects individuals of all ages and many people may conclude that this condition is one that we just have to deal with.

    Those choosing to deal with ashy skin should be do actively, not passively. Some skin conditions require expensive products or procedures, dry skin can usually be cured with moisture and a change in habits.

    Combating Ash: Developing An Action Plan

    Drink Water

    The fight against ashy skin should begin with efforts to drink adequate amounts of water. Depending on age, this will ideally involve drinking four to nine glasses per day. More may be needed under certain circumstances, such when a person engages is exposed to high levels of heat.

    Exfoliate

    Billions of skin cells are produced every day, which could lead to the assumption that everyone should look radiant all the time. Unfortunately, this is not the case because new cells are often buried below dried out, dead cells, resulting in dull looking skin.

    Dead cells eventually part ways with the body and another layer of skin will be exposed. If that layer is also dry and unhealthy there is a recurring cycle of dullness. Individuals can intervene, however, by exfoliating. This is a process that involves intentionally removing dead skin and exposing new and fresher layers. There are many ways to accomplish this, such as applying chemicals and using loofah, so each person can choose the method most suitable for her.

    Bathe Wisely

    Avoid over-cleansing because it robs the skin of moisture. It is not advisable for anyone to bathe or wash their faces more than twice a day. People who suffer from dry skin may need to reduce cleansing to once a day.

    Since hot water promotes dryness, reducing the temperature can help to retain moisture. Skincare professionals also encourage bathing mostly by way of showers and reducing the amount of time spent in the water.

    Shop Consciously

    Be choosey about cleansers and soaps. Harsh, drying products should be replaced with rich, creamy ones. Dr. Levister suggests products containing fatty oils, such as shea butter. Other options are products designed for dry and sensitive skin such as those made by Aveeno and Neutrogena.

    The same discretion should be used when selecting moisturizers. Those with notable oil content make an excellent choice. Dermatologists believe individuals can get extra benefits from moisturizers when they are applied while the skin is still damp. Doing so traps water and results in increased moisture. Furthermore, moisturizer should be reapplied throughout the day, not only after washing.

    Correcting bad habits that contribute to moisture depletion can be an important final weapon in the war against skin ash. Consuming large amounts of alcohol and exercising without drinking water are two prime examples.

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