Ashy skin fixes that'll have you wishing for warm skin-baring winter days

Is it just me, or does all moisture just leave your body once winter breaks? In Jozi, I fear the reality of this is almost worse. (I carry a tube of Elizabeth Arden 8 hour balm everywhere when I head up north)

"Ashy skin is mostly seen in those with dark complexions," says dermatologist, Dr. Nomphelo Gantsho. However, anyone can have the condition, it just isn't as noticeable on lighter skin. 

"Ashy skin is simply dry skin. It is usually whitish or greyish in colour. It gives the skin a dull, chalky or flaky appearance and can feel tight and even painful. It may look like you’ve been moisturising with chalk. In reality, that ash is the result of dead, dry skin cells," adds Dr. Gantsho. 

In winter, your skin becomes more dehydrated as you spend more time in dry spaces that are sucked of moisture, i.e. inside. "Over time, the dryness builds up, resulting in ashy skin. Dry patches usually show up on people’s lower legs, arms/elbows, and feet but can affect their entire body in certain cases," says Dr. Gantsho.

How to even deal: 

• Take shorter, and colder, showers (Capetonians already know, mos) 

- Hot showers affect the outermost layer of your skin, the epidermis. During a hot shower, your epidermis takes a serious beating. 
- Try using lukewarm water and don’t stay in for too long.
- Use a gentle cleanser or moisturising body gel.

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Avoid products that contain alcohol

- Certain alcohols can strip the moisture from your skin. Alcohols to avoid in skincare products include, SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, isopropyl alcohol.

Stay away from sulfates

- Stop products containing harmful sulfates. 
- The problem with sulfates, though, is that they strip your skin of natural oil. While that may seem like a good thing, your skin actually needs its natural oil for protection and longevity, so you don’t want to wipe it all away!
- Products that make foam have sodium laurel sulfate.

Apply moisturiser as soon as you finish your shower or bath

- Putting moisturiser on damp skin helps to trap that moisture in.

Use these: 

NIVEA Repair & Care Lotion 250 ml, R69.99; NIVEA Repair & Care Cream 300 ml, R69.99  (Available from June at Clicks)

SVR Topialyse Baume Intensif Lipid-restoring anti-irritation care, severe dryness and itching 48h relief. R230.

Use moisturisers with salicylic acid, humectants, vitamins and oils

- Salicylic acid a beta-hydroxy acid known to penetrate skin and loosen dead skin cells, naturally exfoliating them.
- Humectants trap in moisture on your skin and help your skin to absorb moisture. says "...exfoliating no more than two times a week and using a rich body oil or plain old coconut oil for long-lasting emollient effects. I’ve sung the praises of Bio-Oil for years; it’s a cult favorite among doctors and editors, and is magical."  

READ MORE: The one anti-ageing product everyone can afford

Use a humidifier indoors during the winter months

- They regulate the moisture levels of your skin and helps re-hydrate your skin.  


If the “ashy” skin continues, seeing a doctor is definitely the next step. A qualified doctor can prescribe prescription medication and lotions to help one live with this issue. 

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