When Black People Turn White

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“Girl you need to put some lotion on your legs. They ASHY!”

That was a frequent phrase ringing through my house growing up. Usually it came from my dad addressing me or one of my sisters.

When black people turn white: Winters and dry skin. How to keep your skin moisturized.

Forget to lotion up after the shower? Play outside in the cold? Those brown legs are turning white.

According to Urban Dictionary here’s the definition of ashy:

definition of ashy

I’d almost forgotten how bad it gets. In Texas my skin has adjusted to the humidity and seems to soak it all up. But when we visit Utah it takes less than a day for my hair to start drying up, my lips to start chapping and my skin to start scaling and turning white.

It can be pretty embarrassing.

When black people turn white: Winters and dry skin. How to keep your skin moisturized.

Big T had no idea what was going on with his lips, but he kept picking at them, so I lathered them up with lip balm. Poor Lil’ J started panicking when her lips started to chap, then she was thrilled when I bought her her own lip balm. To her it was like soothing lipstick.

Lil’ J asked what was happening to her when her skin started flaking and asked why MY brown skin was no longer brown, but white, then magically turned brown again with a generous application of lotion. Who knew a simple pampering routine could seem like a magic trick?

When black people turn white: Winters and dry skin. How to keep your skin moisturized.

Here are some tips for battling the ashy skin:

  • Moisturize immediately after the shower to lock moisture in.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Use exfoliators over dead skin
  • Don’t forget sunscreen

Even though we’re back in Texas, it’s starting to cool down and colder air carries less moisture and more dry skin. Lil’ J has misplaced her “lipgloss” and our skin is staying nice and brown for now. But I think I’m going to add a few moisturizers and oils to our stockings to ensure we have ashy-free skin all winter.

When black people turn white: Winters and dry skin. How to keep your skin moisturized.

What do you do when your legs get ashy?

Check out this article for more recourses on battling dry and sensitive skin in the winter. This story was sponsored by the CHPA’s educational foundation KnowYourOTCs program. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Dry skin tips

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  1. I hate dry skin. I am one that doesn’t tan well so when my skin gets dry I just get white chicken legs as my dad called them. I am a huge fan of lotion keep it everywhere for easy application.

  2. Our daughter is Asian, and we always forget what winter does to her legs and lips. We got her lotion and lip balm a couple weeks ago – and so far, so good. Hmmmm… at least her lips are good. I need to ask about her legs. 🙂

  3. Yes my son’s lips are always soooo dry in the winter. We have recently started using carmex, but I heard that was addictive. Has anyone else heard this?


  4. Your kids playing in the snow are just adorable! Mine are hoping for snow at least once here this year.
    We slather on the lotion and chapstick in the winter, or else our skin gets painfully dry!

  5. Great photos of your kids. I have to remind my daughter to lotion up. Her skin is different than mine and with her darker complexion she can easily turn “white”. I totally get what you’re saying.

  6. I am very dark skinned. I need to moisture my skin all the damn time or else i become so ashy. I mix my “5oils (pure coconut oil, nivea body oil q10, Jamaican black castor oil, pure cycerine, almond oil)” with cocoa butter. I can never go wrong. My skinned is forever radiant. I apply this twice a day after a shower, without fail. My lil girl is biaracial, her skin is rather light. Bt i still moisture her, I mix her nivea baby butter with coconut, baby oil and almond oil.

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