What does ashen or ash-like skin color around the cheeks and eyes indicate?

2 answers | Last updated: Feb 05, 2016
Stuffer asked...

What does an ashen or ash-like skin color around the cheeks and eyes indicate?


Expert Answers

Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology, including Mohs micrographic skin cancer surgery. In addition to her work in private practice, Krant is assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Stuffer, Ashen or ash-like skin color anywhere on the body may indicate a few different things. If by "ashen" you mean pale, this could indicate a low blood count, such as in anemia. Healthy blood flow lends a slight pinkish hue to the skin, and if this is lacking, the area may look pale, slightly greenish, or slightly grayish.

If the skin really looks like the color of "ash", a deeper more persistent gray or gray-blue color, this could potentially be due to a side effect of certain medications, with or without interaction from sunlight.

If the condition is persistent, I do recommend a visit to the doctor, because a noticeably ashen color may indicate something that is easily remedied and if not easily remedied, then still important to be evaluated.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

The reason I googled 'Grey skin" is because my boyfriend has cancer, and I wondered if it was typical of cancer, to give someone an ash-grey face. I'm trying to take each day in baby steps. I'm devastated.