My elves live in a rocky desert and they all have a light greyish/almost kinda bluish looking skin color. Their skin is rough and almost chapped in texture, and it scars really easily.

Are there any benefits to this? What would cause this to happen?

I’m fine with what ever answer I can get :)

Edit: I’m sorry that I was so vague before, This is my first ask

I’m looking for a biological reason for grey skin, or maybe pro’s and con’s for that skin color that correlate to their surrounding environment.

So far I have been working more on fleshing out their culture and not their design, so I just wanted to make sure things were accurate and see if I needed to tweak anything.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Some form of natural en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argyria perhaps, minus the negative health effects? $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2021 at 16:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What kind of Answer you look for? A biological mechanic that just turns the skin grey? Magic? Mutation? Radiation effects? Is it a trait every elf has or is it endemic to a small group? We need more to solve this question. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Aug 3, 2021 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ I think elvian worries can cause a grey skin just as we can get grey hair of them. $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2021 at 3:28
  • $\begingroup$ Why wouldn't you look up elephant, rhino, or hippo skin? They are shades of grey, so thus viable possibility, $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2021 at 23:27

3 Answers 3


They bleach it.

sammy sosa


Your desert elves are naturally dark complected. Because of societal beauty ideals, they bleach their skin and turn out grayish, like Sammy Sosa here. The easy scarring is also part of their beauty ideal. The scarring is actually not particularly easy, but done using methods to make them last and stand out - scarification.

Elves of the same genetic background living in different socioeconomic circumstances do not look the same as your modified elves.

  • $\begingroup$ Are scares part of the beauty ideal? $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2021 at 3:31
  • $\begingroup$ Scars are - "The easy scarring is also part of their beauty ideal". Scares could be. Scary beautiful? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 4, 2021 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ Scary lime scares indeed. Though upon second sight, a scar in the face can be beautifull. If it belongd to scareface...:) $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2021 at 15:30

Your Desert Elves are tough survivors.

Benefits to "scarring easily" could be that the Desert Elves heal quickly but lack the stem cells present in the skins pores that allow wounds to close without a trace. The deserts arid environment may encourage the pressure to close wounds quickly so as to not lose precious water or risk an infection.

As to why they could only scar, well it could be that the thick skin protects them well enough from scratches, so there would be no need to regenerate skin so frequently, which may explain their chapped skin. Mind you that anything that grows or heals consumes energy and living in a desert would encourage being energy efficient.

Lastly there may be a preference for scarred partners enrooted deep within their culture. Those that take more risks and come back alive would make better partners. The more scars the more experience which leads to higher status.


As the elves live in the desert, they are like xerocoles (desert animals). They have adapted to the desert environment and they have evolved to have gray/grayish (grey/greyish) skin. Many xerocoles have grayish/brownish skin/fur color.

Gray color has somewhat thermodynamic efficiency. The rate of heat transfer by radiation is largely determined by the color. For example, gray doesn't absorb heat as much as black and doesn't radiate as much (or fast) as black also. White is a poor absorber and is also a poor radiator. Gray is just in between and it is an ideal color for heat transfer in the desert climate as it gets hot in daytime and cold in nighttime.

Here are some desert animals:

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Coiled gray-banded kingsnake at Carlsbad Caverns National Park https://www.nps.gov/im/chdn/ecoregion.htm

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A meerkat (Suricata suricatta) in the Kalahari Desert © UZH

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Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti) - Niall D Perrins
Ksar Ouled Ghanem El Jorf, Meknès-Tafilalet, Morocco


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Northern Desert Horned Lizard - Phrynosoma platyrhinos platyrhinos
Adult, Lassen County north of Honey Lake. © Debra Frost

enter image description here
Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
Photo by Robert Shantz Near Bill Williams River, Mohave County, Arizona.


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