ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — It’s cold and dry in Alaska and for many, the basic problem of dry skin becomes a major issue.
“Think of your skin as a barrier between your inside world and the outside world,” said Dr. Peter Ehrnstrom, with Alaska Center for Dermatology.
“And that barrier is made up of bricks and mortar. The bricks are the skin cells and the mortar is the lipids in between and when you take the cold air outside and heat it up inside, it turns into desert dryness,” he said.
Erhnstrom says to moisturize your skin every day as part of our routine, similar to brushing your teeth.
“When we put on moisturizers, we’re not really moisturizing,” he said. “We’re putting something back that mimics the mortar between our bricks to help the skin be a real barrier. You’re helping it do what it already knows how to do by just adding some more that mortar back in there and you do that with just moisturizers. Best time to put them on is right after you’ve dried off in the shower.”
Dr. Jayne Fortson with Fortson Skin Care Center says a humidifier in your house or bedroom can help. “The other thing you can do is minimize any irritants to your hands and minimize hand washing,” Fortson said.
“Only wash your hands after you go to the bathroom or before you’re going to prepare food but try not to be an obsessive compulsive hand washer. And moisturize after every hand washing. Heavy duty moisturizers are better for the hands because they take quite a beating.”
Fortson says the best way to help dry skin is, “keep the shower short or the bath short and moisturize within three minutes of exiting and with a very good quality moisturizer and avoid harsh soaps or body washes.”
And while there are many good reasons to stay hydrated, it doesn’t help your skin.
“Having dry skin doesn’t mean you’re dehydrated,” says Ehrnstrom.