Maintaining skin health can be the first step in making sure your organs are protected. There are several products available that can help hydrate the skin, help protect from sun rays, can help protect when layering products on top of the skin, and can even help the skin look younger and feel more rejuvenated.

But, aesthetician Laura Harris of Regional Skin and Laser Center says the first step to having healthy skin starts with a product we have all heard of. Sunblock is the key to protecting the dermis and all of its layers.

“When people come into the office, they often times do not know what they need,” she explains. “I generally look at them, do an evaluation and tell them what would help. It starts with sunscreen. A lot of people just do not use it.”

Smoking and drinking can also play a role in skin health.

“Retinols are very important,” Harris says. “Retinols are different forms of vitamin A. They help restore dead skin cells. They help with discoloration.”

A lot of the product regimens at Regional Skin and Laser Center include ZO Skin Health products. Harris says these products help maintain skin health and help with growth factors using retinols.

“You do have to remember though that products with retinols in them can make someone more sensitive to the sun,” Harris warns.

Other good anti-aging treatments include products that contain alpha hydroxies, glycolyse, lactic acids and more.

“You can get products with most of this stuff over the counter,” Harris says. “But, there is a difference between medical grades and over the counter. Medical grade products are stronger and have higher dosages of this vitamin and nutrients.”

Asking a health care professional about products may be good, whether seeking prescription medications or over-the-counter creams.

“A lot of the over the counter products can be good for you in the long run,” Harris says. “But, a lot of patients do not see the results that they want. At first, the skin will look better, but you can plateau. That may be when it is worth seeking a medical grade product.”

Also, seeking medical advice can help get someone on a more healthy skin care regimen.

“A lot of people come in with issues related to sun damage, wrinkles, lines, broken capillaries, rosacea,” Harris talks about the clients she sees. “We also have a lot of men that come in. Some think because they are men that they do not need sunblock.”

The rule is apply sunblock before going outside and if you are outside for more than an hour and a half, you need to apply product again.

“I religiously put on sunscreen,” she explains. “When the melanin in your skin is increasing, you are causing damage to your skin. That is what the darkening is.”

Vitamin C may also be helpful for individuals. However, some people can tolerate vitamin C and some people cannot, so medical advice is pertinent.

“Hyaluronic acid is also good for the skin,” Harris says of chemicals in products to be aware of. “But, the basics are also important.”

Individuals should wash their face at least once a day, but they should not be using hot water on their face. And remember, what works for one person may not work for another.

“With my clients, I make a regimen sheet with them,” Harris explains. “I also educate them. I tell them to be more diligent with sunscreen. There are a lot of makeups and powders that contain sunscreen for the individuals that do not want to put liquids on their face during the summer. Also, it is important to apply sunscreen more than once during the day.”

For those concerned about their vitamin D, you do not have to be in the sun for a long period of time to get the recommended amounts.

“You really do not need to lay out,” Harris says. “Staying out in the sun is a choice, so pick your poison because it can have lasting effects. And, wear a hat, sunglasses and put on sunscreen on your hands. The sun ricochets from the concrete so be aware of that.”

Harris’s final suggestion is to remember that hydration is related to skin health.

“Drink lots of water,” she says. “Beverages with a lot of caffeine need to be consumed in moderation. Also, wash your face. Take off your makeup at night.”

Regional Skin and Laser Center has offices in Sherman, Richardson, Rockwall, McKinney and Los Colinas. To schedule an appointment with Harris, call 972-470-5012.