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Four ways to keep skin healthy (and looking good)


Our skin is the largest organ in the body, but many of us don’t give it the attention it deserves. In early adulthood, our skin starts to show age and sun-related changes, such as brown spots, enlarged pores, facial redness, fine wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and acne scarring. With a skincare regimen and non-invasive treatments, many of these changes can be significantly improved to yield a brighter and smoother complexion. But what works, what doesn’t and why?

How our skin ages depends a lot on intrinsic factors we cannot control, like hormones. As we age, our bodies decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone, which drastically modifies the composition of our skin. Collagen and elastin are two substances that are naturally found in the skin. They create a network that gives the skin its firmness and smooth texture. When collagen and elastin are degraded with age, skin appears loose or crepey and feels rough. Our skin also gets thinner and drier over time.

Fortunately, choosing the right skincare products can help slow the effects of aging. For best results, Tryon Medical Partners dermatology specialist Dr. Erin Hodges recommends these “must have” ingredients:


While you cannot control what is happening inside your body, you can control your exposure to the sun, which exacerbates the aging process. Ultraviolet light causes a reaction in your skin turning chemicals into unstable molecules called free radicals, resulting in damage to other cells and processes within the body. Not only do free radicals impact collagen production, they can lead to skin cancer. Though sun damage more negatively impacts people with light skin and blue eyes, sun can damage all skin types. Everyone should wear sunscreen!

“I always recommend you start using sunscreen as young as possible,” Dr. Hodges emphasizes. “Daily sunscreen use is critical so it’s good to start the habit in childhood.”

Topical Retinoid

Retinoids are compounds chemically related to Vitamin A. When applied topically, retinoids can increase the thickness of the skin and improve the skin texture to diminish fine lines. Retinoids can also help improve skin color, and fade or lighten dark spots. You may not be able to use retinoids during pregnancy, and they can cause dryness, which emphasizes wrinkles, so use it under the care of a dermatologist or licensed aesthetician.

Vitamin C Antioxidant

Everyone knows that Vitamin C supports the body’s immune system, but it is additionally wonderful for the skin:

  • It helps protect skin cells against UV damage.
  • It is necessary in the formation of collagen.

Taking Vitamin C orally will provide some of these benefits, but for maximum effectiveness, it should be applied topically. Vitamin C is sometimes combined with kojic acid, which is a skin brightener that lightens dark spots and evens skin tone. This combination is more natural than products like hydroquinone, which cannot be taken for long periods of time.

“Because Vitamin C can help protect against sun damage,” Dr. Hodges notes, “it can be an incredibly helpful ingredient for your morning skincare routine.” 

Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer

Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that binds water, and it naturally occurs in your skin. Over time, it disappears, depleting the skin’s ability to attract and retain moisture. A moisturizer that features hyaluronic acid should diminish wrinkles, and restore elasticity and firmness.

At Tryon Medical Partners, we offer a private label of skin care products (by an outside vendor) that contain these essential ingredients to protect and restore your skin. These professional-grade products are endorsed and used by Tryon dermatologists and are available for purchase at Tryon’s Ballantyne, Matthews, SouthPark and Uptown locations and in a newly launched online storefront