Skin Complexion: Top 3 Tips

Cynthia Bailey, MD|March 24, 2014

Complexion tips to look younger


What choices should you make that will have the biggest impact on your skin complexion this year? You’re bombarded with advice in the media, but what are the best things to do for your complexion?

Here are dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey's top three tips that will have the biggest impact on your complexion - focus your efforts here and keep an eye on the mirror because you're going to see the results.

Big impact skin complexion tip #1: Wear zinc oxide sunscreen 365 days a year

Wear mineral zinc oxide sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF for UVA and UVB 365 days a year on sun-exposed skin. The unwanted consequences of skin aging are almost entirely due to sun damage. It’s the reason your tummy skin looks better than the sides of your face and neck or back of your hands. Apply zinc oxide sunscreen every morning after washing your face. Products are now elegant and invisible on the skin. Pick water-resistant sunscreen for areas like your hands. Pick a product that matches your facial skin type. Choose either of these for your neck, chest, and other exposed skin areas. Apply sunscreen 365 days a year. Develop a habit so that forgetting sunscreen becomes as unlikely as forgetting to brush your teeth or to fasten your seat belt.

Click here to learn how to pick the right zinc oxide sunscreens.

Click here to jump to my sunscreen comparison chart to pick a sunscreen that fits your skin type from the products that I trust.

Big impact complexion tip #2: Pick one big impact facial anti-aging skin care product and use it.

Skin care science has given us four highly effective anti-aging skin care tactics that make big differences to how your skin looks. When a patient asks me for the bottom line benefits for finding just one product for their skin care goals, this is how I sort through the four options for them:


These address:

  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • skin thinning from sun damage
  • skin dullness and lack of complexion brightness
  • uneven skin pigment from sun/age spots and melasma

The best options here include prescription tretinoin (Retin A and Renova) and non-prescription retinol creams and serums. The higher the concentration the more effective, but I recommend starting on lower strengths and moving up as you skin adjusts to this treatment. Retinoids are applied at bedtime.

Coming Soon! Dr. Bailey Skin Care is releasing our new Retinoid Cream!

Stay tuned for updates on how to best use this special Retinoid Cream for healthy younger skin.

Click here to see the retinoid-containing eye cream that I use in my practice.

Best Eye Complexion Cream Replenix

Most of the eye creams I've used have never been effective in keeping my under eye area well hydrated and have sometimes caused irritation.  Replenix Eye Repair is gentle and hydrating.  I feel as though the puffiness I suffer from has improved with its regular use. S. Marshall

Vitamin C

This addresses:

  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • to a lesser extent, uneven skin pigment from sun/age spots and melasma
  • additional UV sun damage, as it acts as an antioxidant to help your sunscreen

Pick a product that’s in an airtight container. Again, higher strengths yield greater results and you want to find a product with a minimum of 10% L ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in an acid pH below 4. This information should be listed clearly on the product. Vitamin C products can be applied either morning or night.

Click here to see the product that I use in my practice and that I personally use on my own skin.

Best vitamin c anti-aging serum for Complexion

"That vitamin C feels like your putting pearls on your skin. Hillary A, Bodega CA


Glycolic Acid

This addresses:

  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • skin dryness
  • skin dullness and lack of complexion brightness
  • uneven skin pigment from sun/age spots and melasma

Find a product with 10% or higher concentration in an acid pH of about 4 or less. This information should be listed clearly on the product. Glycolic acid products should be matched to your skin oiliness, as there are creams and oil-free options. These products can be applied either morning or night and can be layered with vitamin C products but not retinoids.

Click here to see the products that I use in my practice.

Young Complexion: Dr. Bailey's Glycolic Acid Antiaging Face Cream

I did this experiment with your Glytone on one leg and my other cream on the other.  The Glytone side was way better than the other and the Glytone was much less expensive than the other cream. JZ

Green Tea Antioxidants

These address:

  • skin redness from sun damage or rashes such as facial dandruff, rosacea, or acne
  • additional UV sun damage by acting as an antioxidant to help your sunscreen

Pick a product that boasts a high level of purified antioxidants as opposed to a “fairy dusting” included to enhance the market appeal of the product label. When green tea antioxidants are combined with caffeine they are even more effective. Green tea products can be applied once or twice a day under your sunscreen. I typically recommend they be applied first, before other anti-aging or moisturizing products.

Click here to see the products that I think are by far the best on the market.

Dr. Bailey's Green Tea Antioxidant Complexion Therapy Cream

I started using the Green Tea on the barnacles on my arm and in 2 to 3 days they were gone.  I tell you it’s a miracle.Chris B

Big impact complexion tip #3: Make lifestyle choices that give you healthy and attractive skin

Healthy lifestyle and diet choices make a difference to your complexion. The top healthy choices for skin care include:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep every night and making healthy diet choices as often as possible
  • Eating many servings of a variety of fresh fruits and veggies (variety gives you a variety of phytonutrients to support healthy skin)
  • Drinking a lot of water or herbal teas, instead of caffeinated and sugary drinks, throughout the day

Evidence also suggests that some skin conditions are better if you cut down on sugar, trans-fats, refined carbs and milk products. I suspect that in the coming years we are going to see research showing that eating probiotic-rich foods also supports your skin health.

Click below to see some of my posts on diet, lifestyle, and skin health.

Your Face Really Is More Attractive after a Good Night's Sleep

Does Eating Olive Oil Prevent Wrinkles?

Are Probiotics Good for Your Health?

4 Diet Changes that Can Improve Your Acne

Lifestyle Changes to Help Heal Psoriasis

If you have found these three face and skin complexion skin tips helpful, please show your thanks by commenting on, sharing, “liking”, Google+, tweeting and “pinning,”  this blog post with friends and family. 

Photo attribution: Thanks and gratitude to © Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto/Corbis

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