Skin Cycling: How to Know When It’s Right For You

When it comes to skincare, I’m pretty diligent with my AM and PM routines, but recently I haven’t been able to get away from hearing about skin cycling. Having no idea what it was and how it could help my skin, I went to the next logical place, Google.

Curious to know more about what skin cycling is, too? Well, I can tell you it doesn’t involve bicycles; that was made obvious pretty quickly. Down the rabbit hole, I went to discover that skin cycling isn’t a newly coined term invented by TikTokers born the same year I was experimenting with nude lips and square manicures and, in fact, has been around for a while.

I thought I’d put all my hard research to good use and help inform you about what this process is and how to know when it’s right for you.

What Is Skin Cycling?

When New-York based dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe noticed her clients were overusing their skincare products, she decided to introduce a solution: skin cycling.

Skin cycling overhauls your night time skincare routine by introducing active ingredients on certain days of the week and avoiding them on others, also known as ‘rest days’. But don’t think of this process as a gimmick, this latest beauty trend hashtag has over three billion views on TikTok and unlike those passing (and dangerous) fads like teeth filling, skin cycling has been tried and tested by dermatologists and skin experts around the world.

How Do I Start Skin Cycling?

Usually done over four days and repeated, this process helps ensure you’re not using ingredients too strong for your skin over long periods of time, but rather boosting the effects instead. Night one will see you exfoliating, the second is dedicated to a retinoid and days three and four are rest nights before you repeat the cycle all over again.The classic skin cycling regimen is a four-night cycle — the first is the exfoliation night, the second retinoid, and the third and fourth are recovery nights and repeat.

What Are the Benefits of Skin Cycling?

Think of your skincare routine like a gym workout; if you never shake it up a little, chances are you’ll plateau. Skin cycling is the perfect way to change up the products you use in a considered and calculated way.

However, the last thing you want your skin to be is irritated. Skin cycling offers the perfect middle ground for reaping the benefits of using power products like exfoliants and retinoids without overdoing it or damaging your skin barrier.

What About My Morning Routine?

So, we’ve got the nighttime routine down pat, but if you’re wondering what to do with your AM routine, rest assured.Many dermatologists recommend sticking to cleansing, moisturising and using sunscreen is all you need to do.

Is Skin Cycling Right for You?

Almost everyone can jump in the skin cycling, but don’t just take our word for it, Dr Whitney Bowe says so, too.

It’s all about finding a routine that suits you and your life stage. For example, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, Dr Bowe recommends swapping out the retinoid for a bakuchiol, peptides or another alternative with similar stimulating effects to a retinoid.

If you’re still a little unsure, or have further questions, consult your dermatologist or skincare specialist first to ensure your skin cycling products are right for you.

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