Our shelves are stocked high with various skin care products and products that all claim to offer us the cleanest, most vibrant skin ever since the skincare boom began. Beauty enthusiasts are now interested in "skin cycling," a new trend that promises to give you the healthiest skin without any work.
While many lotions and potions on the market promise to renew, revitalize, and rejuvenate our skin, it may be difficult to determine what our skin truly needs from us. Fortunately, Dr. Whitney Bowe has the solution, and due to TikTok, skincare experts all around the globe have learned about the revolutionary method that doesn't cost a fortune.
The practice is known as "skin cycling," and since a video of the founder preaching its charms went viral, the hashtag, which presently has 73 million views, has been clogging up every For You page and an Instagram feed. In addition, those who have tried the method for themselves have gushed over its effectiveness; just by looking at their complexions, it is clear why everyone has grown so fixated on it.
There is more to skin cycling than what the eye can see, apart from a broad concept. So don't worry; ELLE Australia has Charlotte Knight, the mind behind Ciaté London, Lottie London, and Skin Proud, on board to explain everything.
What items you should have on hand when you're ready to start and how to include skin cycling into your skincare routine are all covered in the information below.
What is Skin Cycling?
Developed by dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe of New York City, this four-day skincare routine seeks to leave our skin the healthiest it has ever been while instructing everyone on how to give their skin what it truly needs.
Dr. Bowe created the skin cycling routine in 2021 while addressing her patients' skin troubles in her dermatological office. Her approach gradually developed into a four-night routine that alternates between applying active chemicals and giving your skin a break in the blink of an eye.
Skin cycling is simply a simplified routine to ensure that your products are working as hard as they can to produce results. Creating four specific skincare routines—exfoliation, retinoid, and two recuperation nights—that you cycle through each evening is known as skin cycling. You then repeat the whole procedure once again.
Skin cycling recognizes that your skin needs time to recover between applications of potentially potent active ingredients; those recovery nights are as beneficial in promoting the appearance of healthy skin as the retinol or exfoliation evenings.
Making your routine into two parts has the enormous advantage of helping you develop a habit you can maintain. To see improvements in your skincare, you may need to develop this consistency. Cycling eliminates the need to track when you last exfoliated or used retinol; instead, you may run in a series easily. You can keep track of it on a calendar or your phone if you need to.
Of course, everything has disadvantages. And while Knight asserts that the skin cycling approach might sometimes have unfavorable outcomes, there is always a solution.
With the things you are using, outcomes might plateau, which is something you don't want to happen. If you are new to retinoid treatments, I would always suggest starting with a lesser concentration of retinol and working your way up to a stronger one if you think your skin could need more improvement.
Additionally, you may adjust the advice to match what works best for you by adding eye creams as you see appropriate.
Night One and Two
You're prepared to reset your routine, so let us explain everything to you.
Instead of using a physical scrub on the first night of the skin cycle program, Dr. Bowe advises exfoliating your skin with a chemical exfoliant, such as an AHA or BHA. According to the physician, an at-home facial peel is an additional method of gently exfoliating without removing our barrier. You should always use exfoliants after cleansing the skin, and moisturizing should always come after to prevent the skin from becoming too dry.
What makes exfoliating so crucial? Doing so will enhance the texture of your skin and eliminate dead skin cells. Additionally, the skincare products that come next will be able to penetrate your skin properly. Although physical exfoliation may achieve the same benefits, it is a more abrasive method than chemical exfoliation, so if your skin tolerates them, we advise continuing with them.
It's time to get out the retinol on night two of the skin cycling routine. Apply retinol in a pea-sized quantity after doing your nighttime cleanser, followed by a layer of moisturizer to complete your skincare routine. Retinol, one of the most popular forms of vitamin A, is known to increase cell turnover and reveal younger, healthier skin cells.
Retinol is harsh on the skin, so take it sparingly unless you're already a regular user. Whether you're not used to using retinol, introduce it gradually to determine if your skin can withstand it.
Your skin may experience breakouts, redness, dryness, and even peeling during the first two weeks of using retinol as it gets used to the abrasive exfoliator; this is known as a retinol purge and is normal.
But watch out for the retinol burn, which can cause your skin to become red and peel within the first 24 hours, or practice immediately. Even after using a fragrance-free moisturizer, if your skin continues to feel irritated as the days go by, you probably have a burn. In such a case, feel free to choose a natural, plant-based retinol substitute, which should have the same effects without causing shedding.
Remember that while retinol speeds up the production of new skin cells and makes you more susceptible to sunburn, you must constantly moisturize after using it and wear a high-coverage SPF every day. It's also crucial to remember that taking any retinol while expecting or nursing is not advised.
Night Three and Four
Days three and four of skin cycling are easy and complete the process. Focused on hydration and skin healing, neither day contains any active ingredients and serves merely to give your skin the attention it needs.
Start days three and four by washing your face gently. If you want to be sure, do this again. Apply a hyaluronic acid serum if your skin needs an extra boost of hydration.
Finish it off by using your preferred moisturizer, ideally one that is fragrance-free and has the fewest irritants. Applying a facial oil to keep your skin as moisturized and dewy as possible will clinch the deal if you're in the mood for anything especially fancy.
OTACI Rose Passion Deep Hydration Face Cream is a great gentle product for your skin cycling routine with its clean formula.
Should you try skin cycling?
Although skin cycling seems like a great idea, many people were curious about which skin types might benefit from the technique the most—because of this, retinol or exfoliation on sensitive or prone to breakouts might be using risky.
It's vital to start with a low proportion to observe how your skin responds since certain skin types may be sensitive to chemicals like retinol, says Knight.
Skin Cycling is also excellent for anybody just beginning to establish a routine since it keeps things straightforward and makes it easier to establish a pattern.
Godspeed if you have oily or combo skin since your complexions will probably respond to the procedure flawlessly. Your routine compatibility may need trial and error if you have sensitive or dry skin.
The procedures of skin cycling are straightforward, making it easy to explore the technique. As a result, people with difficult-to-please skin types may take their time choosing an active ingredient and testing it on their skin to ensure that it won't cause any adverse reactions. Apply the product in secret locations, such as under your chin or where your jaw meets your ear, to test-patch the active components. This way, if a response occurs, it won't be obvious.
If you want to use retinol or an exfoliator, be careful not to overdo it. Rushing into the routine will be ineffective if your skin isn't ready for the shift in components, so start slowly and introduce the items gradually.
Remember that your goal is to repair, not exacerbate, the skin barrier.