With skincare trends circling social media at the speed of light, it’s hard to know what is safe and legit. Many of the skincare crazes that have taken TikTok by storm over the last few years have either been debunked, or even proven to be dangerous. Thankfully, there is at least one trend that has received the dermatologist stamp of approval… skin cycling.
What is Skin Cycling?
Skin cycling is a skincare method that involves a routine which takes place over four nights. This allows your skin to go through the cycling process, by using products with active ingredients on two of the days, then taking ‘rest’ days for the other two, before repeating the cycling process again. Skin cycling has existed in the field of dermatology for a while now, but has recently emerged on social media, with 3.5 billion views under #skincycling on TikTok.
How to Skin Cycle?
Skin cycling should be done as part of your nighttime skincare routine. The reason that the skin cycling process requires rest days is because the products used contain active ingredients which can disrupt the skin barrier if used too frequently.
Night one: exfoliation
The first night of skin cycling calls for exfoliation. Cleanse and pat the skin dry and use an exfoliating product. New York based dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe recommends using a leave on product rather than something that is washed off, such as a chemical exfoliant containing ingredients such as AHAs, BHAs and PHAs, as these are more effective and better for our skin barriers.
Night two: retinoid
Day two of skin cycling is when we focus on applying a retinoid product after cleansing. Apply your retinoid product over your whole face and neck but be more minimal if you’re new to retinoids as the can be harsh on your skin if you’re not used to them. Retinoids are great for improving cell turnover, boosting collagen production, improving skin tone and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Nights three and four: recovery
On nights three and four of your skin cycle, focus on looking after your skin barrier so that your skin can take the time to repair and recover. Make sure your skin is hydrated, by applying a serum containing hyaluronic acid following with a rich moisturizer. This will help to nourish your skin to support the protection of the skin barrier and encourage smooth and glowing skin. Repeat the process after day four.
What are the Pros and Cons of Skin Cycling?
There are multiple benefits to skin cycling, however it is important to also consider the potential drawbacks, so that you can decide whether skin cycling may be right for you.
A pro to adopting a skin cycling routine is that it can give your skin a break from overwhelming or irritating products. This is important as it can help the skin to ‘reset’ and return to its natural state which can aid in improving its health and appearance. Skin cycling also helps to repair and strengthen the skin barrier, which is what keeps our skin hydrated and prevents environmental toxins from entering the body through our skin. Skin cycling can also help us to strip back our routines, and use products more strategically, so our products in our skincare routine complement each other and are able to work cohesively and effectively. This can also help our skin to combat any negative side effects we might be experiencing from our current products by pairing things back and letting our skin breathe, rather than be bombarded with a hundred different lotions and potions.
Despite these great benefits, there are a couple of potential cons to skin cycling that are important to consider if you’re thinking about adopting this routine. Firstly, skin cycling may not be for everyone, so consult with your dermatologist or skincare professional if you’re unsure. Because everyone’s skin is different, what works for one person may not work for everything, so keep that in mind. It also may not be necessary if your current skincare routine is working well for you… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! A drastic change to your skincare routine could cause damage or irritation to your skin, especially if you aren’t used to using active ingredients.
Overall, skin cycling is a routine that many dermatologists recommend. It is a great way to heal your skin barrier and dial things down when it comes to your skincare regime. Definitely consider your skin type and what works for you, when deciding whether to start cycling!