Skin cycling is a four-night cycle technique that involves strategically applying specific actives on certain nights to prevent skin irritation. Rotating skincare products that focus on exfoliants on night one, retinol on night two, and repairing moisturizers on nights three and four, allows the skin to change without bothering it.
Night 1: exfoliation night—Get ready to clear your pores and slough away dead, dull skin. First, cleanse with a gentle face wash and pat your skin dry. Then, recommended to use a leave-on chemical exfoliant, such as a serum that includes alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids. Than a physical exfoliant like a scrub, which tends to be harsh when used on the face,
Exfoliants shouldn’t cause painful burning or instant inflammation; if that happens to you, wash it off ASAP. (A bit of tingling is okay and nothing to worry about.) Lock everything in with a moisturizer before bed.
Welcome to retinoid night. Retinoids, which help speed up skin cell turnover, are vitamin A-based skin products that can help treat mild acne, fade hyperpigmentation and scarring, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as per the American Academy of Dermatology. “Retinoids are one of the most powerful ingredients to include in your skin cycling routine,”
Again, you’ll want to cleanse your face first and then make sure it’s 100% dry—not even a little damp—before applying the retinoid, (Damp skin boosts the penetration of the retinoid, which could potentially lead to more irritation for some people.) A pea-size amount of product for your entire face is plenty.
If you haven’t used a retinoid before, apply a light layer of a simple moisturizer to sensitive areas (under the eyes, around the corners of the mouth, at the base of your nostrils, and on the neck) first. Then apply your retinoid, and finish with another layer of moisturizer on top. This “sandwich” technique creates a protective buffer to help reduce things like peeling and dryness as your skin builds up some tolerance. (Trust the process and be consistent, the side effects should level out over time.)
Nights 3 and 4
Okay, your skin has been hard at work. Now you should ease into recovery nights. You can simply cleanse your face and apply any hydrating serums or moisturizers that don’t include active ingredients like the ones mentioned above—and that’s it! Look for fragrance-free products that contain skin-repairing add-ins like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides. In this case, it’s okay if your skin is a bit damp because you want to lock that water in. “Hold off on the exfoliating acids and retinoids and give your skin a chance to recover,”.
What are the benefits of skin cycling?
Skin cycling can be really effective because it gives your face a chance to heal in between treatments. “Exfoliating serums and retinoids are powerful, highly effective products. “However, they can be very irritating for many people if used too frequently.” Essentially, applying too much too often can lead to sensitive, tight, or dry skin, she explains; people with darker skin tones, in particular, have a higher risk of hyperpigmentation when overusing these products.
So, skin cycling may help you reap the benefits of these (often pricey) products with a lower risk of annoying side effects. “When it comes to skin care, less is more, ,. You can think of your skin care routine almost like your fitness routine. “This is similar to the idea of working out different muscle groups in your weekly gym session. “Giving your skin ‘work days’ and ‘rest days’ allows for improvements without causing the potential irritation or skin barrier damage you may experience from overdoing your routine every day.”
Also worth noting: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to start skin cycling, and it’s generally safe—even for those of us who have trust issues because one too many serums did major damage. “This is an easy routine to use, and it is particularly useful in people who are sensitive and can’t tolerate harsh [ingredients] on a daily basis,”