What is skin cycling? The term “skin cycling” is all about taking a cyclical approach to your facial skincare routine.Why? Using specific products on different days regenerates the skin and improves skin quality. This four-night cycle alternates an exfoliant, retinol-based product, and hydrating cream or concentrate. The routine is the brain-child of European dermatologist Whitney […]
What is skin cycling?
The term "skin cycling" is all about taking a cyclical approach to your facial skincare routine.Why? Using specific products on different days regenerates the skin and improves skin quality. This four-night cycle alternates an exfoliant, retinol-based product, and hydrating cream or concentrate.
The routine is the brain-child of European dermatologist Whitney Bowe who came up with the routine in lockdown. The concept stems from the idea that alternating products gives you improved results, in a similar way to physical training routines.
Skin cycling steps
The products contain potent active ingredients made to renew the epidermis, so you should always apply them at night to let them work their magic as you sleep.Dr. Vera Morandini, dermatologist
Night 1: exfoliation
Day one is all about exfoliation. Use a physical or AHA/BHA-based chemical exfoliant: choose one to suit your skin type and skin condition.
Chemical exfoliants contain AHAs or BHAs, which promote gradual cell renewal. In other words, they speed up the cell replacement process.
We recommend you use broad spectrum sunscreen during the day to protect your skin following the overnight treatment.
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Physical exfoliants contain microparticles. As they're massaged gently into the skin, they help to remove dead skin cells (impurities). This type of exfoliation is more abrasive and is only suitable for non-sensitive skin types.
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Night 2: retinol
Retinol is the ultimate anti-aging active ingredient, treating age spots, wrinkles and expression lines, as well as the loss of firmness and brightness.
On the second day, after removing makeup and cleansing, apply a small amount of your retinol cream and leave it to act on your skin overnight.
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Choosing the right retinol product for your skin is key. You should start with a lower percentage concentration of retinol, allowing your skin to get used to it gradually. Retinisation (the period over which your skin adapts to a retinoid) can last up to three months, so if you notice some sensitivity at the start, don’t panic! We recommend using nourishing and calming products to alleviate any negative effects, but if your skin becomes irritated or you notice a burning sensation please consult a specialist. Plus, you should always use a sunscreen during the day.
Days 3 and 4: give your skin a rest
Give your skin a rest on nights three and four: this is when you need to hydrate your skin, with two days of intensive renewal.
- If you suffer from dry skin, get in-depth nourishment from an intensive nourishing hydrating cream such as hydra-vital factor K.
- If you have oily skin, you might want to limit hydration to one night only and use a lighter cream such as hydra-vital light or a concentrate like ha densimatrix.
- For sensitive skin, it is advisable to use calming effect products such as skin balance.
So… does this mean I don’t need to use any other skincare products?
Dermatologist Dr Vera Morandini explains: “the skin cycling facial skincare routine focuses solely on epidermis renewal, but doesn’t take other aspects of skincare into account. But don’t neglect them them! You should still use a facial cleanser morning and night, a face mask once a week, and your favourite products for treating areas such as the eye contour and lips.” (She would recommend a day and night routine - after all, skincare is an everyday pursuit).
I'm ready to give skin cycling a go! What do I need to think about before I start?
Dr Vera Morandini gives us her two top tips: “First, remember that you need to apply all products at night. They contain potent active ingredients made to renew the epidermis. This beauty regime is suitable for the majority of people, but if you have particularly sensitive skin it might not be right for you. We always recommend getting a professional diagnosis before embarking on any new skincare routine.”.
She also insists you should use a protective sunscreen during the day: “When you use retinol, it's really important to protect your skin from the sun’s ways with a broad spectrum SPF50 sunscreen”.
How long should you do skin cycling for?
Here, Dr Vera Morandini recommends following this routine for a month and a half. “This is the optimal amount of time to let your skin regenerate and adapt to the retinol. Once the adaptation period has finished, you can start with a more intensive retinol approach. You could even use it daily, depending on your skin’s level of tolerance.”.
When’s the best time to start?
“If your skin has already adapted well to retinol, you could start skin cycling at any time of the year - as long as you follow the precautions we’ve already mentioned”, explains Dr Morandini. “But if your skin still hasn’t retinised, it's a good idea to start your regime at the time of year when you're less exposed to sunlight ”.
Want to find out more about incorporating Skin Cycling into your beauty routine?
Contact Dr Vera Morandini, a dermatologist specialising in aesthetic medicine, and she’ll answer all your questions.
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