What is skin cycling?
Though skin cycling is a new term, it’s far from a new concept. It’s actually a technique that many dermatologists and estheticians alike have been recommending to skin care patients for years (myself included!). The basic idea behind skin cycling is to avoid overusing active ingredients that can sensitize the skin, this allows time for the barrier to recovering.
In the broadest sense, it’s a simple skin routine that involves a four-day cycle. During this four-day cycle, two of the nights will involve the use of active ingredients (retinoids and chemical exfoliants ).
While the other two nights will involve resting the skin. The rest nights allow time for the barrier to repair from the active ingredients used during the first two nights.
Similar to a good strength training plan, off days are important as they give your body time to recover and build stronger muscles!
On the rest nights, I advise sticking with antioxidants and humectants, occlusives, and emollients to help rebuild the barrier (see example skin cycling routine below). Then when you get to the end of the four days, simply repeat the cycle.
So what might a skin cycle routine look like?
Night 1: Cleanse with Skin Better Science Cleansing Gel, and wipe the skin with Skin Better AlphaRet Peel Pads. Do not wash off. Remember to avoid the eye area when using the AlphaRet Peel Pads and to use a moisturizing eye cream.
Night 2: Cleanse with Skin Better Science Cleansing Gel, apply Skin Better Science AlphaRet Intensive overnight cream (or whichever AlphaRet or retinoid is best for you) wait 5 minutes. Then, if needed, apply a thin layer of Skin Better Trio Rebalance moisturizer.
Night 3: Cleanse with Skin Better Cleansing Gel, apply Skin Better Science Alto Advance, Skin Medica HA5 Serum, Skin Better Interfuse Treatment Eye Cream, Skin Better Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment, and Anfisa Lilou Hydrabalm. The hydrabalm will keep all the good moisturizers locked in while you sleep.
Night 4: Repeat night 3
THEN CONTINUE TO REPEAT NIGHTS 1-4 ABOVE.
So is it good for everyone?
The reason a lot of us skincare pros often take issue with viral trends is simply that everyone’s skin is different and, thus, has different needs. Skincare is never one size fits all, as some trends may lead people to believe. It is true that every individual’s skin needs balance.
It is also true that if you strip the skin of all of its natural oils regularly without ever allowing the barrier to rest and rebuild, your skin will then overcompensate and try to produce more oil. This can wreak havoc on the skin and lead to breakouts and painfully sensitive skin.
At the same time, it’s also true that if you have excessively oily skin along with acne, you will need some form of active ingredient almost every day, along with a regimen of antioxidants, humectants, occlusives, and emollients that I mentioned above.
Similarly, if you’re someone with melasma or severe hyperpigmentation, your skin will greatly benefit from using active ingredients a bit more aggressively/regularly; however, that is a topic for another day!
To wrap things up…
While the general idea behind skin cycling is a solid one, you will get the best results by consulting with a licensed esthetician. The good news is — I am here to help with all of your face and skincare needs!
My name is Tanya Weeks. I am a Licensed Esthetician with 16 years of experience and an intense passion for what I do. Schedule a complimentary consultation with me so I can help you make sure you’re getting the most from your skin routine.
At your free consultation, we will discuss your skincare concerns and complexion goals. If you wish to establish a skin cycling routine, I will determine the best active ingredients and barrier replenishers based on your skin type and concerns.
In addition, keep in mind that these skincare routines are constantly in flux. But don’t worry, I’ll be by your side as you navigate seasonal variance, natural aging, and hormone fluctuations, which all affect your skin. A cornerstone of all my consultations is meeting my clients where they are at. I will consider everything from your skin type and complexion goals to your budget and time.