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Skin Cycling: What is it and how to do it

What is Skin Cycling?

A concept created by dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe, Skin Cycling has taken both the Tik Tok and skin care world by storm. It is essentially a four-night skin care regime cycle that allows you to use both active and calming and recovery products to produce results but reduce inflammation and irritation. Skin Cycling is suitable for most skin types and conditions.

If you are new to retinol and AHA/BHA’s it is an easy routine to follow and allows your skin to adjust to the active ingredients. The inclusion of the two recovery nights allows your skin to rebalance, recuperate and prepare for the next cycle.

How to do it

The four-night cycle includes:

Night 1. Exfoliation or AHA / BHA product

Night 2. Retinol product

Night 3. Recovery night – Calming and hydrating

Night 4. Recovery night – Calming and hydrating

Night 5. Repeat cycle starting with Night 1

For skins with more sensitivity you can add in an extra Recovery Night before beginning the cycle again. Always adjust the cycle to how your skin is responding.

The aim is to have a simplified routine so using only a cleanser, moisturiser and SPF in the morning is recommended. In the evenings use a cleanser, then the product for the night you are on (ie. exfoliation, retinol or recovery) and follow with a moisturiser if needed.

What to expect

  • Reduction in inflammation and irritation
  • Skin becomes more tolerant to retinol as the cycles continue
  • Skin can feel more hydrated
  • Skin can look clearer and brighter
  • Overtime fine lines and wrinkles can be reduced
  • Can help with acneic and oily skins
  • Help reduce pigmentation over time

The rotation of active ingredients and recovery days (hydration/moisturization) also works to help balance the skin’s natural barrier and make it stronger.

What to use in place of Retinol

If your skin has high sensitivity or contraindications to retinol you can substitute with other active ingredients. Vitamin C or peptide serums are suitable options. Bakuchiol (a plant-based retinol alternative) would be a great option for skins highly contraindicated to normal retinol products.

Suggested products

AHA/BHA exfoliation: Aspect Exfol L, Asap Liquid Platinum, Cosmedix Defy, Cosmedix Pure Enzymes

Retinol: Aspect Retinol Brulee, Asap Super A+ Serum, Cosmedix Serum 16, Cosmedix Refine

Recovery: Aspect Hydrating Serum, Aspect Extreme B 17 Serum, Aspect Super PD Complex, Asap Super B Serum, Asap Soothing Gel, Cosmedix Rescue, Cosmedix Surge, Cosmedix C.P.R, PCA Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum

Retinol alternatives: Aspect Extreme C, Cosmedix Affirm, Cosmedix Bakuchiol Complete, Société Triple C