For many people, developing a skincare routine can seem intimidating, and adding skin cycling to the mix can make things seem more complex. In truth, this "new" trend of skin cycling isn't new at all, and it's much easier than you may think. If you're curious about it or want to try it out, this article will help you clarify what skin cycling is and how it works.
What Is Skin Cycling?
Skin cycling is the act of layering active skincare ingredients in a particular order to minimize irritation while helping you get the most out of your skincare products. Skin cycling involves using your regular cleanser and moisturizer and adding retinol and a chemical exfoliant such as salicylic acid. When used together, these active ingredients can irritate the skin, but skin cycling is a method of product layering that allows you to use these active ingredients without the risk of inflammation and damage.
How Can I Do It at Home?
Skin cycling occurs over four nights, and each night you'll begin by cleansing your face as usual. On the first night, you'll use a chemical exfoliant after cleansing and applying a lightweight moisturizer. On the second night, you'll do the same thing, except instead of using a chemical exfoliant, you'll apply a retinol or a retinoid. You'll cleanse your face on the third and fourth nights and use a moisturizer, but that's it. These last two nights allow your skin to heal or "rest" before you begin the cycle again.
What Does It Do for the Skin?
Skin cycling prevents over-exfoliation, which is one of the most common exfoliation mistakes, and prevents the overuse of retinoids. And as previously stated, skin cycling lets people use these active ingredients to avoid irritation and inflammation.
However, there's a reason you want to use these ingredients in the first place. Chemical exfoliants remove the dirt, oil, and debris that cause acne, and retinol improves your skin cell turnover rate to promote new and healthy skin cells. Additionally, using these ingredients at night makes those vulnerable new skin cells less prone to sun damage, although you should still use an SPF. Typically, results can show as early as a week or up to a month, depending on your skin type, but the important part is the consistency of application.
Who Should and Shouldn't Skin Cycle?
Everyone's skin is different; some people need more recovery days, while others need more days to exfoliate. If you're using a potent retinoid or exfoliant every day without irritation, skin cycling may benefit you less. And if you have certain skin conditions like nodular acne, inflammatory acne, or rosacea, you'll want to talk to your dermatologist and set up a skincare routine specific to you. Other than that, anyone can skin cycle and adjust the length of particular steps to their liking.
Now that you know what skin cycling is and how it works, remember that what works for one person may not work for you. It's essential to see how your skin reacts before adding new active ingredients and give your skin the rest it needs, even if it doesn't follow these exact steps.