Skin Cycling – What It Is and How to Do It

Skin Cycling - What It Is and How to Do It

Photo by Min An

In recent years, many skincare trends have popped up on social media, with TikTok being a particular font of information – although not all of it is accurate. For every decent bit of advice, there seems to be ten videos telling you to do something utterly absurd (and potentially damaging) to your skin. However, the most recent trend to come from TikTik is “skin cycling” and it’s one which is making people sit up and listen because it was created by a dermatologist!

Skin cycling is the aforementioned dermatologist’s method of keeping over-exfoliation from damaging the skin and promoting skin recovery. Think of it like exercise – you don’t work the same muscle groups every time you go to the gym, nor should you use the same active ingredients two days in a row.

Here’s our handy guide on how to skin-cycle and what products are useful for each day:

Day One

Exfoliation – Start your routine with a thorough exfoliation of your skin, as this will allow the products you use in the rest of your routine to really soak in and give you the maximum benefits. We’d recommend either Elemis Peptide4 Overnight Radiance Peel, an AHA-rich nighttime peel, or Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Peel and Reset, a next generation dual-phase resurfacing treatment.

Day Two

Retinoids – This is when you can start to hit your skin with the more powerful corrective active ingredients. Retinoids stimulate collagen and increase cell turnover. It helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and can treat skin conditions such as acne. Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum is a fast-acting serum that combines 3 retinol technologies and hyaluronic acid to reduce the look of wrinkles in just 2 weeks. If you’re looking for something with a low retinol concentration to ease yourself in with, Medik8 Intelligent Retinol 3TR is a lightweight retinol serum which is designed to complement skin’s nightly regenerative cycle.

Day Three and Four

Moisturisation – Now that you’ve given your skin the double-whammy of exfoliation and retinoids, it’s time to spend a couple of days nourishing it and treating it gentle by replenishing any lost moisture. Dermalogica Circular Hydration Serum would be a great place to start, especially if combined with Dermalogica UltraCalming Mist as these products provide both barrier support and hydration, as well as reduction of redness and irritation.

Things to remember:

  • If you feel like your skin is becoming too reactive, think about switching to a less abrasive exfoliant and a product with a lower concentration of retinol. You can always increase these gradually but it’s much harder to roll back if you’ve already done damage to your skin.
  • It’s important to remember to wear SPF when you’re using products containing retinol as your skin will be even more susceptible to burning. We recommend SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF 50+ Facial Sunscreen.

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