3.5 billion. This is the colossal number of views generated by videos about Skin Cycling on TikTok. However, this new beauty routine has only been popularized this summer. At the origin of its success, Dr. Withney Bowe, an American dermatologist followed by 119,000 followers on Instagram and founder of the cosmetics brand DWB Beauty. According to the expert, adopting the Skin Cycling method (literally “skin cycle”) would make it possible to take advantage of the benefits of exfoliants and retinoids, while limiting irritation.
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Retinoids, anti-aging active ingredients… which can sometimes accelerate skin aging
According to the words of the dermatologist reported by the-well.com, these acids and retinoids, misused, can indeed “do more harm than good, including damaging the skin barrier, causing chronic low-grade inflammation, and worsening free radical damage, accelerating the aging process.” To avoid these harms, Dr. Withney Bowe insists: the skin must be given time to recover, following a specific schedule.
What is Skin Cycling?
The principle of Skin Cycling? Alternate night care during a rotation cycle of 4 evenings. First, we exfoliate, then we apply a retinoid, finally we allow the skin to recover for 2 nights in a row… and we start again! In the morning, on the other hand, we keep a single routine: a cleanser, an antioxidant treatment with vitamin C, a moisturizer and an SPF treatment.
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The Skin Cycling Four-Step Nighttime Routine
Every evening, we remove make-up from the skin, clean it and then follow the appropriate protocol.
Evening 1: we exfoliate
The first night, we focus on exfoliation. We choose a chemical treatment, based on acids (salicylic, lactic, glycolic …), mechanical scrubs may prove to be too abrasive for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
Feeling some tingling after application is normal. But be careful, if the skin burns, the dermatologist urges to rinse it quickly with water. Once the tingling has disappeared, you can apply your usual moisturizing and/or nourishing night cream.
Evening 2: apply a retinoid
On the second evening, place on retinoids (bakuchiol, retinol, tretinoin on prescription)! But beware, here again, Dr. Withney Bowe invites you to take precautions: these anti-aging active ingredients should be applied to perfectly dry skin, at the risk of causing irritation.
If you have very dry or sensitive skin, you can first put a little moisturizer in the corner of the eye contour, on the nasolabial folds and the neck, in order to protect them from direct contact.
Then, you can apply the retinoid treatment, respecting the dermatologist’s recommendation: “Less is more” (the less you put in, the better). The equivalent of a pea is enough for the whole face, another for the neck and finally 2 on the neckline.
A second layer of moisturizer is then applied, a method nicknamed the sandwich technique.
Evenings 3 and 4: let the skin regenerate
The last two phases of Skin Cycling focus on regeneration. Forgotten, exfoliants and retinoids, we let the skin soak up the traditional moisturizing creams and serums adapted to its skin type. The key active ingredients: hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which can also be used via sheet masks, for deeper care.
If the epidermis is tight, you can then add a few drops of vegetable oils to strengthen its barrier function. To go even further in regeneration, it’s also a good time to try slugging (application of vaseline inspired by K-Beauty), according to the dermatologist’s recommendations.
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