Skin Care Blogs

What Is Skin Cycling? Your Step-by-Step Guide

The biggest trend in skin care right now isn’t an exotic facial or rare ingredient. In fact, it’s actually something you can start tonight (or at least, as soon as your latest order arrives). It’s called skin cycling and this innovative skin care approach is getting a lot of attention—and delivering impressive results.

In essence, skin cycling means using specific ingredients on certain nights, and giving your skin a chance to recover in between. This “schedule” allows you to reap the maximum benefits of active ingredients like retinol and exfoliating acids while minimizing the chance of irritation by giving the skin a break between applications. (It’s also ideal for those who have too many products to choose from and aren’t 100% sure what to use when). A typical skin cycling routine looks something like this:

  • Day 1: Exfoliate
  • Day 2: Retinol
  • Days 3 and 4: Barrier repair
  • [Repeat]

We chose one of our all-time favorite brands, SkinCeuticals, known for giving us some majorly incredible results, and put together a full skin cycling routine (with a bonus morning routine!) to show exactly how you can structure it for the best results.

When taking this approach to skin care, your nighttime regimen is where the magic happens. Focusing on one active ingredient per night prevents over-stressing your skin and allows it to reap the maximum benefits of each.

Here’s how we skin cycle with SkinCeuticals:

Night 1 (Exfoliation)
  1. Cleanse: Purifying Cleanser
  2. Serum/Actives: Blemish + Age Defense
  3. Moisture:  Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
Night 2 (Retinol)
  1. Cleanse: Purifying Cleanser
  2. Hydration: Hydrating B5 Gel
  3. Serum/Actives: Retinol 0.5 (retinol can be very drying, so applying extra hydration is key)
  4. Moisture:  Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
Nights 3 and 4 (Barrier Repair)
  1. Cleanse: Purifying Cleanser
  2. Serums/Actives: Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier
  3. Moisture:  Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
  4. Seal: Hydra Balm (this will lock in moisture and help prevent trans epidermal water loss)

Nightly retinol use is ideal for achieving optimal skin improvement, especially when it comes to visible signs of skin aging, refining pore appearance and minimizing breakouts. With that said, skin cycling provides an opportunity for beginners to gradually increase the skin’s retinol tolerance and work their way up to daily use without the side effects that can come along with too much too soon.

Regardless of the skin cycling day, your morning regimen remains the same. First, cleanse with your Purifying Cleanser. Then, apply C E Ferulic and follow with Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier. Moisturize with Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 and complete your routine with Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50.

At the end of the day (literally), skin cycling can help establish a consistent skin care regimen with products that have proven to be effective—which is a fool-proof way to get visible anti-aging and skin-improving results.

Dermstore Editors

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