If you've spent any time reading blogs, scrolling on Instagram, or watching TikTok, you've probably seen or heard of the term skin cycling. This buzzword challenges you to rethink your approach to your nighttime routine and invites you to give your skin a break from some of the harsher skincare products you use daily. If this trend is new to you, you may wonder, "What is skin cycling?" Is it worth the hype, or is it just another skincare trend?
We're here to walk you through how skin cycling works, what products you'll need, and the benefits and precautions of switching to a skin cycling routine.
Here's everything you need to know about how to skin cycle.
What Is Skin Cycling?
Skin cycling is a simple yet effective approach to your nighttime skincare routine. This trend gained popularity on the video-sharing platform TikTok. Influencers and content creators use this routine to show that less is more with skincare, and you don't need a 10-step regimen to see results. The hashtag has over 3.5 billion views and has quickly become the go-to approach for a simplified nighttime routine.
This skin care regimen is designed for nighttime use only. It's best to continue your regular daytime routine and always wear your favorite serums, SPF, and moisturizer daily to protect you from environmental aggressors and UV rays.
Does Skin Cycling Work?
To skin cycle, you need three products in your routine: An exfoliant, a retinoid, and a moisturizer.
The cycle is broken into four days, with rest days throughout the week, allowing your skin to repair itself and take a break from products with harsher formulas. Adding rest days into your routine allows you to experience the benefits of a high-quality retinoid and exfoliant without worrying about the risk of irritation, redness, and inflammation.
Here's what the four-night routine looks like.
First Night: Exfoliant
The first night you'll start with your go-to exfoliant. Exfoliants work wonders by gently removing dead skin cells, making way for fresh, rejuvenated skin. They are especially effective in maintaining a smooth and supple complexion. However, it's important to note that both chemical and physical exfoliants can be harsh on the skin, causing irritation and inflammation when used daily. With this innovative approach, you'll give your skin a break from harsh formulas while still experiencing all the benefits.
After exfoliating, you'll want to apply your daily moisturizer. Exfoliants can dry out the skin, so this will help reduce your risk of transepidermal moisture loss and keep your skin soft and supple.
Here's what your routine for the first night would look like:
Second Night: Retinoid
The next day you'll switch your exfoliant out for a retinoid or a retinol serum. Many consider retinol-based formulations "the holy grail" of anti-aging products as they help to prevent premature signs of aging (like fine lines and wrinkles) and improve your skin's visual appearance. However, excessive use of retinol serums can be harsh on the skin.
Apply a thin, even layer on your skin before bed, whether it's a retinoid or a retinol serum. After you apply the serum, complete your routine with your daily moisturizer.
Third Night: Rest and Recovery
During the rest and recovery days, allowing your skin to repair and rejuvenate itself is crucial. If you constantly use harsh chemicals on the skin, it can disrupt your skin barrier and microbiome. On rest days, we recommend taking a break from exfoliants and retinol serums completely while following your regular cleansing and moisturizing routine.
Fourth Night: Rest and Recovery
Your fourth night will look the same as your third night. Once you complete the four-day cycle, you reset and repeat. This is the simplest way to start skin cycling. However, many individuals decide to customize the approach to meet the needs of their skin. If you plan on trying the skin cycle approach, be mindful of how your skin responds, especially if you have sensitive skin.
What are Skin Cycling Products?
There are three products you need to create a skin cycling routine. Each product works together to renew and repair the outermost layer of your skin, providing you with the soft, supple complexion you're after.
Here's what you need for your skin cycling routine:
An exfoliant eliminates dead skin cells, dirt, and grime that builds up on the skin's surface. Exfoliants help preserve an even and smooth skin texture and maintain the integrity of your skin.
The two most popular types of exfoliants are physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants are slightly abrasive, with tiny particles, beads, or granules that work to buff away dead skin cells and eliminate imperfections. Chemical exfoliants contain skin-friendly acids that break down the particulates on your skin's surface.
Exfoliants may not be suitable for daily use as their ingredients, while safe for the skin, can also cause dryness or irritation. Using a harsh exfoliant daily can even have the opposite effect and harm your skin. Skin cycling is an effective approach that allows you to enjoy the benefits of your preferred exfoliant without worrying about adverse consequences. By incorporating rest days in between, you can give your skin a much-needed break it deserves to flourish.
The Essence, our three-in-one exfoliant, toner, and hydrating essence, is a gentle, lightweight, and refreshing exfoliant that won't damage your skin barrier. Its formula helps to eliminate imperfections, reduce discoloration, and protect the skin from environmental aggressors.
Retinoids, derived from Vitamin A, have gained widespread recognition and use for their anti-aging effects. Lotions, serums, oils, and various beauty products often contain retinoids and retinol. However, retinoids require a prescription due to their higher concentration. Incorporating a retinol serum into your skin cycling routine can yield similar effects if you don't have a retinoid prescription. Retinol and retinoids can eliminate acne scars, diminish discoloration, and improve uneven skin texture. Consistent and regular use can also help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging.
If it's your first time using retinoids, slowly ease the products into your skincare routine. While they won't cause any permanent damage to your skin, they can be harsher than other ingredients, as overuse can lead to dryness, irritation, redness, and unwanted inflammation.
The Retinol Serum is formulated with Pure Retinol and TFC8® to help lessen the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and premature signs of aging. When used as part of your skin cycling routine, our serum will help to optimize the skin microbiome, lock in moisture, and reduce the appearance of blemishes. During our 12-week clinical trials, participants noticed skin hydration improved by 177% and the appearance of fine lines reduced by 73%.
Whatever your view on skin cycling, a daily moisturizer is a must-have for any skincare routine. A good moisturizer will lock in moisture and protect your skin from dehydration, as well as working as a protective barrier over the skin. During your rest days, you'll want to ensure your skin is still hydrated and receiving the nutrients it needs to look and feel its best.
When trying this approach, use a daily moisturizer formulated with clean, nutrient-rich ingredients that deliver results. The Rich Cream is our perfect addition to your nighttime skin routine. This award-winning formula contains a potent blend of omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants, allowing you to feel confident that your skin is still getting the support it needs to thrive during your rest days. During our four-week clinical trials with 30 participants, the appearance of forehead wrinkles visibly reduced by 37% and transepidermal Water Loss fell by 33%.
The Benefits of Skin Cycling
The growing popularity of this approach stems from its numerous benefits. This simplified skincare method enables your skin to rejuvenate itself while enjoying the advantages of essential skincare ingredients. Here's what you can expect:
Helps Repair Skin Barrier
Skin cycling helps protect your skin barrier, the outermost layer of skin. If you're overusing exfoliants and retinol, it can damage your skin barrier and your skin microbiome. A damaged skin barrier is more susceptible to dehydration, redness, irritation, and acne breakouts. With this approach, you're giving your skin short breaks in between the products so your skin can naturally heal and revive itself.
Only Requires Three Products
By focusing solely on three products for your nighttime skincare routine, this approach simplifies the process and creates a skincare regimen tailored to your skin's requirements. It is an excellent option for those new to incorporating retinol or exfoliants into their routine, making it beginner-friendly.
Keep in mind: You should still be using a cleanser, SPF and any products you want to include in your daytime routine.
Customizable to Meet Your Needs
This approach offers the flexibility to tailor your routine according to your individual needs. You can incorporate additional elements such as a gentle toner, vitamin C serum, or face oil if desired. While skin cycling simplifies your skincare routine, it's important to note that there's no absolute right or wrong way to approach it. You're on the right path as long as you have the essentials—cleanser, moisturizer, exfoliant, and retinoid—and incorporate necessary breaks.
Precautions to Consider - Skin Sensitivities
Everyone's skin is different. If you have sensitive skin, be mindful of how it responds to your chosen products. For example, be careful with chemical exfoliants if you have sensitive or dry skin. Skin cycling can help you take a more strategic approach to skincare, but retinoids and exfoliants can still be harsh on the skin. Before incorporating both products into your routine, look for warning signs like redness, itchiness, or irritation.
Test Out Skin Cycling With Augustinus Bader
Are you ready to embark on your skin cycling journey? Augustinus Bader provides everything you need to experience the skin cycle skincare routine firsthand. Our products boast clean, scientifically-backed ingredients inspired by over three decades of research. Even if you're not inclined to follow the trend, you can trust that Augustinus Bader products are effective yet gentle and suitable for daily use.