The big buzz in skincare is Skin Cycling.
If you haven’t heard of it and are a skincare enthusiast like me, keep reading.
Skin Cycling is a term and system created by Dr. Whitney Bowe, an award-winning, board-certified dermatologist and scientist based in New York.
It’s a system that takes the guesswork out of when to apply active products, so you get the absolute most out of them, eliminate irritation and build healthy, youthful-looking skin.
Please note that this post is in no way sponsored.
What is Skin Cycling?
Maintaining healthy skin as we age is easier than ever, but with so many products at our fingertips, it’s also overwhelming.
We know what works: exfoliation, retinoids, hydration, and sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
For the most part, I spend on skincare products. This is because I have incredibly sensitive skin, and I can honestly say, since becoming diligent and investing in my routine a few years ago, my skin has never looked better.
Learning the correct way to layer products made a big difference.
But I still had one question: when should you apply certain products?
I knew I didn’t want to exfoliate every night, and retinoid is too strong for nightly use, at least for me. So like a lot of women, I was randomly alternating nights with no understanding of what worked.
That’s where Skin Cycling comes in to clear things up.
She created the concept of Skin Cycling to allow the active ingredients in your products to work better and give your skin barrier time to heal by purposefully staggering your usage out over four days.
Below, I’m sharing my favorite products and more affordable options when appropriate.
But use what you already have if you love it.
Dr. Bowe’s Four Night Skin Cycling Routine:
I’ve been doing this for a month now and see such a remarkable difference without changing my products.
You’ll start with a clean face every night, and I am a big proponent of double cleansing.
On your first night, you exfoliate.
Dr. Bowe recommends a leave-on chemical exfoliator instead of a physical exfoliant that you would rinse off because physical exfoliants can be too tough on the skin.
Currently, I’m using the new GOOPGLOW Exfoliating Dark Spot Sleep Serum.
I’m not too fond of the price, but I do like that it’s gentle on my sensitive skin. I’m trying it out because I LOVED their original exfoliant that was recently discontinued. So we’ll see if I keep going after I finish this bottle.
The Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant is a lower-price option. Many women use this in this process, with excellent results.
Let this sit for a moment, and you can layer on a little moisturizer before bed.
On night two, you’ll use your retinoid product.
On a clean, DRY face, you’ll apply your retinoid.
For prescription retinoids, you only want to use a pea size amount—one on your face, one on your neck, and two on your chest area. Rub any leftovers on the top of your hands.
I’m using an easy-to-buy, non-prescription retinol serum by Farmacy. It’s non-irritating and doesn’t dry out my skin.
I’ve also used the Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Anti-Aging Night Cream, which is super affordable and has many loyal users.
Add a little moisturizer on top after it settles before bed.
Nights three and four are my favorite, focused on recovery.
Dr. Bowe’s research shows that our skin benefits from using active ingredients and giving the skin barrier time to process and heal. And this is when I started to see the most significant difference.
On recovery nights, we focus on healing and hydrating.
After a double cleanse, you can use a hydrating sheet mask, then apply a hyaluronic serum on damp skin. I like this affordable one from La Rouche Posey.
Once that sets, I gently press in a small amount of Vintner’s Daughter.
This isn’t necessary, but I have used Vintner’s Daughter for years. It is my holy grail product, filled with nutrient-rich botanicals that nourish and moisturize. It’s changed my skin.
Then add in your favorite nighttime moisturizer.
I also ordered Dr. Bowe’s Bowe Glow Microbiome Nourishing Cream, and I only just received it this weekend. However, it gets many excellent reviews, so I’ll report back.
Finally, if you want to, you can “slug.”
Slugging is simply coating your face in an occlusive moisturizer, like Vaseline or any petrolatum-based formula, to “lock” in moisture. It sounds ridiculous, and you look like a glazed donut, but you wake up looking plump and glowy.
For this, I use CeraVe Healing Ointment. It’s inexpensive (you don’t have to spend here) and doesn’t clog my pores.
Then repeat the process; you’ll start to see your skin respond immediately.
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