In fact, dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe has developed a method called “skin cycling” and made it a social media trend to the skin care routine we all use, sometimes instinctively, according to our skin type. She sells this method as a kit called the “Skin Cycling Program” on her website.
What is the Skin Cycling Method?
The primary aim of this method is to incorporate retinoids and exfoliation into our skincare regimen with a smooth transition, promoting efficiency and reducing the potential for skin barrier damage or irritation.
What is Skin Cycling / Skin Care Period? How Can We Create a Routine?
Throughout this dedicated 4-day period, the adjustments primarily concentrate on the evening routine, leaving the daytime routine unaffected. This allows flexibility for customizing your basic daytime steps in line with general skin care guidelines, such as gentle cleansing, incorporating an antioxidant product, and applying sunscreen. These adjustments can be tailored to align with your specific preferences and individual skincare requirements.
Day 1: Exfoliation To initiate the process, begin by exfoliating the skin to eliminate accumulated dead skin cells. This prepares the skin for enhanced absorption of active ingredients and following skincare products.
Day 2: Retinoids Following the exfoliation step, apply a retinoid to facilitate deeper penetration into the skin, maximizing its effectiveness.
Day 3: Barrier Repair and Protection To relieve potential dryness, irritation, burning, or itching resulting from exfoliation and retinoid usage, employ moisturizers and barrier-strengthening products. This aids in repairing and fortifying the skin’s protective barrier.
Day 4: Continuation of Barrier Repair and Protection On the fourth day, resume using barrier-repairing, protecting, and strengthening products to maintain the skin’s moisture levels and products with restorative properties.
Day 5: Repeat the Process On the fifth day, proceed the cycle, following the same sequence from the beginning, ensuring consistent exfoliation, retinoid application, and barrier repair and protection steps.
Is the Skin Cycling Method Useful?
The Skin Cycling Method serves as an excellent starting point for beginners in establishing a skincare routine. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that the effectiveness and suitability of products may vary from person to person. Not everyone may require frequent application of high-strength AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) exfoliants every four days.
As we progress through life, the skin’s natural renewal period undergoes changes. In younger years, the cycle typically spans 21-30 days. However, as we age, this timeframe can extend to 40-60 days, resulting in a dull complexion. Retinoids can accelerate cell turnover, leading to a buildup of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. While this process benefits the skin barrier, insufficient cleansing can lead to clogged pores, sebaceous gland issues, and the formation of milia.
To address these concerns, exfoliation becomes vital in brightening the skin and removing dead skin cells. However, daily use of harsh exfoliants is unnecessary. Instead, incorporating gentle exfoliants suitable for daily application, such as mandelic acid, PHA (polyhydroxy acids), lactic acid, or low concentrations of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), is recommended.
Things to Consider in the Skin Cycling Method
The skin cycling method appears to be a simple and straightforward skin care routine, but if misunderstood, it can lead to misapplications, causing further irritation and misunderstandings such as the following:
If a strong exfoliant is used every 4 days, this combination can cause skin irritation, especially if retinoids have just been started.
An exfoliant can be used without moisturizer after cleansing because it is called an exfoliant only on the first day. Although exfoliants have moisturizing properties, using them without moisturizer can irritate and dry the skin.
When starting retinoids, it is recommended to use them several times a week for the first 1-1.5 months. However, after the skin has become accustomed to retinoids, scientific research has shown that it is more effective to use them daily instead of every 4 days to maximize their effect.
Therefore, it seems to be a method that should be used with caution in terms of misunderstanding and application. Instead of following Dr. Whitney Bowe’s skin cycling method, it would be healthier to create your own personal routine based on your existing products and your skin’s tolerance.