Coined by New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, skin cycling is the practice of rotating the active ingredients you use in your nighttime skincare routine. The idea behind it is that by using actives like retinol or acid less frequently, our skin has a chance to rest, and we can dedicate part of our weekly routine to protecting our skin barrier.
If you’ve ever used retinol, you might remember how when you first started it, the advice was to use over moisturiser and then work up to using it directly on skin and then more frequently. The same philosophy applies here – to give skin a chance to get used to harsher or more intense products so we don’t break out or react negatively. This is particularly important if you have sensitive skin!
The skin cycling products you’ll need are:
An acid exfoliator: AHAs (e.g., Glycolic acid) and BHAs (e.g., Salicylic acid)
A retinol product
What the routine might look like:
If sensitive skin is a recurring challenge for your skincare routine, we recommend bakuchiol. A natural alternative to retinol, it’s much gentler and can be used in tandem with any of your other products (including acids), when pregnant, during the day, and on sensitive skin.