Does skin cycling work? The TikTok trend dermatologists actually stand by

We’ve all been there. You splash the cash on an expensive skin care routine and at first, your skin is loving it.

But fast forward a couple of months, and the effects seem to have worn off – or worse, you end up with breakouts and redness.

Well, that’s where skin cycling comes in.

In simple terms, skin cycling is a four-night skin care routine – with each day having a different goal.

The aim is to give your skin recovery time in between treatments.

Rather than overburdening the skin with too many active ingredients, you’re allowing it to strengthen its natural barrier.

And, you’re giving each individual ingredient time to work on the skin.

Coined by Dr Whitney Bowe, the routine that went viral on TikTok followed a four evening cycle: exfoliation, retinoid, and two nights of hydration. You keep your morning routine the same, but switch it up in the evenings, always ensuring you moisturise to keep skin hydrated.

Its success has been put down to its effectiveness in managing blemishes, redness, and uneven skin tone – which is what we’re all after from a skincare routine.

And Charlotte Knight, founder of cruelty free and vegan skincare brand, Skin Proud, says this is a viral trend that actually works.

Charlotte says: ‘My favourite thing about skin cycling is that it acknowledges that your skin needs time to recover in between what can be powerful active ingredients, those recovery evenings are just as effective as the retinol or exfoliation evening in creating healthy looking skin.

‘Also, you can add in eye creams as you see fit – it is there as a guide and can be flexed to what works best for you.’

Day 1: Exfoliation

The first night aims to get rid of any dead skin, as well as prepping for the days ahead, allowing the skin to be able to absorb the ingredients to come.

Acne prone skin? Chemical exfoliators are best.

And as with every step in the cycle, make sure you use a moisturiser afterwards to hydrate – even if you have oily skin.

Charlotte suggests using Skin Proud’s Detox Tonic, which a formula which aims to improve skin tone and texture.

Day 2: Retinol

 We’ve probably all heard of retinol, even if we’re not actually sure what it is.

Derived from Vitamin A, retinols are used to to treat acne, and to help improve pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.

Put be warned: retinol can be a powerful product and it’s important to slowly build up the amount of product you use.

Charlotte says: ‘I would advise to always start on a lower concentration retinol if you are new to retinoid treatments and build up to a stronger one if you feel that your skin needs further enhancement.’

She suggests using Skin Proud’s gentle Recharge retinol. She says: ‘Recharge is a gentle retinol serum that promotes cell turnover to work towards soft skin – with no peeling or purging.’

Day 3 & 4: Recovery

These nights are all about letting your skin rest – all you have to do is stick to the basics: cleanse and moisturise.

This gives your skin a chance to overcome any irritation caused by the previous two nights.

Just use gentle products to keep the skin hydrated.

And that’s it.

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