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What is Skin Cycling, the minimalist side of the beauty routine

A mini-guide to visibly healthier skin

What is Skin Cycling, the minimalist side of the beauty routine  A mini-guide to visibly healthier skin

Although there is nothing wrong with being obsessed with skincare, haphazardly layering serums on top of creams every night can cause chronic inflammation of the skin, leading to increased sensitivity, rashes and even accelerating the aging process. "As a doctor, I have been treating thousands of patients for over a decade and I find that the biggest mistake people make when it comes to caring for their skin is neglecting the fact that overnight it is important to restore the skin barrier," says New York-based dermatologist Whitney Bowe. "People love the most powerful products, such as exfoliants and retinoids, and often believe that the more they put on the better. However, their skin often tells a different story when they come into my practice with irritation and inflammation."

That is why, to address this problem, Dr. Bowe has developed a strategic method called "skin cycling". "After listening to my patients and examining how their skin reacted to different routines, I saw the need to simplify their skincare habits to optimize skin health," she says. "The truth is that it only takes a few products, very targeted, to achieve amazing results". And since introducing the concept on TikTok and Instagram, 'skin cycling' has become a trending topic (it currently has over 15 million views and hashtags). But how does it work? Dr. Bowe says that if you want to improve skin balance, you have to balance 'active' and 'recovery' nights, which is the idea behind 'skin cycling' (yes, she actually coined the phrase). The program comprises four nights: exfoliation night, retinoid night, recovery night, encore recovery night, and repeats. According to the dermatologist, you get better results with this strategic method while minimizing irritation. 

@drwhitneybowe Skin cycling for beginners: how to get started. And how to layer with Bowe Glowe #skincycling #thatboweglow #dermatologist #skintok original sound - Dr. Whitney Bowe

The concept is reminiscent of other cycling routines that you are probably already familiar with. "For example, if you are trying to increase strength in a particular muscle group, for example, the leg muscles, you will never load those muscles every single day with heavy weights, which leads to injury, not strength," says Bowe. "You can focus on the upper body one day and the lower body the next, deliberately building time for those muscle fibers to repair and get stronger between sessions." The same applies to your skin. When you use exfoliating acids and retinoids on a daily basis, you are damaging the skin barrier.

Where should you start? The dermatologist suggests using the "active" products at the beginning of the week. The first night is exfoliation night, but Bowe recommends opting for chemical rather than physical exfoliants because a chemical exfoliating serum can give the skin an instant glow and set the stage for the next night. The second night is for retinoids, an essential step in anyone's routine. Retinol should be used in cycles because, if used too frequently or layered with other potentially irritating ingredients, it can end up inflaming the skin rather than giving the desired results. The third and fourth nights are 'recovery' nights. Exfoliating acids and retinoids should be discontinued to give the skin a chance to recover. On 'recovery' nights, focus on nourishing the skin's microbiome and repairing the barrier (which means, moisturize and more moisturize). 

In the morning, use a gentle cleanser, a vitamin C serum, a protective moisturizer and, of course, SPF. Also, promote working on your skin from the inside by drinking plenty of water and eating fruit and vegetables.

Are you ready? nss G-Club has selected for you the 10 must-have products to try the "skin cycling" method:

PAULA'S CHOICE Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant - Travel size

PAULA'S CHOICE Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant - Travel size

10€
SKINCEUTICALS  Retinol 0.3

SKINCEUTICALS Retinol 0.3

98€
DERMALOGICA Overnight Repair Serum

DERMALOGICA Overnight Repair Serum

75€
LPG ENDERMOLOGIE Expert Cleansing Balm

LPG ENDERMOLOGIE Expert Cleansing Balm

35€
KORFF Complete Night Renew Korff

KORFF Complete Night Renew Korff

89€
RILASTIL Intense C

RILASTIL Intense C

14,89€ + 31,92€
INNOAESTHETICS Inno-Exfo Redness Peel

INNOAESTHETICS Inno-Exfo Redness Peel

81,19€
FRESHLY COSMETICS Rose Quartz Facial Cleanser

FRESHLY COSMETICS Rose Quartz Facial Cleanser

19€
KIEHL'S Skin Rescuer

KIEHL'S Skin Rescuer

38€
BIODERMA Photoderm AR SPF 50

BIODERMA Photoderm AR SPF 50

9,79€