Step up to skin cycling, a 'deliberate and strategic' approach to skincare

A new skincare trend advocates resting the skin in cycles from overuse of products for long-lasting, healthy results

author_img   |   Published :   |  27th November 2022 02:23 PM
For representational purposes

For representational purposes

As a content creator and student aspiring to be a dermatology physician assistant in the US, Shivani Doshi knows skincare trends well before most others. Her specialised knowledge also helps her sift through these trends to find the ones that are most effective. Skin cycling is a recent one she cannot stop singing the praises of.

“This rotating night-time skincare routine allows people to make their products work smarter. Specifically, it helps people reap the benefits of retinoids and exfoliators without irritating or damaging the skin,” says Doshi.

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She added, “I am usually not a fan of Instagram and TikTok skincare trends, but this one is different. It’s smart and it actually works. I have noticed that my skin looks a lot more hydrated, brighter and smoother these days, and I haven’t felt any stinging or burning after applying my retinol or an exfoliator. It’s great for anyone who is new to skincare, has sensitive skin, or has a damaged skin barrier,” she declares with conviction. The results can be seen in as quickly as two cycles and it gets better with time.

The concept of skin cycling, created by American Board-certified dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe, is described as ‘a deliberate and strategic approach to skincare, which involves cycling through your evening skincare routine to drive results while minimising irritation.

One follows a four-night cycle where one exfoliates on the first night, uses a retinoid on the second night, and leaves their skin free of products to allow it to recover on the third and fourth nights.

Says Bowe, “The idea is that by breaking up your actives: you give your skin a chance to reap their individual benefits while allowing time to recover and reset. Your muscles and mind need rest days, so it makes sense that your skin also benefits from recovery days.”

Those who swear by the methodology enjoy the benefits of retinoids and exfoliators, which are known to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, brown spots on the skin caused by sun exposure and old acne marks, while working to improve tone and texture—all this without experiencing the side-effects, which include peeling, irritation, redness, stinging, and others.

This is the reason Doshi fell in love with the procedure, extolling its benefits to her 63.4k followers on Instagram.

She says, “Of all the skincare trends out there, I hope this one stays. I believe that anyone who has never tried retinol or exfoliator should introduce these products into their skincare routine through the skin cycling method.”

Indian dermatologists also proclaim the concept as a sound one, unlike many other fads of the moment.

Dr Rohit Batra, Dermatologist and Dermatosurgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, believes this trend is for people with sensitive skin as the application of the active ingredients on the skin is followed with rest days that give the skin time to heal and repair.

He also appreciates the fact that the concept can be modified according to one’s personal needs and skin type. So those with acne-prone skin can drop a recovery night and those with sensitive skin can add an extra one.

Dr BL Jangid, an independent dermatologist, hair transplant surgeon and cosmetologist based in Delhi, refers to this method as Rotational Therapy, which is an age-old concept in medicine.

He explains, “Through this method, damaged skin can heal itself. If a layer of the skin is removed in a healthy way new skin can appear, and it will look better. In skin cycling, the first day is aimed at peeling your skin using peeling agents, which is followed by using retinoids to heal, and then applying only moisturiser for the next two-three days to improve skin cell turnover to look healthy and radiant.”

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However, Dr Jangid also believes that social media-driven skincare trends can wreak havoc on a person’s skin.

He points out that if one is not sure about their skin type or suffers from severe skin issues, it’s best to consult a dermatologist before embarking on any skincare regimen, including this one.

Doshi also sounds a warning, “Although I am a fan of skin cycling, I don’t think it is useful for those who have been using actives in their skincare routine for a long time. Once your skin builds a tolerance to these active ingredients, you need to increase the frequency of use in order to get the most out of your products.”

“The first day is aimed at peeling your skin, which is followed by using retinoids  and moisturiser.”  Dr BL Jangid, dermatologist, hair transplant surgeon and cosmetologist, Delhi

“This trend is for people with sensitive skin, as the application of active ingredients is followed with rest days to help the skin heal,” Dr Rohit Batra, dermatologist and dermatosurgeon, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi