Skin Cycling

The new concept that might be the answer to your clients’ best skin ever


It was a typical mid-week morning. I woke up, grabbed my coffee, sat down at my desk, turned on my computer to catch up on emails, and there it was! A podcast alert from one of my favorites telling me I should listen in because he was serving up all the tea with a special guest, renowned New York dermatologist, Dr. Whitney Bowe, on something I never heard before. Skin cycling, the latest skin care trend worth trying!

As a licensed aesthetician of 34 years, nothing makes me more excited than learning something new about skin care, so I immediately dropped what I was doing and tuned into the podcast. It was fascinating. After the podcast I went into a deep dive of more research and decided to deploy everything I learned and try it out myself that night! I have to say, in only eight days’ time, I’m already a fan!

Introducing active ingredients plus recovery time over a four-day span allows the client to ease into the new regime with possibly less reactions.

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So, what is skin cycling? In a nutshell, it is a nighttime regime that involves using deliberate skin care ingredients like retinols, glycolic acids, and hydroxy acids on specific evenings during the week to ultimately produce the best glowing results without over exfoliating the skin, which could, in time, break down the skin’s naturally protective moisture barrier, resulting in inflammation, irritations, and sensitivity. The skin cycling approach takes place over a four-night span, and on the fifth night it repeats itself.

The first night is all about chemical exfoliation. Enter products that include ingredients like lactic acids, BHAs and AHAs. Using products like this on the first night is twofold. Not only does one see immediate results with skin that has a pretty glow, but these types of ingredients also serve as a prep for night number two.

On the second night, retinols or plant-based retinol alternatives like Bakuchiol, make their debut. There is no doubt these are the superstars of any preventative skin care regime, helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen. Retinols also help fade hyperpigmentation with cell turnover, as well as greatly helping with skin texture issues. As the saying goes, too much of a good thing can, in fact, be too much. After only three days of continuous use, Retinols can spin complexions into a tizzy, seemingly creating more complications than what was there to start.

Any new aesthetician has most likely had experience with overzealous use of retinols at one time or another. This also made sense to me coming from the client’s perspective of how moderating the weekly use of newly purchased retinol-based products could actually be more helpful in ensuring they would stick with the prescribed skin care system that was recommended to them in the treatment room, without too many side effects and ultimately abandoning it all together.

On nights three and four, recovery takes center stage, giving the skin time to rest and reset. Recovery nights are all about skin nourishment. Think moisturizers and serums with beautiful ingredient decks that include ceramides, hyaluronic acids, peptides, glycerin, and squalene that deeply nourish and comfort the skin.

Two days without any exfoliation or retinols truly allows the skin to benefit from the use of these ingredients, instead of stacking or layering it all together nightly. The skin has time to adjust, and results can be seen in as little as two weeks.

Bringing skin cycling into the treatment room could be very beneficial to your clients. Introducing active ingredients plus recovery time over a four-day span allows the client to ease into the new regime with possibly less reactions. When your clients can see the products you suggested they purchase are actually working, it builds trust, which means more visits to you. We all know clients with beautiful skin are walking billboards for referrals! Now that’s a new beauty trend I can get behind.



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