New is always King on social media and if there’s not enough newness to satisfy the beast’s cravings you can be pretty sure that a new name or term will be applied to a tried-and-tested technique to make it go viral. The term skin-cycling can be attributed to NY based dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe, but idea of rotating your skincare to allow for prep and rest days isn’t exactly ground-breaking, just common sense.
Before you start, make sure you have a decent but mild cleanser. Marine Elements is a new-to-the-UK brand, using ocean-derived ingredients and natural surfactants in its Gentle Face Cleanser (£17.99 amazon.co.uk). If you prefer a balm cleanser at night, check out Bedew. Their almond oil cleanser is rich in nourishing oils and amazing value at £8.99 a pot (bedewskin.co.uk). As ever, ensure skin is protected through daylight hours – especially important when using retinoids – by using a decent sunblock. We love Ultra Violette’s Queen Screen (£36 ultraviolette.co.uk) for its dewy, luminous finish and SPF50 protection factor.
Day One: PREP
To make sure your treatment has the optimal conditions in which to get to work, the first day is all about prep, which in this case means exfoliation. We prefer a liquid exfoliator with gentle acids to reduce claggy skin, dead cells and other debris, and improve overall brightness. You could try pads, like First Aid’s Beauty Facial Radiance (£16/28 lookfantastic.com) or something like Ren’s Ready Steady Glow Tonic, with its blend of lactic and azelaic acids plus willow bark extract. £28 renskincare.com.
NOTE: you should expect to feel a light, tingling sensation but if these or any of the products mentioned feel uncomfortable on your skin, wash them off straightaway.
Day Two: TREAT
This is the day to apply your retinoid; a vitamin-A derived chemical compound that is used to treat the skin. Benefits include blemish control, reducing inflammation and reducing the appearance of facial lines. They tick most boxes and because of this, the temptation is to pile it on but this can end up harming the skin as retinoids are powerful. Hence, the benefits of rotating usage. A little retinol-induced peeling can be inevitable and isn’t usually cause for concern. Start with small amounts in small dosages. Build up gradually, but we recommend that when you start, you keep it to once a week. RoC was the first skincare company to discover how to stabilise retinol for use in cosmetics and their Retinol Correxion® Wrinkle Correct night cream is a great place to start. Studies have shown it triggers zero irritation in testers, 94% of whom found their skin improved after use (£39.99 rocskincare.co.uk). Similarly, Kiehl’s (£72 kiehls.co.uk) Fast Release Night Serum has also performed incredibly well in testing, with 91% agreeing their skin looked more refined.
Days Three and Four: REPAIR AND RECOVER
Now to indulge. After cleansing, leave your skin slightly damp and apply a nourishing serum and/or moisturiser to restore skin while you rest, allowing it to replenish in line with its circadian rhythms. We have been incredibly impressed by the Moonlit Mask from Dreem Distillery (£55 dreemdistillery.co.uk). This indie brand uses organically grown broad spectrum CBD to enhance relaxation. Their mask also contains a veritable cocktail of skin treats and genuinely makes skin better overnight. For intense hydration, Pai Skincare have introduced new boosters to supercharge your existing routine with a concentrated dose of hyaluronic acid to quench perma-parched skin (£19 paiskincare.com). Finally, for reducing redness caused by acne, eczema, excessive inflammation or generally hormonal skin, a niacinamide-based cream will help to calm your complexion. Anything CeraVe make is worth buying, but in this instance, we recommend their PM Facial Moisturising Lotion, a lightweight, oil free night cream. £11.99 superdrug.com