August 30, 2023

_LEARN

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REFERENCE LAB

What is Skin Cycling? Understanding, Embracing, and Enhancing Your Skin's Natural Cycle
In the search for new skin care solutions, sorting out hot trends from authentic and effective techniques can be challenging. Every once in a while, however, those trends can point to fundamental skin principles, allowing you to better strategize your skin health routine and make the most from your products. Enter skin cycling.

_LEARN

/

REFERENCE LAB

August 30, 2023

What is Skin Cycling? Understanding, Embracing, and Enhancing Your Skin's Natural Cycle
In the search for new skin care solutions, sorting out hot trends from authentic and effective techniques can be challenging. Every once in a while, however, those trends can point to fundamental skin principles, allowing you to better strategize your skin health routine and make the most from your products. Enter skin cycling.
What is Skin Cycling?
If you’re familiar with social media skin care trends, then you’ve likely already heard about skin cycling. Coined during lockdown by New York-based dermatologist, Whitney Bowe, skin cycling revolves around adopting a cyclical method for your facial skin care regimen. Although the term "skin cycling" is relatively new, the underlying concept has been present for quite some time. Dermatologists have long been advocating for intermittent or alternating use of active ingredients.Similar to the way athletes alternate exercises and rest periods to yield better outcomes, skin cycling incorporates blocks of time where the skin rests from active skincare ingredients. Also known as skin fasting or detoxing, skin cycling provides much-needed rest times from physical or chemical exfoliants and anti-aging products that can take a toll on skin health if used too frequently. Rather than taxing your skin daily, skin cycling offers days of recovery in which your skin can rejuvenate naturally.
What is Skin Cycling?
If you’re familiar with social media skin care trends, then you’ve likely already heard about skin cycling. Coined during lockdown by New York-based dermatologist, Whitney Bowe, skin cycling revolves around adopting a cyclical method for your facial skin care regimen. Although the term "skin cycling" is relatively new, the underlying concept has been present for quite some time. Dermatologists have long been advocating for intermittent or alternating use of active ingredients.Similar to the way athletes alternate exercises and rest periods to yield better outcomes, skin cycling incorporates blocks of time where the skin rests from active skincare ingredients. Also known as skin fasting or detoxing, skin cycling provides much-needed rest times from physical or chemical exfoliants and anti-aging products that can take a toll on skin health if used too frequently. Rather than taxing your skin daily, skin cycling offers days of recovery in which your skin can rejuvenate naturally.
How Does Skin Cycling Work?
In order to learn how to skin cycle, it’s important to understand how it works. As stated prior, skin cycling involves a process that alternates between harsh ingredients and rest periods so your skin can adequately recover. The cycle typically spans four nights and involves alternating the use of a physical or a chemical exfoliant, a retinol-based product, and a hydrating cream or concentrate.
The theory behind this approach is that you can optimize skin regeneration and enhance skin quality by utilizing specific products on different days. Skin cycling is usually broken down into three to four nights: exfoliation, retinoid, and recovery, and repeating the process as needed. 1

Night 1: Exfoliation

The first night of skin cycling includes either chemical or mechanical methods of exfoliation. On this night, the focus is on removing dead skin cells and debris, while promoting the regenerating and resurfacing of younger skin cells. Gentle exfoliation clears the way for active ingredients to impact skin with maximum efficiency.

Night 2: Retinoid

The second night of skin cycling is typically reserved for the use of a retinoid or retinoid-like product like bakuchiol or azelaic acid. This is the night to use – upon your preference – any powerful serums or topicals that improve elasticity and combat aging but can have harsh side effects.

Night 3 and 4: Recovery (Resting)

The last one or two nights (depending on your skin’s needs) call for rest. On these nights, you’ll want to avoid any strong, active ingredients or exfoliating methods. The goal of a recovery night (or nights) is to allow the skin barrier to recover from the active ingredient that may have disrupted its natural balance, hopefully mitigating any negative side effects that you might experience with more frequent use. Using a peptide face moisturizer or peptide eye cream that contains nourishing ingredients proven to improve skin’s barrier, such as OS-01 FACE and OS-01 EYE, are ideal for these nights. You may also consider layering on heavier creams for a boost in moisturization and hydration.
How Does Skin Cycling Work?
In order to learn how to skin cycle, it’s important to understand how it works. As stated prior, skin cycling involves a process that alternates between harsh ingredients and rest periods so your skin can adequately recover. The cycle typically spans four nights and involves alternating the use of a physical or a chemical exfoliant, a retinol-based product, and a hydrating cream or concentrate.
The theory behind this approach is that you can optimize skin regeneration and enhance skin quality by utilizing specific products on different days. Skin cycling is usually broken down into three to four nights: exfoliation, retinoid, and recovery, and repeating the process as needed. 1

Night 1: Exfoliation

The first night of skin cycling includes either chemical or mechanical methods of exfoliation. On this night, the focus is on removing dead skin cells and debris, while promoting the regenerating and resurfacing of younger skin cells. Gentle exfoliation clears the way for active ingredients to impact skin with maximum efficiency.

Night 2: Retinoid

The second night of skin cycling is typically reserved for the use of a retinoid or retinoid-like product like bakuchiol or azelaic acid. This is the night to use – upon your preference – any powerful serums or topicals that improve elasticity and combat aging but can have harsh side effects.

Night 3 and 4: Recovery (Resting)

The last one or two nights (depending on your skin’s needs) call for rest. On these nights, you’ll want to avoid any strong, active ingredients or exfoliating methods. The goal of a recovery night (or nights) is to allow the skin barrier to recover from the active ingredient that may have disrupted its natural balance, hopefully mitigating any negative side effects that you might experience with more frequent use. Using a peptide face moisturizer or peptide eye cream that contains nourishing ingredients proven to improve skin’s barrier, such as OS-01 FACE and OS-01 EYE, are ideal for these nights. You may also consider layering on heavier creams for a boost in moisturization and hydration.
Benefits of Skin Cycling
Skin cycling takes the “less is more approach”, limiting the time that skin is exposed to effective yet harsh actives so that skin can reap their benefits and minimize irritation. Let's explore some of these benefits in more detail.
  • Enhanced Skin Barrier Function: Over time, excessive use of skin care products, especially those that commonly impose harsh reactions such as retinol, can disrupt your skin’s natural balance. Skin cycling allows your skin to reset and restore its natural
  • barrier function. Giving your skin a break from harsh active ingredients allows the skin to heal independently. In addition, a reprieve from treatments enables the skin to retain moisture and shield itself from environmental stressors, ultimately keeping the skin's delicate balance intact.
  • Reduced Skin Sensitivity: If you have sensitive or reactive skin, skin cycling can be particularly beneficial. By decreasing the frequency of exposure to potentially irritating ingredients, you can minimize the risk of prolonged adverse reactions.
  • Improved Product Efficacy: Using the same skin care products for an extended period can lead to diminished results over time. By incorporating skin cycling into your routine, you allow your skin to reset its receptivity to active ingredients. Reintroducing products after a break can be more effective in addressing specific skin concerns, like acne,
  • hyperpigmentation
    , or fine lines.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Skin cycling can be a cost-effective approach to skin care. By reducing the number of products you use or the frequency in which you use them, you can prolong the lifespan of your
  • topical skin care products
    . This approach allows you to make the most of your existing products before investing in new ones, saving you money in the long run.
  • Promotes Mindful Skincare: Skin cycling encourages a more mindful approach to skin care. It prompts you to pay closer attention to your skin's needs and become more attuned to its responses. By observing how your skin reacts during the cycling periods and adjusting your routine accordingly, you develop a deeper understanding of what works best for your skin.
  • Simplifies Skin Care Routine: In a world where 20-step skin care routines are considered normal, skin cycling offers a way to simplify your regimen on a nightly basis. By taking a break from certain products throughout the cycle, you ultimately decrease the number of products used per night, streamlining your nightly routine. This simplicity can be particularly beneficial for individuals with busy lifestyles or those who prefer a minimalist approach to skin care.
  • Skin cycling can also be adapted over time as your skin changes. By changing the cycle length, the time between cycles, and the products used throughout your skin cycle, you can work smarter, not harder for optimal benefit from your products.
    Benefits of Skin Cycling
    Skin cycling takes the “less is more approach”, limiting the time that skin is exposed to effective yet harsh actives so that skin can reap their benefits and minimize irritation. Let's explore some of these benefits in more detail.
  • Enhanced Skin Barrier Function: Over time, excessive use of skin care products, especially those that commonly impose harsh reactions such as retinol, can disrupt your skin’s natural balance. Skin cycling allows your skin to reset and restore its natural
  • barrier function. Giving your skin a break from harsh active ingredients allows the skin to heal independently. In addition, a reprieve from treatments enables the skin to retain moisture and shield itself from environmental stressors, ultimately keeping the skin's delicate balance intact.
  • Reduced Skin Sensitivity: If you have sensitive or reactive skin, skin cycling can be particularly beneficial. By decreasing the frequency of exposure to potentially irritating ingredients, you can minimize the risk of prolonged adverse reactions.
  • Improved Product Efficacy: Using the same skin care products for an extended period can lead to diminished results over time. By incorporating skin cycling into your routine, you allow your skin to reset its receptivity to active ingredients. Reintroducing products after a break can be more effective in addressing specific skin concerns, like acne,
  • hyperpigmentation
    , or fine lines.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Skin cycling can be a cost-effective approach to skin care. By reducing the number of products you use or the frequency in which you use them, you can prolong the lifespan of your
  • topical skin care products
    . This approach allows you to make the most of your existing products before investing in new ones, saving you money in the long run.
  • Promotes Mindful Skincare: Skin cycling encourages a more mindful approach to skin care. It prompts you to pay closer attention to your skin's needs and become more attuned to its responses. By observing how your skin reacts during the cycling periods and adjusting your routine accordingly, you develop a deeper understanding of what works best for your skin.
  • Simplifies Skin Care Routine: In a world where 20-step skin care routines are considered normal, skin cycling offers a way to simplify your regimen on a nightly basis. By taking a break from certain products throughout the cycle, you ultimately decrease the number of products used per night, streamlining your nightly routine. This simplicity can be particularly beneficial for individuals with busy lifestyles or those who prefer a minimalist approach to skin care.
  • Skin cycling can also be adapted over time as your skin changes. By changing the cycle length, the time between cycles, and the products used throughout your skin cycle, you can work smarter, not harder for optimal benefit from your products.
    Is Skin Cycling Beneficial for All Skin Types?
    While some individuals may find significant improvements in their skin's health and appearance through skin cycling, others may not experience the same level of positive effects. Here's a closer look at how skin cycling can impact different skin types.

    Normal Skin

    For normal skin types, cycling helps keep skin’s natural balance in check by preventing potential shock that could arise due to sudden and excessive product use. Skin cycling can help those with normal skin maintain their healthy balance while still reaping benefits from powerful ingredients.

    Oily/Acne-Prone Skin

    When it comes to acne-prone skin, the break from heavy or pore-clogging products can help reduce excess sebum production and unclog pores, potentially decreasing acne breakouts. Additionally, a break from harsh ingredients that can degrade the skin’s barrier and exacerbate acne may also be helpful in managing acne-prone skin. However, it's important to note that if you're managing acne with dermatologist-recommended treatments or medications, you should follow your doctor’s recommendations in the frequency of use. If you’re under the care of a dermatologist and would like to give skin cycling a try, be sure to bring this up in your next appointment so you can discuss whether skin cycling is right for you and strategize an effective and safe skin cycling routine.

    Dry/Sensitive Skin

    As with most new skin care practices, skin cycling may require more caution for individuals with dry or sensitive skin. While taking breaks from potentially irritating products can help reduce sensitivity and allow the skin to restore its natural balance, it's also crucial to ensure that the skin remains adequately moisturized during all phases of the cycle, especially on the night where retinoids are used. For those who have never tested retinol or exfoliation before, skin cycling could induce irritation. Incorporating gentle products and moisturizers on all nights of the cycle may help minimize potential dryness or discomfort. 2Additionally, extending the cycle time by adding in additional rest days may give
    sensitive skin or dry skin the time it requires to recover. As always, if you have concerns about trying skin cycling, consult with a trusted health professional.

    Combination Skin

    Combination skin typically presents with an oily T-zone and dry cheeks. Those with combination skin may benefit from skin cycling because the products introduced at different times of the cycle will benefit different areas of the skin. It may also be helpful to adapt the cycle to each area of skin, treating each area with an individual regimen or cycle according to its specific skin needs. For instance, on rest days, you can focus on oil control in the T-zone while providing additional hydration to drier areas. By adjusting your skin care routine during cycling periods, you can address the unique concerns of each zone more effectively.

    Inflammatory Skin Conditions

    Individuals with inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea should exercise caution with skin cycling. Disrupting their regular skin care routine may exacerbate their condition or trigger flare-ups. It's crucial to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional to determine if skin cycling is appropriate and how to modify the routine to accommodate individual needs.No matter your skin type, if you have never performed exfoliation or used retinol before, it’s best to consult a dermatologist or skin health professional to determine if skin cycling is right for you. In general, you should introduce light exfoliation and low concentrations of retinol to begin, then increase if desired and your skin tolerates the products well. Additionally, you should patch-test any new product before introducing it into your regular routine.
    Is Skin Cycling Beneficial for All Skin Types?
    While some individuals may find significant improvements in their skin's health and appearance through skin cycling, others may not experience the same level of positive effects. Here's a closer look at how skin cycling can impact different skin types.

    Normal Skin

    For normal skin types, cycling helps keep skin’s natural balance in check by preventing potential shock that could arise due to sudden and excessive product use. Skin cycling can help those with normal skin maintain their healthy balance while still reaping benefits from powerful ingredients.

    Oily/Acne-Prone Skin

    When it comes to acne-prone skin, the break from heavy or pore-clogging products can help reduce excess sebum production and unclog pores, potentially decreasing acne breakouts. Additionally, a break from harsh ingredients that can degrade the skin’s barrier and exacerbate acne may also be helpful in managing acne-prone skin. However, it's important to note that if you're managing acne with dermatologist-recommended treatments or medications, you should follow your doctor’s recommendations in the frequency of use. If you’re under the care of a dermatologist and would like to give skin cycling a try, be sure to bring this up in your next appointment so you can discuss whether skin cycling is right for you and strategize an effective and safe skin cycling routine.

    Dry/Sensitive Skin

    As with most new skin care practices, skin cycling may require more caution for individuals with dry or sensitive skin. While taking breaks from potentially irritating products can help reduce sensitivity and allow the skin to restore its natural balance, it's also crucial to ensure that the skin remains adequately moisturized during all phases of the cycle, especially on the night where retinoids are used. For those who have never tested retinol or exfoliation before, skin cycling could induce irritation. Incorporating gentle products and moisturizers on all nights of the cycle may help minimize potential dryness or discomfort. 2Additionally, extending the cycle time by adding in additional rest days may give
    sensitive skin or dry skin the time it requires to recover. As always, if you have concerns about trying skin cycling, consult with a trusted health professional.

    Combination Skin

    Combination skin typically presents with an oily T-zone and dry cheeks. Those with combination skin may benefit from skin cycling because the products introduced at different times of the cycle will benefit different areas of the skin. It may also be helpful to adapt the cycle to each area of skin, treating each area with an individual regimen or cycle according to its specific skin needs. For instance, on rest days, you can focus on oil control in the T-zone while providing additional hydration to drier areas. By adjusting your skin care routine during cycling periods, you can address the unique concerns of each zone more effectively.

    Inflammatory Skin Conditions

    Individuals with inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea should exercise caution with skin cycling. Disrupting their regular skin care routine may exacerbate their condition or trigger flare-ups. It's crucial to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional to determine if skin cycling is appropriate and how to modify the routine to accommodate individual needs.No matter your skin type, if you have never performed exfoliation or used retinol before, it’s best to consult a dermatologist or skin health professional to determine if skin cycling is right for you. In general, you should introduce light exfoliation and low concentrations of retinol to begin, then increase if desired and your skin tolerates the products well. Additionally, you should patch-test any new product before introducing it into your regular routine.
    Does Skin Cycling Work?
    Skin cycling can be an effective technique for many individuals, but its impact can vary depending on various factors, such as skin type, skin goals and concerns, and lifestyle factors. While many people may experience improved skin barrier function, reduced sensitivity, and enhanced product efficacy through skin cycling, others with more sensitive or reactive skin may notice negative changes, especially if they have never introduced exfoliation or retinol into their routine before. Moreover, people who dislike deviations from their usual skincare routines may find skin cycling difficult.
    That said, does skin cycling work? Anecdotal evidence says it does. While no studies can currently prove or disprove the efficacy of skin cycling, research states that taking breaks from certain aspects of a skin care routine can prove beneficial. For example, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends taking breaks from exfoliation, rather than exfoliating daily for long periods. 3
    Does Skin Cycling Work?
    Skin cycling can be an effective technique for many individuals, but its impact can vary depending on various factors, such as skin type, skin goals and concerns, and lifestyle factors. While many people may experience improved skin barrier function, reduced sensitivity, and enhanced product efficacy through skin cycling, others with more sensitive or reactive skin may notice negative changes, especially if they have never introduced exfoliation or retinol into their routine before. Moreover, people who dislike deviations from their usual skincare routines may find skin cycling difficult.
    That said, does skin cycling work? Anecdotal evidence says it does. While no studies can currently prove or disprove the efficacy of skin cycling, research states that taking breaks from certain aspects of a skin care routine can prove beneficial. For example, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends taking breaks from exfoliation, rather than exfoliating daily for long periods. 3
    How Quickly Does Skin Cycling Work?
    The timeframe for seeing results from skin cycling can vary from person to person. The effectiveness and speed at which skin cycling works depend on several factors, including individual skin type, concerns, and the specific skin care products being used.In general, it's important to be patient when practicing skin cycling, as it typically takes time for the skin to respond and show noticeable improvements. Some individuals may start to see positive changes within a few weeks of starting skin cycling, while others may take longer.The duration and frequency of skin cycling periods also play a role. Some individuals may choose to practice skin cycling for a week or two, while others may extend it for several months. Others may find that skin cycling every four days indefinitely works best for their skin. Skin cycling aims to reach a point where the benefits of your skincare products outweigh the negative side effects. For every person, this sweet spot may differ. The recovery time that comes with skin cycling allows the skin to recalibrate itself, and can be adjusted depending on individual needs. Additionally, most skincare formulations are developed with daily use in mind. Skin cycling could help acclimate the skin until it can tolerate products to be used as directed by the maker. Whether you’re practicing skin cycling or not, maintaining a regular skin care regimen that includes gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection is strongly encouraged to extend the health of your skin.
    How Quickly Does Skin Cycling Work?
    The timeframe for seeing results from skin cycling can vary from person to person. The effectiveness and speed at which skin cycling works depend on several factors, including individual skin type, concerns, and the specific skin care products being used.In general, it's important to be patient when practicing skin cycling, as it typically takes time for the skin to respond and show noticeable improvements. Some individuals may start to see positive changes within a few weeks of starting skin cycling, while others may take longer.The duration and frequency of skin cycling periods also play a role. Some individuals may choose to practice skin cycling for a week or two, while others may extend it for several months. Others may find that skin cycling every four days indefinitely works best for their skin. Skin cycling aims to reach a point where the benefits of your skincare products outweigh the negative side effects. For every person, this sweet spot may differ. The recovery time that comes with skin cycling allows the skin to recalibrate itself, and can be adjusted depending on individual needs. Additionally, most skincare formulations are developed with daily use in mind. Skin cycling could help acclimate the skin until it can tolerate products to be used as directed by the maker. Whether you’re practicing skin cycling or not, maintaining a regular skin care regimen that includes gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection is strongly encouraged to extend the health of your skin.
    Skin Cycling with OneSkin Products
    Wondering how to incorporate OneSkin’s products into your skin cycling routine? Cleansing your skin with a gentle cleanser should be a core part of your daily skin care routine regardless of whether you’re skin cycling. PREP can be used daily on skin cycling days, or on other days, and is safe to use with exfoliation and retinoid products. OS-01 EYE, our peptide eye cream, and OS-01 FACE, our peptide face moisturizer, are perfect for every day of the skin cycle, but especially for recovery days, as they have been shown to improve collagen levels in skin* and increase skin hydration**. On retinol days of skin cycling, OS-01 FACE and OS-01 EYE can be used as well to help counteract harsh side effects of retinol.Additionally, if you’re sensitive to retinol, OS-01 FACE is a great alternative, as it provides many of the same benefits without the drawbacks. Learn more about how OS-01 FACE compares to retinol, here. *Shown in lab studies on human skin samples **Shown in 12 week clinical studies performed by third party research organizations
    Skin Cycling with OneSkin Products
    Wondering how to incorporate OneSkin’s products into your skin cycling routine? Cleansing your skin with a gentle cleanser should be a core part of your daily skin care routine regardless of whether you’re skin cycling. PREP can be used daily on skin cycling days, or on other days, and is safe to use with exfoliation and retinoid products. OS-01 EYE, our peptide eye cream, and OS-01 FACE, our peptide face moisturizer, are perfect for every day of the skin cycle, but especially for recovery days, as they have been shown to improve collagen levels in skin* and increase skin hydration**. On retinol days of skin cycling, OS-01 FACE and OS-01 EYE can be used as well to help counteract harsh side effects of retinol.Additionally, if you’re sensitive to retinol, OS-01 FACE is a great alternative, as it provides many of the same benefits without the drawbacks. Learn more about how OS-01 FACE compares to retinol, here. *Shown in lab studies on human skin samples **Shown in 12 week clinical studies performed by third party research organizations
    Key Takeaways
    • Skin cycling, also referred to as skin fasting or skin detoxing, is a skin care process that spans three to four nights. Each night is dedicated to one of three activities: exfoliation, retinoid use, and recovery.
    • Most skin types can benefit from skin cycling.
    • The benefits from skin cycling can vary from person to person. The effectiveness and speed of skin cycling are influenced by several factors, such as individual skin type, concerns, lifestyle factors, and the specific skin care products used within the cycle.
    • OneSkin's proprietary peptide (OS-01) has been shown to improve skin’s barrier function, epidermal thickness, and collagen biosynthesis, making it an ideal product to incorporate into a skin cycling routine.
    Key Takeaways
    • Skin cycling, also referred to as skin fasting or skin detoxing, is a skin care process that spans three to four nights. Each night is dedicated to one of three activities: exfoliation, retinoid use, and recovery.
    • Most skin types can benefit from skin cycling.
    • The benefits from skin cycling can vary from person to person. The effectiveness and speed of skin cycling are influenced by several factors, such as individual skin type, concerns, lifestyle factors, and the specific skin care products used within the cycle.
    • OneSkin's proprietary peptide (OS-01) has been shown to improve skin’s barrier function, epidermal thickness, and collagen biosynthesis, making it an ideal product to incorporate into a skin cycling routine.

    Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

    Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

    Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

    Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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