skin cycling with bareness

Skin Cycling - Your Anti-Aging Ally

Skin cycling isn't anything new. It's existed for ages, and had its viral moment back in 2022. So why are we bringing it back in 2024?

Well here's the thing. Why re-invent the wheel when something works! I've been advising my patients to use skin cycling as their primary anti-aging routine and it leaves them with glowing, firm skin. Let's talk about why skin cycling is NOT just some fad or trend. It is here to stay, and here's why.

Skin cycling is basically rotating your stronger and more potent active ingredients in your routine to minimize damage to the skin barrier - which is the most common cause of skin irritation and inflammation.

As we hit our 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond, most of us have one goal in mind - preventing accelerated skin aging. We want to look good not just right now but for the years to come. We start to invest in good quality skincare - which often includes a slurry of active ingredients to combat the skin aging.



Morbid as it may sound, our skin cells are dying everyday. But when we are younger, it is being replaced by new skin cells at the same rate. This maintains our skin thickness and strength.

If we envision the skin as a product made in a factory, you can appreciate the long production line it has to go through for it to get to what you see in the mirror. One of the crucial parts of this production line are the fibroblasts because they help to make new skin cells. Just as machinery wears out in time, these fibroblasts become less active around your mid twenties and produce less new skin cells.

As such, when the existing skin cells die, the rate at which they are being replaced is much slower if the fibroblasts are not active. Over time, this causes your skin to thin out compared to what it was before. There is also less collagen synthesis, leading to saggy skin.



But too much of a good thing may bring more harm than good. When too many active ingredients are used in tandem, 2 things may occur. They counteract and render each other ineffective, or they damage the skin barrier and cause inflammation.

As such, it is crucial to develop an effective routine that can bring out the most benefits from each ingredient while giving your skin barrier the TLC it needs.

The standard skin cycling routine includes

1. An exfoliant night to remove dead skin cells. This is crucial to prevent things like milia (trapped dead skin cells that form cysts below the surface of your skin), minimizes blackheads and whiteheads (open and closed comedones) and reduces skin dullness.

2. A retinoid night to stimulate skin cell renewal and collagen synthesis. This improves skin firmness and minimizes the appearance of fine lines.



The scaffolding that holds the structure of our skin becomes weaker with time. The two main proteins in the skin - elastin and collagen are also produced by fibroblasts. As the fibroblasts are less active, they also produce less elastin and collagen!

Elastin is what gives your skin its bounce - when you stretch the skin and it goes back to its natural state, while collagen is what gives your skin its strength. When they become less prevalent, the skin loses its structure and becomes loose and saggy. 


3. 2 Recovery nights to allow your skin to heal. The first two components of the skin cycle are putting your skin through a work out. Imaging going for a HIIT workout seven days a week. That will be putting your body through the wringer! Your muscles will need time to recover and so does your skin barrier.

With every skin type, the skin cycle is fluid and can be adjusted to best suit you.

Depending on how well you are tolerating the routine, step up and down accordingly by adjusting the number of recovery nights as necessary. If you aren't sure how to get started, check out our Guide to Your Skin Cycle.



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