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I Tried Skin Cycling for One Month and Here’s How it Went

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Rollins chapter.

Recently, skin cycling has taken the internet by storm. I know my For You Page was full of tutorials and product recommendations. Leading the skin cycling movement is Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist with her own line of skin cycling products. She has explained that this regimen is meant to repair your skin’s moisture barrier with a really streamlined process. Overusing products, or using too many, can be doing our skin more harm than good. I wondered if what I was hearing was too good to be true and decided I had to find out for myself.

Skin cycling generally follows a four-day routine: Exfoliate, Retinol, Recovery, Recovery, but it totally can be tailored to best fit you and your skin. You can even add another recovery day or subtract one if you think your skin is up for it. 

Here’s my routine each night:

Night 1- Exfoliate

Wash face with Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

  • I use the Sensitive Skin Formula. I have been using the product long before I began my skin cycling journey and I am able to use it daily with no issues, but if you’re just beginning, you may want to work your way up slowly as it does contain benzoyl peroxide which can be quite drying. 

Apply Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

  • This is a leave-on product. I use a cotton pad to apply it. Chemical exfoliants are said to be more effective and are less harsh on the skin than scrubs.

Apply The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

  • This is my favorite moisturizer ever! I have eczema prone skin and this moisturizer is super helpful in battling that. It is so lightweight, has a very light scent, and doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily. 

Night 2- Retinol

Wash face with Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

Apply Provence Beauty Hyaluronic Acid + Retinol Face Serum & Eye Cream

  • Prior to this, I actually first apply a thin layer of moisturizer because the first time I used the retinol it made my skin feel a little tingly. Then I apply the eye cream around my eyes, obviously, and then use a few drops of the serum on my face and neck. 

Apply The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

  • I’m more liberal on the second application.

Nights 3 & 4- Recovery

Wash face with Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

Apply The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

  • In the mornings, after washing my face, I apply my moisturizer as well the innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen. Sunscreen is super important as most of the products in the skin cycling regimen will make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure, but a daily sunscreen should be a part of your skincare routine regardless, skin cycling or not. Dr. Bowe recommends using a Vitamin C serum in the morning as well, but I tried one I received as a sample in a Sephora order and I could not get over the smell. It felt like there was an orange in my brain.

I have religiously followed this routine for the past month and actually got excited every Night 1 and 2 because I loved being able to use the different products. I don’t think my skin has ever felt this soft in my life. Even after my first night of using the exfoliant, I was surprised by how soft my skin felt. I’ve noticed my skin is overall more clear, though I do still experience the occasional breakout, especially around my period. 

I definitely will be continuing with skin cycling. Not only has it been good for my skin, but doing my skin care each night has been super calming and is one of my favorite self care practices.

Samantha Cavallo is in her third year as a writer for Her Campus. She enjoys writing about anything and everything, though her pieces often focus on celebrities and pop culture or mental health and wellbeing. Sam is currently a junior at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, and she is from Langhorne, Pennsylvania. After earning her Bachelor's degree, she plans to pursue a PhD in School Psychology. Beyond Her Campus, she is involved in many organizations on campus that focus on supporting the campus community, such as the Wellness Ambassadors, where she works in Health Promotions to promote the Nine Dimensions of Wellness, and the Student Support Foundation, operating the campus food pantry and providing emergency grants to students, faculty, and staff in need. In her free time, Sam enjoys reading, going to Barre class, finding new things to do in and around the Orlando area, especially if there is rumored to be good food, and Facetiming her dog Dexter. She is a major fan of both Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers (she even got it tattooed to prove it) and loves going to concerts, and of course dressing up for them.