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Skin Cycling 101

Skin Cycling 101

If you ever spend time on social media, then you'll definitely have heard about skin cycling, or skin fasting. During the pandemic, this three-step regime rose to popularity as many of us had more time to spend on pursuing our 'perfect' skin. Read on to find out the what and why of skin cycling and how you can build it into your beauty therapy menu.

What is Skin Cycling?

Skin cycling is a skincare regime that builds in active days that feature ingredients that work to slough off dead skin cells, followed by a rest day where your skin gets to heal and hydrate. Think of it as like starting a new workout or gym routine; you wouldn't go every day because your body needs to rest. Skin cycling works on the same premise, starting with a day of exfoliation, a day of Retinol—a well-known active—and a day or two of rest, depending on your skin type. Then you start all over again. Here's why:

First, Exfoliate

Exfoliation is the first step in enabling products to penetrate the skin because it removes any dead skin cells that directly impact the look and feel of the skin. In the salon, this could mean a liquid peel, like the Skinician Advanced Pro-Radiance Enzyme Peel —it does double duty combining exfoliating enzymes with AHAs to really work on dry and dehydrated skin. You can also advise clients on a gentle solution they can use at home. This could be a BHA liquid that they pat into the skin before hydrating their skin in the evening, or they could use a face wash with Salicylic Acid in the mornings, which is a great option for those with more sensitive skin.

One caveat with exfoliating—it's easily overdone. Overuse of exfoliating ingredients can leave skin feeling sensitive and dry, and worst case, it can even compromise the delicate skin barrier. Once this happens, it's important to stop any use of active ingredients and focus on hydration. When it comes to your clients, it's important to note any changes in their at-home skincare routine so that whatever treatment you're applying doesn't affect their skin in a negative way. And vice versa; check in with your clients and tell them what they should focus on in the coming weeks post-treatment, so that they can make the most of the treatment they've received from you.

Next, Activate

Once the skin has been exfoliated on night one, the next night is the opportunity to take advantage of that smoother surface, with a Retinoid. Retinoids are derivatives of Vitamin A, known to accelerate cell turnover and help to reduce the look of wrinkles, fine lines, and pores. The most popular Retinoid is undoubtedly Retinol, but Tretinoin is also becoming popular, although it works faster than Retinol and as such can cause some skin irritation. The key is to find the right ingredient and formula for your client—Retinoids come in the form of serums and moisturizers and should only be applied as part of an evening skincare routine. SPF the following morning—every morning—is a must to ensure the skin doesn't become oversensitive, red, and irritated. The +serumology Retinol Overnight Serum, is a powerful anti-ageing treatment that uses hydrating Sea Kelp and organic Pine Oil to promote Collagen production, a natural occurring protein that keeps skin looking plump and glowing.

Now, Rest

After two active nights, it's time to give the skin time to restore and rejuvenate itself with ingredients that hydrate. Focus on creating a 'moisture sandwich' with mists, serums, and creams that contain Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamins C and E and always start with damp skin. This way the skin has the best chance of reaping all the hydration benefits. Monuskin Hydrating Moisturizer SPF15 is the perfect complement to a skin cycling regime, as not only does it keep skin hydrated with Blackcurrant Seed Oil, it also features SPF which is a vital skin protector for anyone who wants to see the benefits of skin cycling.

Marina Hodgins of Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty in Gloucester gives her top tips to teaching your clients about skin cycling and recommending treatments that work alongside the regime.

  • Start Slowly: If your client is new to either exfoliation or Retinol, it's important to start with lower concentrations and assess their skin's reaction. Once you know there is no irritation, you can gradually increase frequency or concentration.
  • Patch Test: A patch test is always recommended when you're ready to try something new on your clients to ensure there's no adverse reaction.
  • SPF: Don't forget, daily application of SPF is vital when using Retinol, as it is known to increase the skin's sensitivity to UV rays.
  • Complementary: Customized facials will complement your clients' skin cycling regime as you can offer a bespoke treatment.

Consider incorporating gentle exfoliation, a hydrating mask, or massage techniques to enhance relaxation and results.

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