November 30, 2021

If You’re Not Skin Cycling, You’re Doing It Wrong

During the height of the coronavirus lockdown, dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin, had an epiphany: “I started using Peloton, but also began switching up my routine, cycling or rotating through different workouts such as pilates and yoga to optimize benefits and see changes,” she says. “I started talking about this process of cycling out different workouts and realized it was a natural response to my patients’ needs. My two worlds collided.”

Despite using exfoliants (scrubs and prescription-strength retinoids) up to twice a day, Dr. Bowe’s patients weren’t getting the results they desired.

“They were irritating their skin and not getting the benefits of powerful active ingredients,” says Dr. Bowe. “You can use a nourishing moisturizer twice a day, but when you try to push the workhorses (the acids, the retinoids) you can actually do more harm than good — including damaging the skin barrier, experiencing low-grade chronic inflammation, increasing free radical damage, accelerating the aging process and worsening hyperpigmentation. I started realizing, as we dove into patients’ actual routines, that we needed to build in recovery days to let the skin repair.”

Enter: Skin cycling. “People understood the concept of cycling for diet or exercise, so this made sense.”