Making sure your skin barrier is healthy and intact is especially important during wintertime, when your skin’s natural protective shield is especially vulnerable. This is because your skin barrier has to work even harder to hold onto moisture when facing cold, dry outdoor air, and hot, dry indoor air from heaters. On top of that, the holidays can also bring joy and stress, the latter of which can put extra strain on your skin.
Reminder: your skin barrier has the big task of trapping and holding moisture in your skin, plus also preventing allergens, irritants, and pollutants from entering and causing irritation. In short, you’ll want to give it some extra TLC this season—help it, help you.
One of the reasons the Skin Cycling method has been so successful worldwide is because it prioritizes the health of our skin barrier. Nights 1 and 2 are about pushing skin outside its comfort zone, but nights 3 and 4 are all about recovery and nourishing the skin barrier. To help empower you to optimize your self-care skincare routine this winter, here are pro tips for each night you use the Skin Cycling method.
Especially during the winter months, reach for exfoliating serums rather than watery toners or pads, which can be more drying for the skin.
Look for exfoliating serums that include other soothing ingredients like aloe or postbiotics that help reduce the irritation from acids.
Consider whether your exfoliating product has been specifically tested on sensitive skin. If so, that’s a great sign that it will be gentle enough to use during the winter months. Of course, my go-to is our clinically-proven Exfoliation Night™ Resurfacing + Brightening Serum.
Some people can tolerate a retinoid more frequently than others. However, many people find that if they use them too frequently, or layer them with other potentially irritating ingredients, they end up with irritation rather than results—and that’s especially true during the winter months. To solve for this, either consider using a more gentle retinoid product, or build in additional recovery nights (detailed below). If you find that your skin is showing the telltale signs of a compromised skin barrier (redness, stinging, reactive, sensitive), listen to your skin and respond as needed.
Consider applying a “retinoid sandwich.” First apply a lightweight moisturizer to the eyes, sides of nose and mouth, and the neck. These delicate areas are the most sensitive to retinoids, so the moisturizer acts like a buffer, protecting them. Then, apply a pearl-size amount of retinoid to the face, another pearl to the neck, and 2 pearls to the chest. Remember, your face, neck, and chest should be treated as one cosmetic unit! Finally, apply more moisturizer on top of your retinoid. Don’t use anything too occlusive over your retinoid, or that can create more irritation!
After cleansing, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Reach for a fragrance-free moisturizer with ingredients like ceramides, squalane, hyaluronic acid, prebiotics and postbiotics—those last two are excellent for supporting a healthy, rich microbiome, which we know is really important when it comes to the skin barrier.
Ideally, look for a moisturizer that’s clinically-proven to repair the skin barrier, like Bowe Glowe™ Microbiome Nourishing Cream.
During the winter months, you may even want to add an extra layer on top your moisturizer to really seal in that hydration all night long. Consider an oil, like rosehip or grapeseed, or a rich recovery balm.
So many people have been sharing that Skin Cycling has helped to dial down stress in their lives. Especially as the holidays approach and our schedules become even busier than ever, having a streamlined self-care routine like Skin Cycling that drives impactful results can be a welcome retreat!