Skin cycling—a term you may recognize from social media—involves alternating the nights you use retinoids and exfoliating acids with ample recovery time in between, and these “off” nights are he most important part of your routine. By taking a day to rest from strong actives, you’re making sure your skin barrier is strong and healthy and able to get the most out of those ingredients. On your recovery nights, you really just need to focus on moisturizing and soothing your skin. But if you want to up the ante, Whitney Bowe, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of the skin-cycling method, says peptides are a wonderful addition.
“If you’re looking to get even more benefits out of recovery night, you want to be layering other products that are going to work synergistically and complementary to a moisturizer without increasing any irritation,” says Dr. Bowe. “You don’t want recovery nights to have any irritation and a peptide serum is an amazing way to do that.”
I’ve been loving the new Paula’s Choice Pro-Collagen Multi-Peptide Booster ($58) as my recovery-night savior.
It’s got six pro-collagen peptides that deliver firming support throughout multiple layers of the skin. Collagen is a protein that holds together skin cells and is what keeps our skin firm and strong. We produce less of them as we age so it’s helpful to add ingredients like peptides that stimulate the skin to produce more collagen on its own.
While the peptides work to firm your skin over time, hyaluronic acid lends an instant hydrating and plumping effect, smoothing fine lines and making skin appear more supple.
“You can add a stand-alone hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid to your recovery night, but that’s only gonna give you a temporary benefit of a transient plumping effect and not a long-term firming effect,” says Dr. Bowe. “Whereas with a peptide serum, it’s absolutely a long-term firming effect.”
The Paula’s Choice Multi-Peptide Booster goes on as a silky, lightweight gel and feels amazing on the skin. As a serum, it doesn’t feel like anything wild is happening when I put it on, but I know the peptides are hard at work strengthing my skin so I can get the most out of my actives on the other nights of my skin-cycling routine.
Though your recovery nights are meant for you to do less to your skin from an active ingredient standpoint, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do nothing at all. And a peptide serum, like this one, will help you get the most out of your entire routine.