Skin Cycling - The TikTok Trend Worth Talking About

The latest skin buzzword doing the rounds on social media, Skin Cycling.

So what is it, how do you do it and is it worth doing?


Skin cycling is a term coined by US board certified dermatologist, Dr Whitney Bowe.   Essentially it is a 4 night routine, that just keeps repeating every time you finish the cycle.

Night 1: Exfoliation Night

Night 2: Retinol/Retinoid Night

Night 3 & 4: Recovery Nights


Skin Cycling

Skincare has become very complicated, with a lot of mixed information of what to use and when to use it. Skin cycling takes the complication out of it, as you can see, it is very easy to understand and gives you the format to use your active products safely and effectively, as not to damage your skin barrier.


How To Skin Cycle

Night 1: Exfoliation

Dr Bowe recommends a chemical exfoliant (AHA's like Glycolic Acid or Lactic Acid, if you have oily acne prone skin, you can add a BHA - Salicylic Acid).

If you prefer to use a physical (gritty texture) exfoliant, you can use it on this night in place of a chemical exfoliant.

After cleansing, dry the skin and then apply the exfoliating product. Follow the directions of the exfoliating product you are using to know whether to wash it off or leave it on. If it burns, wash it off instantly (that is most likely an allergic reaction), if it tingles wait a few minutes for that to subside then apply your usual moisturiser.


Night 2: Retinol

Like the previous night, you are going to cleanse and dry the skin (retinols are less irritating on dry skin), apply a small amount of a retinol product onto the face and spread. If you are sensitive or haven't used retinol before, apply a light layer of moisturiser under the eyes, around the sides of the nose and mouth and on the neck to help your skin tolerate the retinol better. Avoid the eye area when applying, unless it is specifically designed for the eye area.

Apply a moisturiser over the top of the retinol.


Night 3 & 4: Recovery

Over these 2 nights you are not going to use an exfoliating product or a retinol, you are going to keep it really simple and gentle to help your skin repair.

This is where you would use a hydrating/barrier support serum, like The One, under your moisturiser and apply an oil over the top for an extra boost. If you are into slugging this is the time to do it (don't worry if you don't know what this is, we will explain in the next blog).

This step supports the skin barrier and soothes the skin, ensuring you don't overdo it with actives in your routine.

After these steps you then cycle back (hence the term skin cycling) to Night 1 again and repeat the whole process. By following this process you only end up exfoliating and using retinols once or twice per week, which is ideal.


Who Can Skin Cycle?

Skin cycling is for everyone, which is what makes it so great.

If you have oily/acne prone skin you can actually break this down to a 3 night cycle (only one night of recovery) if you want and if your skin can handle it.

If you have sensitive skin, take the exfoliating and retinol easy until you build up a tolerance.

Is It Worth Trying?

Absolutely! We are huge advocates for not overdoing it with actives and exfoliating! It is a common problem in the beauty industry, which can cause damage to your skin barrier, making your skin concerns worse. Cycling your routine makes it really simple and prevents you from either not being sure of when to use your products or from overdoing it.


Give it a go and let us know! xx

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