Skin Cycling: What Is It?

One of my favorite hobbies is learning about new skincare products and techniques. One technique I recently learned about is skin cycling, which I learned about on TikTok. Over the past couple of years, TikTok has become my go-to social media app. When I initially joined back in Spring 2020, it was a fun outlet to get some good laughs while we attempted to wait out Covid-19. Well, we’re still waiting it out, but it has become a mini learning platform.


Back to skin cycling. So, what is skin cycling? Keep reading to find out.

As I mentioned, I learned about skin cycling on TikTok from dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe. Skin Cycling involves adjusting your night time skincare routine. On night one, you add a chemical exfoliator to your normal routine and then the next night, you use a retinol instead of the chemical exfoliator. On the next nights, you use your regular skincare products and then you start the cycle all over again.

It was confusing at first and a little tedious. However, once it became part of my routine, I started to see the results. I’m a little embarrased that I’m not as dedicated to my skincare routine as I should be. Still, I’m getting better and skin cycling has made me become more diligent.

The steps in skin cycling help prepare your skin for receiving and applying the products. The first 2 nights are to be added to your regular night time skincare routine.

The first night is chemical exfoliation, which is more gently than a physcial exfoliator. Actually, I’ve started to move away from physical exfoliators all together and just use chemical one. I still have a couple of physical exfoliators to use up, but my go-to chemical exfoliator is the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. This exfoliant uses BHA and salycylic acid to gently exfoliate the skin and unclog pores. When I was using this exfoliant almost every day – sometimes twice – I did notice some improvement in the overall texture of my skin. I think jsut using it 12x a week has helped maintain it without my skin getting use to it and no longer reaping the benefits.

The second night is my favorite – retinol night. Before trying skin cycling, I was using retinol 2-3x a week. Now, this isn’t bad, but it can aggravate your skin depending on the strength of retinol you use. The retinol I’ve been using is Paula’s Choice CLINICAL 1% Retinol, whish a great beginner retinol, in my opinion. Like I do on exfoliator night, I apply the retinol after toning and letting my skin air dry. I then rub a 1-2 small dots on my skin while avoidig my undereyes and lips. The under eye area and lips is where your skin in the thinnest. So, it’s best to avioid putting strong ingredients on those areas. I did this on exfoliator night, as well.

The next 2 nights are recovery night, which is your normal routine. I tend to go super simple – cleanser, toner, essence, and moisturizer. Currently, I’ve been going with a hydrating cleanser, my favorite hydrating toner, and moisturizer. However, on the exfoliation and retinol night, I apply tend layer of Aquaphor to help seal in moisture and protect my skin barrier.

Although I’ve only been trying this for a couple of months, I can tell difference. My skin’s texture is smoother and my skincare products feel like they are working more efficiently.

Have you tried skin cycling? Thoughts?

Facebooktwitterpinteresttumblrinstagramby feather
Stained Couture

Let's discuss....