Skin Cycling: The How and The Why
Everything you need to know about this game-changing, four-night skincare routine
The phrase ‘Skin Cycling’ has doubtless been popping up in your feeds lately, but what is it exactly? The term was originally coined by dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe back in 2021 when she shared her skin cycling skincare routine on her TikTok account. Over the last few months, however, this four-night skincare regimen has gone viral.
At its core, skin cycling is all about keeping over-exfoliation from damaging the skin and promoting skin recovery–a much needed course correction after the multi-step skincare routines that popped up over the pandemic as people tried to recreate derm-style treatments at home. “Skin cycling is a deliberate and strategic approach to skincare that involves cycling through your evening skin-care routine to drive results while minimizing irritation,” explains Dr. Bowe.
For Dr. Bowe, skin cycling was a reaction (pun intended) to the increasing number of patients presenting at her office with irritation and inflammation. "People love their powerhouse products–like exfoliants and retinoids–and often believe more must be better. However, their skin often tells a different story," she says. "The truth is, you only need a few products used in a very deliberate way to drive amazing results."
The four-night cycling routine goes as follows and, according to Dr. Bowe, it will only take two cycles—or eight days—to see results.
Night 1 - Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize.
Night 2 - Cleanse, retinoid treatment, moisturize.
Night 3 and 4 - Cleanse and moisturize only.