There’s been a lot of skincare advice on the internet over the last few years, some of it okay, some of it terrible and some that the jury is still out on. So it means a lot when dermatologists openly support a particular trend because they actually, you know, know what they’re talking about. So the fact that the current trend of Skin Cycling is dermatologist-approved means a lot. Even better, it was actually invented by a dermatologist; Dr Whitney Bowe.  But what’s it all about? Here's a beginner’s guide to skin cycling.

What is Skin Cycling?


Skin Cycling is a system of skin care that lasts over four days total, with each day dedicated to a different part of the skin-care regime. Beginning with the harshest part of skincare to the more gentle, Skin Cycling dedicates one day to exfoliation, one day to retinoids, and two days to moisturising. The system is designed to be used before bed, with each step being dedicated to a different night.


Why is it better than other skin care routines?


So what makes Skin Cycling so great? The research behind breaking down your skin routine over several nights is that it is much less damaging to your skin barrier. While most recent skincare routines consist of a number of products, all with different purposes, Skin Cycling aims to apply each product and its purpose one night at a time, giving the skin time to rest. Have you ever wondered why a lot of exfoliating products and serums recommend using twice a week only? It’s because many contain strong and even abrasive chemicals. Using these nightly damages your skin barrier while using other products like moisturiser or acids on the damaged skin deems them virtually useless.


There’s also the added bonus of it being highly personalisable, as you are free to use whatever products work best for your skin as long as you use them on the correct night of the cycle. This is a far cry from many skincare routines that toted many “must-have” products, regardless of skin type.


What are the effects?


Those who have begun skin cycling have reported massive improvements in both times it takes to improve the quality of their skin. The breakdown of each step means users can tolerate more active ingredients than they were used to; including those with sensitive skin. Those who did have sensitive skin reported less irritation overall.

How do I start Skin Cycling?


On your first night of Skin Cycling, dedicate it to exfoliation. Begin with your nightly cleanse, then use an exfoliator (Dr Bowe recommends a chemical exfoliant over a scrub for a gentler product like an AHA or BHA). An at-home face peel is another alternative. This removes dirt and dead skin cells that aren't removed during a simple cleanse. Once the exfoliation is complete, moisturize and you are finished for day one.


On day two, begin once again with your nighttime cleaning routine. Then use a retinoid or retinol and massage into your skin. This product’s role is to provide vitamin E, encourage cell regeneration, and produce younger-looking skin. Make sure you wear sunscreen the next day and don’t be afraid to use a gentler product if peeling occurs. Some breakouts after your first few uses of retinol are normal, however.


Finally, on days three and four; moisturisation takes the stage. Begin with cleansing and then moisturise. That’s it. You can add hyaluronic acid or facial oil here if you like as well. Fans of “slugging” can do so on these nights as well.


And there you have it! The easy, dermatologist created and approved skincare routine that actually works, while also looking after your precious skin.