How To Try Skin Cycling, The Best Skincare Trend

Let’s be honest — no one’s skin is always perfect all of the time. It feels as though just when I’ve figured out my skincare and I have clean and beautiful skin, something pops up and I’m humbled again. 

But TikTok might have solved all of our skincare problems with skin cycling.

What is Skin Cycling?

You need balance in every aspect of your life and that need often makes itself known to us. We don’t exercise all of our muscles in one day; instead, we spread our routines throughout the week. We don’t do everything we need to finish for work in one day, we spread that out throughout the week too. But even though we know balance is the key to a healthy life, we don’t use it when it comes to our skincare. 

Skin cycling implements the balance that people often will forget about, especially if you’re a skincare enthusiast like I am and you love trying and testing new products. 

The idea of skin cycling isn’t new at all. Joshua Zeichner, MD, says,  “Dermatologists have been recommending intermittent or alternating use of active ingredients for a long time…. We’ve been recommending a slow start to most of our topical skin products for years.”

While TikTok did blow this skincare trend up, Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD, explains that “particularly during the pandemic, people were adding layer after layer after layer onto their skin-care routines and experimenting with ingredient cocktails that were irritating and damaging their skin…. There’s so much confusion surrounding how to layer active ingredients.… Particularly on social media, the answers are all over the place and we are seeing angry, irritated skin as a result.”

Enter: skin cycling.

How to Skin Cycle

The premise of skin cycling is that you apply certain active ingredients in the same order over a four-day cycle to avoid wearing out your skin. 

So, for example, one day you can focus on cleansing and exfoliating, the next on applying retinol, and the next two on repairing.

Implementing skin cycling into your beauty routine will save your skin in more ways than you can imagine, as people will often overdo steps like exfoliating, leaving your skin raw and vulnerable.

Night One: Exfoliate

Night Two: Retinoid

Nights Three and Four: Rest and Repair

My Week

I loved spending the week focusing on my skincare. I was a little concerned about changing up my routine because it took a while for my skin to even out and it’s one of the things I’m always looking to protect and keep clean.

The idea of skin cycling makes so much sense, but not enough people actually do it. I think a lot of people, myself included, will get into a daily skincare routine and feel as though they have all of their bases covered, but never branch out. My week was spent branching out. 

While I don’t notice the biggest difference in my skin tone, I do feel fresher and more refreshed without feeling raw or unprotected. 

If I were to tweak the cycle a bit more, I would add another repair and moisturize day after exfoliating, especially since it’s winter now and everything is a bit more chapped, but the cycle worked great for me otherwise! If you’re in a skincare rut, I would definitely try it. 

My Review

Full disclosure, I am a creature of habit and I don’t see myself skin-cycling from here on out. That being said, I appreciate the cycle in and of itself and might implement it every time I need to exfoliate, but during the winter months, I don’t necessarily need to exfoliate that often and I don’t want to do more harm than good by overdoing my skincare routine.


Have you tried skin cycling before? Are you going to now? Comment below!

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