Everything you need to know about Tik Tok’s skin cycling craze


Creating a skincare routine that works best for your ever-changing skin is no small feat. Whether it’s feeling bombarded by the millions of products on the shelves or an array of “how-to” techniques circulating on social media, it can be difficult to know where and how to start – especially if you suffer from skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis or acne.

As a beauty writer and master esthetician for 15 years, nothing excites me more than to see the new trend in skincare finally align with the core values ​​and empowering education I’ve provided to my clients over the past decade – a minimally designed routine will always win out a vast, unintended one.

SkinTok’s latest craze, #SkinCycling, has exploded in popularity over the past few months, thanks to a board-certified dermatologist, researcher and founder of Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty, Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD. While the concept isn’t “new” per se, it was version 2.0 of micro-dosing that became the biggest beauty trend of the year with the hashtag #skincycling at 75.7 million and counting – and for a very good reason.

SHE spoke to three experts – the designer herself, Dr. Bowe, as well as a master beautician and skincare specialist in New York, Julie Algiersand Dr Marisa Garshicka New York-based board-certified dermatologist to address the BIG questions. Their combined knowledge takes the guesswork out of how to (correctly) fit this method into your beauty routine for healthier, happier and more radiant skin.

What is the skin cycle?

The Skin Cycle is a thoughtful, strategic four-day technique for alternating your nighttime skincare products that streamlines your skincare routine in a way that’s both effective and easy to follow. Yes, while minimize irritation. According to Dr. Bowe, “It takes a less is more approach to your routine. Rather than adding more products on top of each other, it encourages the use of products in a strategic and complementary way.” While there are various explanations for why Skin Cycling is so beneficial, the analogy that connects the dots, for me, was given by Bowe herself, as she compares her invented method to something quite familiar – the drive.

If you’re trying to build strength in a particular muscle group, “don’t just load those muscles every day with heavy weights because that’s a sure way to lead to injury, not strength,” explains Bowe. That’s why recovery days are vital, because the athlete in me nods. You can focus on your arms one day, and your legs the next — intentionally building those muscle fibers over time so they repair and strengthen between sessions. The same goes for your skin.

Should skin cycling be done only at night?

Yes, explains Alger — and here’s why. “Evening is when your skin repairs itself, so it’s the optimal time for Skin Cycling because it ensures you’re using active products correctly while promoting rest, which minimizes the risk of irritation. long-term.”

Garshick agrees. “In the evening our body works naturally to repair itself while during the day it defends itself, so it can help to use ingredients such as retinoids at night to promote cell turnover and antioxidants during the day to protect. .”

To get the most out of your skincare and how to make your products more effective and effective for you, read on to learn more about each stage of the skin cycle as well as product recommendations from our experts. .

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The classic 4-night cycle

Night 1: Exfoliation

Opting for chemical exfoliation rather than mechanical scrubs decreases the risk of getting micro tears in the skin which can lead to inflammation. It also gives your skin an instant glow and sets you up to get the most out of night two. “After cleansing and letting the skin dry completely, apply the exfoliator of your choice with a cotton ball and always apply moisturizer,” says Bowe. This will rebalance the microbiome and nourish the skin.

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Night 2: Retinol

Retinoids are one of the powerful ingredients to include in your Skin Cycling routine. According to Alger, “Using products like retinoids stimulates collagen production, smoothes textured skin, and helps promote repair, which is most beneficial when done at night.” If your skin is sensitive, Garshick recommends lightly applying moisturizer to delicate areas of the face before applying retinol “to create a buffer” and reduce irritation. Using a pea-sized amount of retinoid to cover the entire face will suffice. “If you feel like you’re not using enough, that’s the problem,” Bowe adds.

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Night 3 + Night 4: Recovery

Rest and reset is the name of the game. Alger says “Allowing the skin to have recovery days is helpful, especially for those with more sensitive skin.” On recovery nights you want to focus on nourishing your microbiome and repairing your skin barrier – think hydration and moisture, says Bowe.

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Is it safe for all skin types?

While all skin types can benefit from this method, Garshick says “it can be especially good for people with dry or sensitive skin who otherwise couldn’t tolerate a retinoid or exfoliator.” If you experience sensitivity and irritation easily, you can start with a low-grade retinol and increase your recovery nights from two days to three.

People with skin conditions such as chronic acne, eczema or rosacea who currently use prescription-grade products should always consult their dermatologist before changing their skincare routine to ensure that you are safely guided while tailoring the skin cycle to your skin care needs.


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