Skin Cycling: Why Rotating Your Skincare Products Is More Than Just A TikTok Trend

Skin Cycling: Why Rotating Your Skincare Products Is More Than Just A TikTok Trend

Have you seen the latest viral trend of skin cycling? Created by dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe, skin cycling found its place in the skincare conversation when she went viral on TikTok. The process of skin cycling helps to streamline and simplify skincare routines. In Dr Whitney Bowe’s words, skin cycling is a “less is more” approach. So what is skin cycling? And how do you actually skin cycle? Let’s dive in!

What is Skin Cycling?

The term "skin cycling" is used to describe the process of rotating your skincare products on a regular basis. The skin cycling routine is designed strategically to use select skincare products with specific ingredients that work harmoniously to protect, nourish and improve your skin.

A major benefit of skin cycling is its role in preventing your skin from becoming resistant to the active ingredients in your products. If you use the same product or products day after day, your skin will eventually become accustomed to them and they will no longer be as effective. By switching up your routine and using different products, you can keep your skin guessing and ensure that it continues to respond to the treatments you're using

All skin is different and can react differently to the products you use. A reaction such as sensitivity, irritation or breakouts may occur from using too much of one product or a product that doesn't work for your skin type. Skin cycling helps prevent this by rotating your skincare products on a regular basis.

Skin cycling also includes essential ‘rest’ days - allowing your skin the chance to recover and rebuild, especially after using stronger exfoliants. This is a pretty revolutionary approach to skincare, in our opinion!

The Benefits Of Skin Cycling

  1. To prevent your skin from becoming immune to the active ingredients.

If you use the same product day after day, your skin will eventually become immune to the active ingredients. By rotating your products, you can ensure that your skin continues to respond to the active ingredients.

  1. To avoid irritating your skin.

If you use a product for too long, it can irritate your skin. If you start to notice that a product is causing redness or irritation, stop using it and switch to another product.

  1. To save money.

If you only use one or two products, you’ll eventually run out and have to replace them. However, if you have a rotation of several products, you can keep using them long after they’ve been replaced. This can save you money in the long run.

  1. To keep your skin looking its best.

By rotating your skincare products, you can keep your skin looking its best. Your skin will be better able to absorb the nutrients from each product and will look healthier overall.

Skin Cycling 101: How to Rotate Your Skincare Products 

The classic skin cycling routine is based on a four day cycle including exfoliation, retinoids and recovery. Let’s run through it:

Night 1: Exfoliate

To start the skin cycling process, exfoliate the skin. Dr Whitney Bowe recommends using a chemical exfoliant rather than “harsh” scrubs. Chemical exfoliants contain acids or enzymes that dissolve dead skin and can give you an immediate glow.

Ideal skincare products include ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid.

Glycolic Acid: Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that is derived from sugar cane. It is the smallest molecule in the group, which means it can penetrate the skin more deeply than other AHAs. Glycolic acid exfoliates by breaking down the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. This results in brighter, smoother, and more evenly-toned skin.

Lactic Acid: Lactic acid is another alpha hydroxy acid that is often used as a chemical exfoliant. It works by dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, which allows them to be sloughed off more easily. This can help to improve the texture of the skin and make it appear brighter and more radiant. Lactic acid is generally considered to be gentle on the skin, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin.

Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is one of the most popular skincare ingredients on the market. And for good reason! This powerful ingredient can help to exfoliate the skin, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation. However, like all skincare ingredients, salicylic acid can lose its efficacy over time. That’s why it’s important to rotate your products every so often. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your skin always gets the benefits of this amazing ingredient!

Salicylic Acid

Night 2: Retinoids

On night 2 of your skin cycling routine, apply a retinol product! Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives that speed up cell turnover, boost collagen production, treat acne and even out the skin tone, making them key ingredients in anti-aging products. The most common type of retinoid is retinol! Retinoids can be irritating to the skin, so it's important to start slowly with a low concentration product and build up as your skin gets used to it. And always use sunscreen during the day because retinoids make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Night 3 & 4: Recovery

In this phase of skin cycling, you want to focus on adding moisture, rebuilding the skin barrier and deeply nourishing your skin. Key ingredients here include hyaluronic acid or squalane.

Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing skin hydration. It can also help to improve skin elasticity and firmness. In addition, hyaluronic acid can help to protect the skin from environmental damage by acting as a barrier against free radicals.

Squalane: Squalane is a natural, plant-derived oil that has been shown to effectively penetrate the skin barrier and provide long-lasting hydration. It is also non-comedogenic, meaning it will not clog pores or cause breakouts. Squalane is an ideal ingredient for those with dry, sensitive, or mature skin types.

The Best Products For Skin Cycling

So now we know the process, let’s get into the details of which products to use, and when!  

Night 1: Exfoliation

Neutriherbs AHA(8%) Exfoliating Serum for Smoother & Firmer skin is the ideal gentle exfoliant for the first step of your skin cycling routine. Containing both glycolic and lactic acid, as well as hyaluronic acid, this exfoliating serum works in tandem to remove dead skin cells whilst boosting collagen and adding back moisture.

Night 2: Retinoids

The Retinol Serum from our Superior Facial Serums Kit is the next product in the skin cycling line up. With powerful antioxidant properties, this serum unclogs pores, combats aging and improves skin texture from the inside out.


Night 3: Recovery

Also from our Superior Facial Serums Kit, the Neutriherbs Hyaluronic Acid Serum will give your skin the much-needed rest and recovery after the more intense ingredients from night one and two. Designed to plump and moisturise the skin, this serum will add back moisture and rebuild the skin barrier.

Night 4: Recovery

After the deep nourishment from night three, you want to continue to add moisture back to the skin, whilst making sure to protect the skin from environmental stressors. Our Vitamin C Serum from the Superior Facial Serums Kit is perfect for just this. Vitamin C is a powerful, collagen-boosting antioxidant and will allow your skin the chance to recover, before going for another round of skin cycling, starting with exfoliation.

Some Tips For Getting Started With Skin Cycling:

  1. Start with a clean slate: Before you start using new products, make sure you get rid of any old, expired, or unused products taking up space in your bathroom cabinet.

  1. Do your research: Not all products are created equal. When choosing new products, do some research to find ones that are formulated for your specific skin type and needs.

  1. Be patient: It can take some trial and error to find the perfect combination of products that work for you. Don’t get discouraged if a product doesn’t work out – just move on to the next one on your list!

  1. Start with the basics: There are many variations to skin cycling, but we recommend just starting for a few weeks with the classic skin cycling routine described in this article. Let your skin find its rhythm, experience the benefits and then look to add or change up your products.

So there you have it: the complete low-down on skin cycling! Who knew that it’s not just about which products you use, it’s about how and when you use them, too? Dr Whitney Bowe went viral for a reason and we’re excited for you to experience the benefits of this trend for yourself.

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