At this point, it is safe to say that TikTok has taken over our daily routines. The app is brimming with tips and tricks for all things cleaning, fashion, and of course, skincare. While some were helpful, others were complete fads and did nothing good for our skin. Speaking of, we may be a few steps closer to better skin, thanks to this TikTok trend: skin cycling.

So, what is skin cycling, and why is it the nearest thing we have to a fool-proof skincare routine? Read ahead to find out.

What is skin cycling?

Skin cycling is a TikTok trend that is fairly different from the rest. Because, unlike the rest, this one is actually formulated by a dermatologist.

Whitney Bowe, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, developed the four-day regimen and spread the word throughout TikTok and Instagram. The gist is to cycle between exfoliating, retinoids, and two recovery nights. These two recovery nights allow your skin to adjust to the active ingredients and minimise irritation.

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How does it work?

Skin cycling is pretty easy to follow. Here is a full breakdown of what you need to do:

Night 1

Exfoliate your skin using an acid such as glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid. These acids effectively clear your clogged pores and slough away dead skin cells. Dr. Bowe advises using a leave-on product, like peel pads, as they are the most effective way to do this. After exfoliating, apply your moisturiser. Then you are all done for the night!

Night 2 

Choose a retinol product for night two after cleaning and patting your face dry. This might be a serum, moisturiser, or oil, applying a pea-sized quantity to your whole face. If you are new to retinol, take it slowly. Apply moisturiser around your eyes, the corners of your mouth, and the sides of your nose first. This helps to protect these delicate regions from irritation or discomfort. 

Night 3 & 4 

Nights 3 and 4 are pretty straightforward – cleanse, pat dry, then apply a gentle moisturiser. Nothing else. This step lasts for two consecutive nights because it is also the most vital one. It’s when your skin takes a breather and absorbs the exfoliants and retinol before returning to step 1. 

What are the benefits of skin cycling?

Skin cycling promotes a balance of these two essential but potentially agitating skincare ingredients. Altering exfoliants and retinol, followed by two nights of rest, allows your skin to build tolerance. It also decreases the risk of overdoing retinol and acids, which could damage your skin barrier and cause irritation.

And if you’re not into elaborate skincare routines, skin cycling is the one for you. Unlike the other regimens taught by beauty influencers, it only needs a few skincare products. No need to spend so much time applying product after product!

Should I try skin cycling?

As good as skin cycling is, it’s not for everyone. Oily and combination skin types would thrive with acids and retinol, but not for sensitive skin types. It would just trigger a different kind of skin issue.

But if you want to give it a shot, bring it up with your dermatologist first. Take note of every active ingredient you use, as it will make all the difference. After all, every skin type reacts differently, so who knows? This might be the ultimate skincare routine you have been looking for!

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