What Is Skin Cycling And Does It Work?

With so many skincare products you need to use, it can get difficult to remember what to use and when. Many skincare ingredients are also not meant to use together since it can hinder the efficiency of the products. For this reason, dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe created a new method to use your products in a way that won't further harm your skin. Skin cycling is the latest skincare method that lets you get full use of your products and their benefits. Dr. Bowe established this method via Instagram and has since created a new trend of applying skincare products.


Skin cycling is a new method that quickly has picked up steam since Dr. Bowe shared it in 2020. Since its creation, the hashtag #skincycling has amassed over 8.4 million viewed videos related to the method on TikTok. With many sharing their results with skin cycling it's easy to see why this newest trend isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

What is skin cycling?

Skin cycling involves rotating your nighttime routine to focus on a different product each day for four days. According to Dr. Whitney Bowe's skin cycling routine, night one focuses on exfoliating the skin. It's best to opt for a chemical exfoliant rather than a physical exfoliant, as the former works best within the skin without being as harsh. Night two, replace the exfoliator with retinol or an active ingredient. On nights three and four, you take a break from these rough ingredients and focus on adding hydration to the skin. After night four, you repeat this cycle (via MindBodyGreen).


Skin cycling's purpose is to slowly prep, work, and recover the skin so the rougher products can reach deeper into the skin and function properly. According to Dr. Bowe's skin cycling calendar, you should only skin cycle during the nighttime and keep your daytime routine consistent. Your daytime routine doesn't need to see any changes but should remain constant.

Does skin cycling work?

Although still new, skin cycling can be beneficial for the skin. Taking time for each product to absorb into the skin helps it function without competing with other products. According to Dr. Bowe, this routine is best for those who do not know how to mix and match ingredients and those not seeing results from their current regimen. Using ingredients such as exfoliants and retinoids every four days also helps prevent the skin from becoming too irritated or inflamed from these ingredients. With a few differences, skin cycling can benefit any skin type. Those with acne-prone skin would benefit from a shorter, three-day cycle, while sensitive skin should opt for a lower-grade retinoid instead (via PopSugar).


Although not a short-term solution, skin cycling is best for those who want to see long-term glow and freshness in the skin. The recovery portion of the cycle also helps your skin become less dependent on active ingredients, making them more useful when you use them. This slower-paced cycle is beneficial to those who want to see a significant change and add something new to their routine (via The Well).