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I Tried Skin Cycling And Here's How It Went

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Trying Skincare Trends Skin Cycling Tik Tok Retinol Actives

Luckily for you and me - this is not some new form of exercise or a fitness regime.

We lazy folks can sit back and relax for now but all skincare lovers - jump aboard.

There are way too many skincare trends and fads making their way around. It really is quite hard to keep track - let alone, decide if you want to try it out and see if it works for you.

I would have just begun a new routine and then lo-behold I find yet another article on some new method or treatment used by a celebrity and I'm back to square one trying to rationalize it out in my head and stay away from the temptation of jumping on the bandwagon.

However, some trends just make sense the more you learn about them - and this is rather rare. Few trends are backed by reason and logic which makes them hard to stay away from.

Skin cycling happens to be one of them.


So What Is Skin Cycling?

It basically refers to the night-time skincare routine or practice of a four-day cycle where the first two days include the use of products with active ingredients followed by the next two days that are dedicated to letting your skin rest - and the cycle repeats.

Skincare can be confusing. Even for those who have spent time doing their research - like me. I have always tried to read up on different products, ingredients, and activities along with all the various steps, directions, and rules that come along with them but sometimes I just get overwhelmed and falter. This mainly stems from an information overload.

Methods like skin cycling help detangle the mess in your head and make your routines a little simpler.

I tried this method over the past month and I found the following benefits -

  • It helped me fix a routine that was simple, effective, and easy to follow

  • Focused on strengthening my skin's natural barrier by drawing attention to products that help in repair and moisturization

  • Following a fixed pattern meant that I did not over-exfoliate my skin and also balanced out the use of ingredients like retinol. This eliminates the over-use of actives.

  • Using the minimalistic approach was not only more beneficial but also affordable. Including a lesser number of products help me focus on using higher quality products rather than just using a bulk of ones that had no specific purpose

  • Maximizes the effects of the products by using them in the right way.

  • Makes it easier to follow the routine by adding reasoning to each step that helps you understand your skin's needs and product benefits


My Skin Cycling Routine - Simplified

I kept my routine simple with a few trusted products that my skin was already familiar with and I knew they worked well for me. All I had to do was rearrange the manner in which I used them.

Day One - Exfoliation

The cycle typically begins with an exfoliating product to help unclog pores and prep my skin for the next few days by getting rid of dead cells and allowing better absorption of products that will be used in the upcoming days. I prefer using a chemical exfoliant with AHA's and BHA's and they are more gentle on the skin in comparison to scrubs and physical exfoliants. You can also choose to go for products that have glycolic acid or salicylic acid as the key component.

Day Two - Retinoid

Make sure your skin is cleansed and dry before you go ahead with a retinoid - in the form of retinol (over-the-counter products) or tretinoin (prescription based). If you are new to this ingredient - make sure you read up and use a product with a lower percentage as it could cause an initial purge. I would suggest going in with a light serum or hydrating toner to act as a layer between your skin and the retinoid so as to reduce sensitivity.

Retinoids are a more advanced activity and come along with a rather long list of rules so make sure you are aware of everything before you experiment with it. It should also not be used by pregnant women.

Day Three & Four - Recovery

The next two days are for recovery and letting your skin breathe. Our skin has a natural way of repairing itself and these two days are focused on that. This step helps tackle skin concerns such as irritation, inflammation, and a weakened barrier by giving your skin time to rejuvenate and heal from within. All you need to do is supplement it.

On these two days, I like to focus on moisturizing my face and using hydrating products that specifically highlight ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalene, and ceramides.

I sometimes like to alternate between niacinamide and hyaluronic acid serums as well.

If you are a fan of the slugging trend, you can go ahead and do that one these days as this specific method is not meant to be paired with exfoliators and retinoids.

This four-day cycle will repeat in the same order to ensure that there is a fixed pattern and consistency with your products and formulations.

There you have it - the concept of skin cycling explained in three simple steps.


Personally, this routine has worked wonders for my skin and has helped keep things simple - which I believe is very important when every next TikTok and article is forcing you to turn your head to a different trend.

It is also important to note that this is a routine that I have curated based on my skin type, preferences, and what suits me. These products might or might not work in a similar manner for you. It is important to be aware of what works best for your skin and create your routine based on that.

Remember - when it comes to skincare - less is more. Using multiple products and having complex routines will not guarantee results.



* As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases through the product links mentioned above

Image Credits - Sunsetoned

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