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What is Skin Cycling?

Woman using skincare serum

If you’re into skincare and always keep an eye open for the latest trends, chances are you may have heard about skin cycling. Maybe you’re already implementing the practice without even knowing it. So what is skin cycling?

Skin cycling is when you put your skin through the structured routine of using active ingredients/treatments on some days, followed up with ‘rest’ days where your skin is able to take a break. The concept is similar to that of a workout routine. Rather than putting your body under constant pressure, you have recovery days so that the body can repair. When you overdo it with your skincare routine and use too many active ingredients at once, this can begin to irritate and compromise your skin. Practicing skin cycling is believed to be helpful for eczema, acne, rosacea and sensitive skin.

How to skin cycle

This popular skincare trend was started by dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe. The key concept is allowing your skin to recover after using certain products that can cause skin sensitivity.

A skin cycling routine for a beginner would look something like this throughout the week:

Applying an exfoliating treatment after cleansing on the first night.

If you’re just starting out, or have sensitive skin, we recommend using products that include mandelic, lactic or lactobionic acid.

Applying a retinol after cleansing on the second night.

Retinoids are available in serum and cream form, choose one that works best or you. If you do not wish to use a retinoid, why not use an exfoliator in its place?

Taking a break on nights 3 and 4 and focusing on hydration.

If your skin needs extra moisture due to dryness or sensitivity, use a facial oil, or oil-based serum on rest nights, alongside your favourite moisturiser. Focus on serums/creams that include hyaluronic acid and/or glycerin. The Superior Complexion Antioxidant Serum is also great for rest days to soothe the skin and aid in repair.

Begin the process again on the fifth day and continue.

Repeat your previous cycle steps from the beginning.


Our thoughts

We would always encourage breaks within the week from using active ingredients on your face. “Skin cycling’ is just another name for implementing this kind of practice. If your skin is yet to build a tolerance for actives such as acids and retinoids, it will become irritated and your skin barrier is likely to become damaged and inflamed. However it is important to acknowledge that if you are using retinoids, common guidance would, on the contrary suggest using it every single day after your skin is able to tolerate it. Consistent breaks in between could potentially slow down the benefits of your retinol treatment. If you’re in doubt, consult with your dermatologist who will be able to offer further insight.


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