Skin Cycling 101: TikTok’s Biggest 2023 Skincare Trend Explained

Woman looking in the mirror observing her skin

Have you heard of skin cycling? In the realm of effective skincare practices, we're familiar with the basics—consistent cleansing, daily moisturisation, SPF etc. With more and more skincare products available on the market, the key question then becomes: how frequently should each product be used, and what in what order to give me the best results?  

Enter the latest trend on TikTok— #skincycling. This eas approach streamlines your routine while minimising chances of inflammation caused by active ingredients. In this blog, we will investigate the concept of skin cycling, how to seamlessly integrate it into your routine, and identify the most suitable products for your skin in the optimal order. 


Skin Cycling: What is it? 

Coined by a New York-based dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, the term ‘Skin Cycling’ refers to a simple four-day regimen. It involves alternating between different skincare actives across a four-day period to prevent the skin from developing an intolerance to specific ingredients, ensuring consistent efficacy. The goal is to harness the benefits of various actives without overwhelming the skin or causing irritation. After the four day regimen is complete, you repeat the process. 

@teawithmd #Skincycling 101: Dr. Joyce explains why #dermatologists have been preaching this concept for ages. Don't overdo it when you #exfoliate ♬ original sound - Dr. Joyce Dermatologist


Skin Cycling: How does it work? 

This routine includes exfoliation on night one, retinoids on night two and recovery nights focusing on hydration and barrier repair on nights three and four. Essentially, this method helps to regenerate the skin surface, ultimately helping to improve the overall skin quality. 


Super Facialist's Skin Cycling Routine: 

To embrace skin cycling the Super Facialist way, firstly start your nightly routine with a double cleanse using a Cleansing Oil, followed by a gentle cleanser.  

Secondly, follow up with retinol, exfoliant, or a hydrating product based on the night's focus. We always recommend applying a moisturiser at the end of the regimen, employing the "sandwich" method for retinol, ensuring optimal hydration. 


Skin Cycling Night One, Exfoliation  

Super Facialist Salicylic Acid Cleansing Wash Tube Packshot


Super Facialist Salicylic Acid Anti-Blemish Cleansing Wash 

Ideal for: Blemish-prone and oily skin. 

When to use: While the Salicylic Acid Cleansing Wash is suitable for daily use, if you are following the Skin Cycling routine consider incorporating it into your morning or night routine 2-3 times week. 

How to use: Apply a small amount to cleansed skin and gently massage in. Take extra time to lather the cleanser into areas prone to oiliness and breakouts (T-zone). 

Benefits: Our best-selling formula incorporates Salicylic Acid (BHA) which helps to exfoliate inside the pores, removing excess oil and dead skin cells. It is a powerful ally against spots blemishes and congested pores.  


Super Facialist Vitamin C Micro Polish Wash Tube Packshot


Super Facialist Vitamin C Micro Polish Wash 

Ideal for: Dull, uneven, and textured skin. 

When to use: While the Micro Polish is gentle enough for daily use, if you are following the Skin Cycling routine consider incorporating it into your morning or night routine 2-3 times week. 

How to use: Firstly apply a small amount to a damp face, massaging gently in circular motions. Rinse with warm water or a damp cloth. 

Benefits: As gentle as it is effective, the Micro Polish is formulated with bio-degradable particles to gently exfoliate dead skin cells. Additionally, it helps support an even tone, ideal for hyperpigmentation and dark spots. 


Side note…Salicylic Acid vs. Niacinamide: Which one should I use? 

Both Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide are potent skincare ingredients, but they serve different purposes. While SA targets blemishes and exfoliation, Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, addresses a range of concerns, including inflammation, redness, and pore size. 

Salicylic Acid 

Best for: Blemish-prone skin. 

How it works: Salicylic Acid exfoliates inside the pores, unclogging them and reducing inflammation. 

When to use: Preferably in the evening routine. 


Best for: All skin types, especially sensitive or redness-prone skin. 

How it works: Niacinamide helps improve the skin barrier, reducing redness and preventing water loss. 

When to use: Can be used both morning and night. 


Night Two, Retinol: 

Super Facialist Retinol Tube Packshot


Super Facialist Retinol Anti-Ageing Serum 

Ideal for: Addressing fine lines, wrinkles, and promoting collagen production. 

When to use: Use 2-3 times a week in your evening routine. 

How to use: Apply a pea-sized amount to clean, dry skin.  
To emphasise, if your skin is not used to Retinol, it is better to build up the dosage overtime to avoid irritation. Always remember, with Retinol less is more. Likewise, if your skin is familiar with Retinol, you may follow up with a Retinol Night Cream. 

Benefits: An expertly balanced serum to help accelerate cell turnover, revealing smoother, more youthful-looking skin over time.  

@zahrawlj Night time skin care 💗 @Super Facialist #antiageing #retinol #retinolskincare #retinolserum #nighttimeskincareregime #retinolserums #superfacialist #superfacialistskincare #firmskin #serumsforface #bootsuk #easyskincarerountine #skincaretipsforyou💕 #easyskincareroutines #beautyroutinevideos #newskincareproducts @Z A H R A | 💄Beauty @Z A H R A | 💄Beauty @Z A H R A | 💄Beauty ♬ Peace Be Upon You - Vocals-Only - Maher Zain

Nights Three and Four, Recovery: 

Super Facialist Rosehip Night Cream Packshot

Super Facialist Rosehip Night Cream 

Ideal for: Hydrating, soothing and smoothing the skin. 

When to use: As a soothing night cream, It can be used every evening at the end of your routine. 

How to use: Apply a pea-sized amount to clean, dry skin. 

Benefits: Enriched with a blend of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, E, and K, this formula works to retain moisture and alleviate irritation. 


Super Facialist Clear Skin Tube and Carton Packshot


Super Facialist Clear Skin Breakout Buster Serum 

Ideal for: Damaged skin barriers and blemish-prone skin. 

When to use: Use 2-3 times per week after cleansing the face. 

How to use: Apply a pea-sized amount to clean, dry skin. 

Benefits: A balanced blend of Niacinamide and Prebiotics combine to support a healthier skin barrier. 


Spots, be gone ! 👏👀 Our award winning Breakout Buster Serum features a powerful formula proven to improve hydration, minimise dryness & blockout dirt. You can shop this & our Clear Skin range in full @bootsuk now 🛒

♬ Confidence (sped up version) - Ocean Alley

Benefits of Skin Cycling 

To sum up, skin cycling offers a strategic advantage in maximizing the efficacy of ingredients, with exfoliation preparing the skin for retinoids. Dr. Bowe emphasizes that this method not only enhances results but also minimizes irritation, a common concern with potent ingredients. Recovery nights play a pivotal role in allowing the skin to rejuvenate, making this routine particularly beneficial for those aiming to even out skin tone or address acne concerns. 


Safety First 

While skin cycling is effective for many, Dr. Lipner emphasizes that it may not be suitable for all skin types. The frequency of exfoliation, for example, needs careful consideration, and consulting with a dermatologist is recommended to tailor the routine to individual needs. 
In the realm of skincare, experimentation and adaptation are key. Skin Cycling provides a systematic approach to incorporating potent actives like Salicylic Acid, Vitamin C, and Retinol into your routine, promoting optimal skin health. Additionally, understanding the differences between Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide empowers you to tailor your routine to your specific skin care needs. 

Remember, consistency is key, and consulting with a skincare professional can further refine your routine for the best results.  
Share & tag us in your #SkinCycling journey with us on Instagram @super.facialist & TikTok 
Want to discover more? Read here from our Resident Skincare Expert on 12 skincare habits to level up your beauty regime.