Skin Cycling Skincare Routine from TikTok

If your beauty regime needs a little refresher, say hello to the newest fashion in skincare: the skin cycle. Invented by a New York dermatologist, researcher and founder of Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty, Whitney Bowe, MD, this nighttime beauty trend from TikTok streamlines exfoliation, retinoids and moisturizer to give you your best skin yet. Just make sure you always use FPS in the morning!

“The beauty of the skin cycle is that you can customize it to suit your skin’s needs,” says Dr. Bowe, and the cycle works great for all skin types, including sensitive skin. “I generally recommend starting with the classic four-night cycle. However, modifications can be made depending on your skin concerns, skin type, and goals.”

What is the skin cycle?

The Skin Cycle is a four-night skincare routine that uses chemical exfoliants, retinoids, and moisturizers on respective nights. It may sound complicated, but don’t be intimidated if you’ve never used some of these products before. “If you’re new to some or most of the products we use in the skin cycle, introduce them one at a time,” says Dr. Bowe. “It will allow you to adapt to new products without irritating your skin. Also, if you have an allergy or reaction to any of the ingredients in a certain product, it helps you identify the cause of this reaction in your skin.”

Start your skin-cycling routine with an overnight exfoliation. “Look for chemical exfoliants rather than harsh physical scrubs,” says Dr. Bowe. Finish with a moisturizer, but Dr. Bowe recommends avoiding heavy or greasy products so you don’t seal in the exfoliating product and irritate your skin.

“Your skin is particularly vulnerable when exfoliating at night after removing that dead layer of skin cells, so avoid any potentially irritating or inflammatory ingredients like essential oils and take special care to avoid products containing ingredients that may damage your skin. the skin barrier, like olive oil.

For the second night, Dr. Bowe focuses on retinoids. For anyone with sensitive skin, you can use a moisturizer as a barrier before applying the retinoid while you acclimate to it. The next two nights are both recovery nights, where you can use moisturizers and hydrating products to replenish your skin before starting over.

The products used in the skin cycle are quite powerful, but they can also irritate the skin if used incorrectly. “Exfoliating acids and retinoids speed up cell turnover,” says Dr. Bowe. “So while retinoids don’t technically ‘exfoliate’ the skin, overusing them can lead to many of the same issues with sensitive, tight, dry, irritated skin. Overuse of either can also cause hyperpigmentation in people with darker skin.

The skin cycle allows you to have complete control over products, and your personal skin type will determine the types of retinoids and exfoliants you use. “While some people may use retinol more frequently or exfoliate more frequently, in my experience the vast majority of people benefit from spacing out these ingredients over time.”

Try using 8% glycolic acid to firm your skin and boost collagen production or salicylic acid to help fight breakouts. “If you have sensitive skin, you can actually tolerate most AHAs and BHAs as long as the product is formulated with soothing and calming ingredients to balance the acids.”

“The beauty of the skin cycle is that you can adjust your cycling program to suit your skin where it is. If you experience sensitivity and irritation, you can increase your recovery nights,” says Dr. Bowe. “If you’re seasoned and well-adjusted to your retinoid and want to take it up a notch, you can skip a recovery night for a three-night cycle. It’s a flexible framework that can be customized for different skin types. .”

Breaking It Down: Overnight Exfoliation


Skin cycling for beginners: how to start. And how to layer with Bowe Glowe #skincycling #thatboweglow #dermatologist #skintok

“When you exfoliate the skin, it dissolves the top layer of skin,” says Dr. Bowe. Exfoliating properly will give you a healthy glow and prevent clogged pores since your skincare products can penetrate deep into the skin. “This cadence of exfoliation allows you to gently slough off that layer of dead, piled-up skin that makes your skin look dull and prevents the penetration of ingredients you apply to the skin in the days following exfoliation.”

However, too much exfoliation will make your skin worse because you’re removing more than that top layer. “When this happens, the skin gets dehydrated easily, because the skin can no longer retain moisture as effectively. As a result, fine lines and wrinkles become more pronounced, and the skin feels tight and uncomfortable.”

Your skin can become more sensitive to pollutants and allergens, and this can lead to rashes or other skin conditions such as rosaceaor post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

“One of the main concerns that inspired me to share The Skin Cycle was the overuse of actives like exfoliating serums,” says Dr. Bowe. “I introduced the skin cycle as a ‘less is more’ approach, being thoughtful and deliberate about your skincare routine. Rather than adding more products on top of each other, the skin cycle encourages you to use products strategically to complement one another and set yourself up for success while reducing unnecessary irritation.”

Skin Cycling Retinoid Night


Retinoid night is night 2 of your #skincycling routine. Here are some pro tips. #thatboweglow #dermatologist #skintok

“When it comes to retinoids, there are three main things to keep in mind: the potency of the formulation, how you layer that retinoid, and how many nights of recovery you build in between,” explains Dr. Bowe. You can work with milder retinols instead of a prescription retinoid if you have more sensitive skin, and you can even apply a cream before applying the retinoid as long as it’s not too heavy.

Recovery nights


Skin Cycling Recovery Night Routine if you wear makeup! #thatboweglow #doublecleanse #dermatology #skincareroutine

“On recovery nights, you want to focus on nourishing your skin microbiome and nourishing your skin barrier,” says Dr. Bowe. “Think hydration and moisture, deliberately adding ingredients like squalane, ceramides, prebiotics, postbiotics, sunflower seed oil will help nourish and repair your skin during recovery nights. “

Start with a gentle cleanser, then pat dry. You can add hyaluronic acid serum for extra hydration if desired, but be sure to moisturize with a gentle product that will hydrate and protect your skin’s barrier. You can finish with an oil if you have extra-dry skin.

Tag us with your skin cycling routines on Instagram and check out our Pinterest and email newsletter for more beauty content.

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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