Skin Cycling - How to Do It and Our Favorite Products!

November 08, 2022

What is skin cycling?

Skin cycling is a scheduled skin-care routine that allows your skin to rest in between treatments in order to repair itself and result in a glowy, clear, and youthful complexion! This cycle is also loved for its ability to prevent irritation and inflammation, making it a great option for sensitive skin.

What do I need to try skin cycling?

If you are wanting to try out the trend, you will just need 3 key products!

  1. An exfoliator
  2. A retinol
  3. A moisturizer
What schedule should I use for this method?

Once you have those 3 ingredients, the rest is just scheduling the right ingredients at the right time. “The classic skin cycling regimen is a four-night cycle — the first is the exfoliation night, the second is a retinoid night, and the third and fourth are recovery nights, then you repeat the cycle,” says Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD, the creator of the skin cycling method.  

Just give me the summary...

Night 1 - Exfoliate.
Night 2 - Retinoid.
Night 3 and 4 - Moisturize and Recover.

How long should I follow the skin cycling method?

As for how long you should keep with your skin cycling regimin, Bowe recommends listening to your skin and keeping to the age old "consistency is better than frequency" rule of thumb. 

You can use this method as a reset whenever your skin is feeling tired, or you can use it indefinitely for consistent results. 

Some of our favorite products for skin cycling


Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant 
We love this as an exfoliator option because it is designed to be used daily - this means it may be more gentle on sensitive skin than others. It is also a physical exfoliant, which makes it easy to control how much or little exfoliating power you want!

Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant for Skin Cycling

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Another exfoliating favorite that is a bit more pocket-book friendly is Paula's Choice! This option uses a combination of acids to effectively and quickly exfoliate pores, so make sure to wear sunscreen after use!

Paula's Choice Liquid Exfoliator for Skin Cycling
A more natural option to exfoliate is Cocokind's sea moss exfoliator! Full of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins that help nourish the skin along with big exfoliating power. It also comes in a recyclable glass bottle to minimize waste.
Cocokind Exfoliant for skin cycling
This retinoid is made without parabens or sulfates and is vegan! As with any retinoid, it is best to wear sunscreen daily after use as these products make skin more sensitive to UV radiation.


The Ordinary Retinoid for skin cycling
This is a great option for more sensitive skin as it is a gentler retinol with a creamy texture. Their packaging is made with PCR (post consumer recycled) plastic so you can feel good about an eco-friendly option!


Versed Gentle Retinol for Skin Cycling
We promise this isn't just your grandma's retinol! RoC serums have been a most-loved retinol solution for decades and we love it just as much today. Great for skin cycling or daily use alike.


RoC retinol serum for skin cycling




Dermalogica Active Moist, Oil-Free Moisturizer

With it's oil-free ingredients list, this is a great option for all skin types! Super creamy consistency that feels luxurious on skin, especially after your first two skin cycling steps.

Skin Cycling Moisturizer Dermalogica

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Moisturizer

An amazing option for recovery after skin cycling! This moisturizing cream is designed to create a replenishing barrier on skin that protects from stressors and let skin rejuvenate quickly.

Drunk Elephant Moisturizer for skin cycling



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