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Skin Cycling: The Deets on this Derm-Approved TikTok Trend

Skin Cycling: The Deets on this Derm-Approved TikTok Trend

Lately, it feels like every day there’s a new skincare routine, beauty trend, or skincare product that goes viral on TikTok and other social media platforms. But sometimes, it can be difficult to decide when to try a trend or when to scroll past it.

One trend that’s exploding on TikTok right now is skin cycling. No doubt, you’ve seen numerous TikTok videos demonstrating how to try the trend at home. The question you need to ask is whether or not it’s dermatologist-approved.

Here’s everything you should know about skin cycling, from what it is to what the derms think to how to do it at home.

 

WHAT IS SKIN CYCLING?

The newest TikTok trend turning heads right now is “skin cycling.”

"Skin cycling is a deliberate and strategic way to bring your nighttime skincare routine to the next level," says Dr. Whitney Bowe, NYC-based dermatologist.

It involves limiting the use of active ingredients and exfoliants to just two nights a week in order to promote skin health and minimize irritation. And according to Bowe, it’s especially effective for those dealing with acne, eczema, rosacea, discoloration, or sensitive skin.

The skin cycling routine includes exfoliating on the first night, applying a retinoid the next night, and then having two recovery nights using purely moisturizing ingredients. This way, your skin can reap the skincare benefits of chemical exfoliants and retinoids without causing irritation.

Since we’re all using more actives like retinol, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and glycolic acid, skin cycling is a way to enjoy the benefits of these skincare ingredients while avoiding overburdening your skin. And it’s a routine every skin type can benefit from!

 

BENEFITS OF SKIN CYCLING

One of the biggest benefits of skin cycling is that you get to enjoy the effects that active ingredients like retinol bring without overdoing it — which can lead to dryness, flaking, and irritation. Overusing these actives can also weaken the skin barrier, leaving it further prone to issues like dryness, redness, and inflammation.

As dermatologist Dr. Peter Young, MD, puts it, we’re all guilty of using more than one product a day in the hope of improving our complexion faster. Unfortunately, going too heavy on the actives too quickly can have adverse effects.

“Too many products on your skin, especially anti-aging products, can cause irritation, and actually make you look older,” explains Dr. Young. “Therefore, it's best to space out active ingredients like retinoids and exfoliants in your weekly skincare routine."

By adopting a skin cycling regimen, you’ll start to see less visible fine lines, firmer skin, and lightened dark spots within the first two months of cycling.

 

HOW TO SKIN CYCLE

Here’s a skin cycling routine you can try today to pave the way to better, healthier skin.

 

Night #1: Exfoliate

After using your usual cleanser, go in with a chemical exfoliator. It could be another cleanser, toner, or serum. Either way, make sure it contains a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid. These will gently lift dead skin cells, excess oil, and impurities, giving skin an instant glow while treating skin concerns like hyperpigmentation.

After exfoliating, apply a lightweight fragrance-free moisturizer that supports skin barrier repair. Avoid using anything too heavy or greasy, since this may cause breakouts, oiliness, and irritation. You should also avoid slugging on exfoliation night, as occlusives like Vaseline can enhance the absorption of acids, making them more irritating.

Product pickCBD Jelly Toning Solution

 

Night #2: Apply a Retinoid

On night two, apply a small amount of retinol serum after cleansing. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that’s proven to boost collagen and elastin product while speeding up cell turnover to address uneven skin texture, blemishes, and discoloration.

If you’ve never used retinol before, make sure you start with a low concentration to allow your skin to adjust. You’ll find retinol in a range of beauty products, including serums, toners, and creams.

Product pick: Purple Rain Facial Oil

 

Nights #3 & #4: Let Skin Recover

These are your recovery nights — aka, a chance for your skin to bounce back from the two previous nights. On recovery nights, focus on nourishing your skin with soothing, repairing skincare products enriched with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane, and aloe. Even if you have oily skin or acne-prone skin, steer clear of chemicals. Give your skin time to just chillax.

Product pickCream Skin Face Moisturizer

 

Repeat

After the fourth night, you can start again with the cycle. According to Dr. Bowe, you should start seeing results from skin cycling in as little as eight days. However, she insists that you do need to be consistent with your routine in order to see results. You’ll also want to make sure you’re still applying sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to keep your skin protected during the day. In the meantime, avoid using DIY formulas and hacks, as these can also be irritating to skin.

 

SHOULD YOU TRY THIS TIKTOK SKINCARE TREND?

From what the derms say, skin cycling can benefit all skin types. That said, you might need to customize your cycle a little depending on your skin concerns. For example, if you have fine lines and wrinkles, you can bump up the strength of your retinoid on night two. If you have eczema or rosacea, you can add in an additional recovery night to give your skin extra time to heal and prevent freaking out your skin.

 

Now you have all the deets on this beauty trend, you might wanna give it a try for yourself. While there’s also something new in the beauty world, from what celebs and influencers are using to new hacks, skin cycling might be one to stick around. Be sure to use your fave Truly products when skin cycling to get the best possible results. And just to throw in a little extra positivity: if you start today, you can look forward to better skin by this time next week.

 

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