Not all TikTok skincare trends can be trusted but skin cycling, one of the platform’s most popular viral trends, is actually dermatologist-developed and approved.

Skin cycling helps to streamline skincare routines and allows people to add ingredients such as acid and retinol into their routines with less risk of irritation. It doesn’t involve crazy ingredients or unconventional applications and instead, promotes a simple and strategic method that’s both effective and easy to follow.

Because we like to keep you up to date with the skincare industry’s trends, in this blog post we explain what skin cycling is, the benefits of the concept and the things you need to consider before trying it out.


Skin cycling balances the use of different active ingredients with allowing the skin to rest over a four-day period. It is a great way to help your skin get the most out of active ingredients like acid exfoliations and retinol whilst minimising irritation with needed recovery nights.  Skin cycling should be carried out on an evening and a typical four-night cycle includes using an exfoliator on night one, a retinol on night two and then two consecutive rest nights when no active ingredients are applied on the skin. Skin cycling gives skin both the time it needs to build up its tolerance to active ingredients and the time it needs to regenerate and overall, helps to improve skin health.


Skin cycling is a customised approach to skincare and promotes tailoring your routine to your skin’s unique needs so you can achieve better results. There are many benefits to skin cycling and a calmer, softer and more hydrated complexion can be achieved after just two cycles. Staying consistent with skin cycling is important as it can take a few months to see improvements in skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and breakouts.


Skin cycling is split into three phases. The protective phase is when you focus on exfoliation, the corrective phase is when you treat skin with ingredients such as retinol and the regenerative phase, which is focused on hydrating and repairing the skin.

A typical skin cycling routine starts with using an exfoliator on night one to remove dead skin cells, unclog pores and improve the skin’s texture and tone. Whether you want to use a chemical or physical exfoliant depends on your skin type and its unique needs. This step also helps to improve the skin’s barrier function and helps to maintain a dewy and hydrated glow.

Night two is all about treating the skin with active ingredients like retinol. Retinol is one of the most powerful ingredients to use in your routine and is a form of vitamin A which helps stimulate cell renewal and the skin’s natural production of collagen. This step can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and breakouts. Retinol can easily irritate the skin so if you’re new to using it, we recommend taking it slow and only using a small amount to start with and applied on top of your moisturiser.

Night three and four is all about hydrating and repairing the skin so this is when products that feature skin-loving ingredients that support cell renewal and overall skin health like antioxidants and peptides should be used, instead of active ingredients. On the rest nights of a skin cycling routine, use a gentle cleanser and if your skin needs an extra boost of hydration, you can use a hyaluronic acid serum or our deeply hydrating Ultra Hydro Plumping Mask, then follow with a moisturiser.

Remember, the first step in any skincare routine should always be a cleanser to make sure the skin is clean and the final step should always be a moisturiser.


As with all skincare routines, it is important to understand your unique skin type and its specific needs before trying out something new. People with oily or combination skin can benefit from the use of exfoliants and retinol the most but if your skin is easily irritated, a skin cycling routine should be approached with caution. If you’re not seeing results from your current skincare routine, you could also benefit from skin cycling as over time, the skin can become accustomed to the same product which will affect the efficacy and slow down your results. By taking a cycling approach, you can avoid this plateau by giving your skin the opportunity to rest and reset.


Adding new products to your routine comes with the risk of sensitivity and irritation, especially if you are adding an active ingredient like retinol which can be harsh on the skin. People with sensitive or problem skin should avoid using two active ingredients in one week to begin with. If you fall into this category, start with one active ingredient a week and seeing how your skin reacts. Then, once your skin has built up its tolerance, you can assess if a second can be added. When switching up your skincare routine it is always advised to discuss with a dermatologist first and of course, using good quality skincare will make a difference to the results you will experience.


Whether you’re skin cycling or not, it is always important to listen to your skin’s unique needs, protect it with SPF and keep it hydrated. Because of our lifestyles and the environments that we live in, dehydrated skin is one of the most common skin issues which if not treated, can lead to a range of skin concerns such as problem skin. Adding our Ultra Hydro Plumping mask into your routine just twice a week will help retain your skin’s natural moisture levels so you can enjoy immediate and long-lasting hydration. Formulated with high-quality ingredients such as sodium polyglutamate and sodium lactate, this mask is also perfect to add to your skin cycling routine.

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