Skin Cycling: What is it and How Can it Upgrade Your Routine?
Thrive Blog

Skin Cycling: What is it and How Can it Upgrade Your Routine?

Skin cycling reminds us that skincare does not have to be over complicated and filled with dozens of products. With the use of technique and consistency, you can maximize the benefits of your products.


What it is?

Skin cycling functions by rotating the products in your nightly skin regime to boost the best results. The term was coined by Dr. Whitney Bowe, who is a board-certified dermatologist and scientist based in New York. You may have heard of the viral skincare routine already, as it is a popular way of obtaining and maintaining optimal skin health. That said, the routine operates on a four-day cycle, each day serving a different purpose. According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, skin cycling, "encourages you to use products in a strategic way to compliment one another."

3 Key Products:


  • Exfoliate

  • Retinol

  • Moisturizer


The Routine Breakdown:

Night 1: Exfoliation

The first night of the routine is all about your exfoliant. When you exfoliate the skin you are actively removing dead skin and encouraging cell turnover. Everyone has a different skin type, so the exfoliant that works best for you could come in the form of a mask, serum, scrub, and so on. In conjunction with your other products, the order of your routine for this night would look something like: cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize.


Night 2: Retinol

Retinol can be imitating to those that are not familiar with using it. Dr. Whitney Bowe explains that some skin types can handle retinol more frequently than others, but if you are using one that works well with your skin and the right frequency, it can be a game changer. Retinol is well known for evening skin tone, smoothing fine lines, and decreasing breakouts. Your routine for this night might look something like: cleanse, retinol, and moisturize.

Night 3/4: "Rest Days"

Lastly, as Three Ships mentions, these are considered "rest days" for the skin barrier to recover from the treatments on night 1 and 2. It is all about hydration and nourishment on these days which often means water and oil based serums that replenish moisture in the skin. Your routine might look something like: water-based serum before moisturizer and oil-based serum for after moisturizer. Again, skin tolerance is different for everyone and you could incorporate the water and oil based serum step on both nights if that works for you.


Night 5:

Repeat the cycle.




Whenever you are trying something new, its good to listen to your skin and always adjust accordingly. The key to this routine and gaining the most benefits is consistency. We hope you try it out, happy skincare!


(2022, August 11). Classic Skin Cycling: Why It's Gone Viral and How to Do It. DWB.

(n.d.). Results from the inside out and the outside in. DWB.

(2022, November 1). Skin Cycling: Everything You Need to Know About the Latest Skincare Trend. Three Ships.

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