What is the Skin Cycling Trend? Your Go-To Guide

Have you heard about the skin cycling routine? With over 3.5 billion TikTok views – and counting! – the skincare trend is fast transforming into a phenomenon. But what actually is it? And how does it work for your unique skin type? Here, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about skin cycling at home…

Skin Cycling Explained

This dermatologist-approved routine has nothing to do with spinning class; the only cycling you’ll be doing is with your everyday formulas. While applying layer after layer of serums, actives and creams has long been the norm for skincare lovers, skin cycling sees you use just one potent treatment per night, which switches from day to day.

By doing this, your skin gets the chance to soak up active ingredients at their most potent, with no other skincare products acting as a barrier. There are also ‘recovery nights’ involved, which give your pores a chance to relax and recharge. These breaks are especially good for sensitive skin that may get overworked in the face of supercharged acids and chemical exfoliants.

This is what the cycle looks like:

Night 1: Exfoliant
Night 2: Retinoid
Nights 3 and 4: Rest days

What are the Benefits of Skin Cycling?

Those giving the trend a go have reported fewer acne breakouts, softened wrinkles and more even skin tone, all thanks to a more mindful approach to how they use their products.

Less reactive skin is an additional benefit of trying skin cycling, allowing you to embrace strong ingredients in a way that makes them more tolerable to your pores. With all potent formulas, we recommend you introduce them slowly, then gradually dial up applications as your skin gets used to the concentrated ingredients. The concept of skin cycling encourages a more structured way of easing into a new skin care routine, but the difference is, you take this ‘softly softly’ approach on a daily basis.

Try it, and you might even discover that your dry, dehydrated, oily, irritated or acne-prone skin was the result of layering too many products at one time. We recommend giving your skin cycle routine at least one month to work, so your complexion has a chance to get used to the brand new ritual.

To create your own skin cycling routine, you can follow the product tips below or ask your Mallucci expert for a VISIA Skin Analysis. Like a ‘complexion x-ray’, it measures your skin’s vital stats, including pore size, texture, fine lines, wrinkles, UV damage and bacteria levels. Using your unique analysis, our team can then give you bespoke product recommendations that are tailored to your skin type, and continue to track the effects of your new routine with follow-up appointments.

Now Try This Four-Night Cycle:

Night 1: Use an Exfoliant

We don’t mean a face scrub. What you want is a liquid chemical exfoliant, like salicylic acid or glycolic acid, infused in a toner or serum. These kind-to-pores acids boost skin cell turnover to sweep dull, dry, dead skin cells away, while unclogging pores to regulate oily or acne-prone complexions. What you’re left with is fresh, new, healthy skin cells that are ready to soak up the rest of your skincare routine.
Your perfect product: ZO Exfoliation Accelerator, which is packed with glycolic and lactic acid to slough dead cells away, plus aloe, green tea and chamomile to soothe and hydrate. Apply to clean, dry skin at night, allow it to absorb, then follow with a moisturiser and head to bed.

Night 2: Apply a Retinoid

On night two of your skin cycling routine, treat your pores to a retinoid. This vitamin A derivative speeds up cell turnover and supports collagen production to further renew and replenish skin. Retinoids are famously concentrated, and always require a softly-softly approach when you’re starting out. So, if you’re new to these pore-perfecting powerhouses, apply a moisturiser first to act as a buffer for your skin.
Your perfect product: ZO Retinol Skin Brightener, which comes in two strengths: 0.25% and 0.5%. Start with 0.25% and see how your skin tolerates it. If you feel your complexion can handle it later on, increase to 0.5%. For expert advice, speak to your Mallucci practitioner about which retinol product is right for you.

Nights 3 and 4: Take Rest Days

Treat skin to two recovery days, where you hold off on exfoliation and retinoids. On these evenings, your goal is to nourish the skin barrier with dewy serums and rich, hydrating creams. You can leave skin damp from cleansing before you gently pat on these comforting formulas, which will allow them to deeply penetrate the skin’s lower layers.

Your perfect products: SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier and iS Clinical Moisture Complex. The HA Intensifier is packed with hyaluronic acid to quench thirsty pores, while the Moisture Complex seals in hydration with an anti-oxidant rich barrier. If you have any areas of redness or irritation, dab on the iS Clinical SHEALD Recovery Balm to comfort and repair compromised skin. Once you’ve completed your two rest days, repeat the four-day cycle again.

Every Morning: SPF

By day, after using night-time acid exfoliators and retinoids, it’s important to apply a high protection sunscreen, as skin will be more vulnerable to UV damage. Try iS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF 40, which veils your complexion in an invisible UVA/UVB shield, while keeping pores soft, smooth and hydrated. Apply over your face cream, then top it up throughout the day.

Up next: Find out how you can enhance your new skincare routine by reaping the benefits of HydraFacials.

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