I am the first to admit that it is a love/hate affair for me. Although it is a time-consuming endeavor, it’s where I find the most popular viral beauty trends. I have tried many Korean beauty products and skin-slugging techniques, including GrandeLash Serum, skin slugging, hair-slugging, GrandeLash Serum, face massaging tools, and Korean beauty products that I love. When skin cycling appeared on my feed, it was a surprise.

Although I love trying out new trends, they don’t always work. Why? There is no other reason than that I am sluggish when it comes down to my skin. No matter how much I wish I had the patience for a complete skincare routine, I need simplicity–something like Proven Skincare’s easy three-step system. If I don’t have the time, I can use a good facial wash, moisturizer, and a night cream at bedtime.

Elyse Love, a board-certified dermatologist, asked me if skin cycling is a temporary fad. She also shared her thoughts on the how-to’s and who should do it. Are you curious about skin cycling? Want to simplify your skin care regimen? Read on.

What is Skin Cycling?

If you are like me, you probably have a lot of skin serums, anti-aging creams, and other beauty “essentials” that you don’t need. It can be overwhelming to figure out which products you need when they should be used, and how often. The guesswork is eliminated with skin cycling.

Dr. Love explained that skin cycling is switching between exfoliating, hydrating, and retinol products on a nightly base. The classic cycle involves exfoliating products on the first day and retinol at night two, followed by one or two nights of hydrating. The process is then repeated for a second night.

What is Skin Cycling Trending?

Skin cycling is a popular trend on TikTok, with 179.2 million hashtag views. However, it’s not new. Dr. Love attributes its popularity to Dr. Wendy Bowe, a New York City dermatologist. Amy Peterson, a celebrity aesthetician and “Skincare Specialist of the Stars,” confirmed that skin cycling is a practice that has been used by skincare professionals for many years.

It works. That is why it is so popular. Dr. Love said she had seen many people with skin irritations and excessive exfoliation from using too many products. She points out that skin cycling is a way to use multiple products for your skin in moderation.

We tested it

Dr. Love says there are three critical ingredients to skin cycling: a moisturizer, a retinol, and an exfoliant. Dr. Love recommends that sensitive skin use products made for it. Dr. Love says sensitive skin shouldn’t have retinol and acid in their daily routine. Start slowly with an alternate moisturizer and gentle acid, then gradually add the retinol to the way once their skin has adjusted to the acid.

To begin, I decided whether I wanted a three or four-day cycle. I have normal skin, so Dr. Love explained that you could have one to two hydrating nights. I was okay with one. After hours of scouring Dr. Bowe’s Instagram page, I decided the recommended four-day cycle was for me. Day one is for exfoliation, while day two is for retinol. Days three and four are for rest, hydration, and hydration.

My regular cleanser and Foreo scrubber were used on my face the first night. I then used my favorite Paula’s Choice exfoliant. I followed that up with Obagi’s moisturizing cream before bed. Yep! It was that simple! It was easy! I don’t have sensitive skin, and I’ve been using the exfoliant for quite some time now. I didn’t feel any burning or tingling.

It would help if you skipped using the exfoliant the next night and instead applied retinol. If you’re new to retinol or have sensitive skin, Dr. Love suggests Obagi’s 1.0 Retinol or their Texturizing Cream. The routine was easy once again. After washing my face, I moisturized the serum on my skin. I don’t usually use retinol or serum on my face, but I felt no irritation.

The following two nights were quiet. I washed my skin and applied my moisturizer. That’s it. Dr. Love recommends that you continue using the products you already use. If you are like me and don’t use many products, that’s fine too. This cycle was repeated for just over a week. I continue it because Dr. Love reminds me that skin cycling is a long-term approach to skin care. It’s so easy that even I can keep up!

Yes! Dr. Love says skin cycling can be used to control how irritating actives are applied to the skin. She notes that moisture-rich products like eye creams and hydrating serums can be kept in the daily routine as long as needed.

Can skin cycling address skin issues such as dark circles, uneven skin tone, and blemishes?

Skin cycling reduces the need for acids and retinol and prevents irritation from over-exfoliating. Dr. Love claims you will notice a reduction in skin unevenness, blemishes, and dullness.