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Introducing Skin Cycling, TikTok’s Latest Derm-Approved Skin Care Trend

A measured approach to your routine.

Originally Published: 

It seems like every day there’s a new skincare routine, secret, or product that goes viral on TikTok. But with so much noise, it can often be hard to determine what’s worth trying and what we should be scrolling past. However, the latest viral TikTok skincare trend is not only dermatologist-approved but created by a dermatologist herself. Dermatologist and TikTok creator, Dr. Whitney Bowe, founder of Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty coining the new phrase, “skin cycling” as a way of thinking about managing your weekly skin care routine. Bowe says a set routine, using different products (or not using products) throughout the week can transform your skin, especially if you suffer from acne, rosacea, eczema, brown spots, sensitive skin, or mature skin.

Bowe has been posting about skin cycling for months, with many viral videos explaining the process. It’s about balancing using potentially irritating ingredients with all-important “recovery nights”. The general skin cycle includes: exfoliating on the first night and using a retinoid the next night, followed by two recovery nights using only moisturizing ingredients (in that exact order), and repeating the process. The routine is already getting picked up and raved about by other creators on the app, with one creator saying she has “not gotten more compliments on her skin” since starting the skin cycling routine “a couple of months ago.” She says her skin now looks like “an Instagram filter,” and called Bowe’s four-step repeatable process a game-changer.

What seems like a simple routine can have many variations depending on personal skincare preferences. So Bowe has also created more detailed follow-up posts addressing how to skin cycle with oily skin or how to slug on your two recovery days. In one video, she shared how to start the process, recommending using a leave-on exfoliation on night one and using a protective cream in sensitive areas before applying the retinoid on night two.

Dr. Bowe says you should start to see improvements in skin radiance and overall glow by just two cycles (8 days). After two weeks, she says your skin will start to feel and look more hydrated and, if you continue to skincare for two months, fine lines will become less noticeable and skin will look and feel more firm. With results like that, it’s easy to see why the skin cycling routine is going viral on TikTok, with new creators trying and reviewing the four-step process every day.

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