Why Skin Cycling Could be the Key to Your Best Ever Skin by NUME-Lab Switzerland

Skin Cycling

Skin cycling is a recent TikTok trend first introduced by Dr. Whitney Bowe. With close to 1M followers at this point, Dr. Bowe patiently explains the benefits of a nighttime cycling routine that allows your skin time to recuperate and regenerate after so many harsh products. 


Of course, we’re all for using great skincare products. However, since our mission is clean beauty and sustainability in skincare, we also understand the importance of letting your skin breathe and giving it a rest. 

And, this is precisely what Dr. Bowe has in mind with her skin cycling routine. But, what exactly is it and how can we do it in practice?

Let’s jump right in and see! 

Table of Contents

skincare cycling by numelab

What Is Skin Cycling?

Skin cycling is a term coined by Dr. Bowe, used to explain a nighttime routine of alternating “actives” and “recoveries”. More precisely, Dr. Bowe recommends alternating or cycling 4 nights – exfoliation night, retinoid night, and two recovery nights with a focus on moisturizing and strengthening the skin barrier. Then, the cycle starts from the beginning.

The Skin Cycling Nighttime Routine

The skin cycling trend places most of its attention on the nighttime routine, as it’s the best time for your skin to absorb actives. Let’s look at the four skin cycling nights and see what to use each night.


Night 1: Exfoliation

You should start your cycle with chemical exfoliants such as AHAs or BHAs rather than physical ones that can be too harsh on your skin. 

According to Dr. Bowe, chemical exfoliators will “give your skin an immediate glow and set the stage for the following night”. So, there’s a good reason why exfoliation night is before retinol night – prepping your skin for better absorption. 

For the best results, we recommend sticking to non-toxic brands and clean beauty ingredients. NUME-Lab’s Resurfacing Night Peel Serum would be the perfect product for this stage. 

The Resurfacing Serum is formulated for nightly use, and it contains snail mucin and 10% of glycolic acid, which help fade scars and dark spots, resurface the upper skin layer, and boost collagen production.


Night 2: Retinoids

Dr. Bowe reserves the second night for retinoids (retinol, vitamin A). She notes that retinol is one of the most powerful ingredients we could use, but it needs to be used in moderation. 

Using retinol too often or layering retinol with other chemical actives could result in skin inflammation, irritation, and damaging the natural oil barrier on your skin. 

That’s why retinoids are used only on this night in the 4-day skin cycle.


Night 3 and 4: Recovery

The third and fourth night of your skin cycling and recovery nights. What does this mean? 

Recovery nights are used to restore your skin barrier, moisturize your skin, and generally nourish your skin. 

So, for these two nights, we will skip all exfoliating and abrasive actives and focus on gentle moisturizers. Instead, we will focus on ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, snail mucin extract, and similar. 

A great product for nights three and four is NUME-Lab’s Advanced Renewal Face Cream which contains 5% of Snail Mucin, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and vitamins to nourish your skin.

Morning Routine

According to Dr. Bowe, it’s best to keep your morning routine streamlined and simple so that you can keep it up in the long run. So, we don’t have any cycling morning routines. Instead, a clean beauty routine composed of:

Naturally, depending on your skin type and skin condition, you can modify these products accordingly. However, try to stick to a minimalist skincare morning routine that won’t suffocate your skin.

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Fast Fact:

Skin Cycle is four nighttime routines – exfoliation, retinoids, recovery, recovery

The Benefits of Skin Cycling

Now, let’s look at why skin cycling became such a viral TikTok trend and why it worked so well for everyone who tried it:

Prevents irritation and inflammation

The number one benefits you’ll see from skin cycling is calmer, softer skin with less irritation and inflammation. By avoiding abrasive actives for two nights in a row and replacing them with healing and barrier-strengthening ingredients, you restore your skin microbiome balance.

Gets the most out of every product

The next benefit is that you’ll get the most use out of each active ingredient. The way nights cycle in this trend is not a coincidence. For instance, the exfoliating night is set before the retinol night to prep the skin and allow better penetration for the retinol the following night. 

Additionally, Dr. Bowe has considered that retinol is a harsh ingredient, resulting in the need to follow with two recovery nights in a row.

Flexible and adjustable to all skin types

Last but not least, skin cycling is a routine that can be adjusted to different skin types. So, if you have oily skin or acne-prone skin, you might not need the second recovery night. Instead, it might be beneficial to do a 3-night skin cycling (exfoliation, retinol, recovery, repeat). 

On the other hand, if you have dry skin or sensitive skin, you can add another recovery night and turn it into a 5-night skin cycle.

Key Takeaways

  • Skin cycling is a TikTok trend coined by Dr. Bowe and it entails cycling four nighttime routines – exfoliation, retinoids, recovery, recovery;
  • During the recovery nights, avoid abrasive or exfoliating ingredients, and stick to moisturizing, hydrating, repairing, and barrier-protecting actives like hyaluronic acid, snail mucus extract, ceramides, etc.;
  • Skin cycling can be modified to fit different skin concerns and skin types;
  • Skin cycling helps you get the most out of every product you use by strategically prepping the skin and giving it time to recover;
  • Skin cycling prevents skin irritation and inflammation;

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