Dermatologist details why skin cycling is the perfect four-day routine that leaves your skin glowing


The latest skincare trend is not only dermatologist approved, but created by a dermatologist herself and will get your skin glowing without even a swipe of concealer needed. 

Dr. Whitney Bowe, 43, from New York, dermatologist and founder of Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty, coined the term ‘skin cycling,’ and turned it into TikTok’s most latest skincare trend that has users obsessed. 

The board certified dermatologist has sworn by her four-day skin cycling routine for creating a youthful complexion while simplifying your weekly skincare regimen. 

Her four-day process includes an exfoliation night, a retinoid night and two recovery nights. 

In a viral video, which racked up over 719,000 views, the dermatologist broke down exactly how to achieve radiant skin with her skin cycling routine in just two cycles or eight days. 

Dr. Whitney Bowe, 43, dermatologist and founder of Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty, coined the term 'skin cycling,' and turned it into TikTok's most latest skincare trend

Dr. Whitney Bowe, 43, dermatologist and founder of Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty, coined the term ‘skin cycling,’ and turned it into TikTok’s most latest skincare trend

The New Yorker has sworn by her four-day skin cycling routine for creating a youthful complexion while simplifying your weekly skincare regimen using her Bowe Beauty products

The New Yorker has sworn by her four-day skin cycling routine for creating a youthful complexion while simplifying your weekly skincare regimen using her Bowe Beauty products

She explains that night one starts with exfoliation followed by a moisturizer

She explains that night one starts with exfoliation followed by a moisturizer

Night one: Exfoliation night 

Night one of Dr. Bowe’s routine starts with exfoliation. 

In her video, Bowe explains you should begin by cleansing your skin and then patting dry. 

She then recommends you use a leave-on exfoliating product over a wash off product because it’s ‘more effective.’

The board certified dermatologist also advises against using psychical exfoliants such as those made with ‘gritty scrubs’ because they are harsh and can create damage to the skin barrier. 

If your skin starts burning after putting on the exfoliant, Bowe recommends washing it off. 

If it starts tingling, Bowe actually says this is a sign it’s working and to wait until the tingling completely subsides and then follow up with a fragrance-free moisturizer to repair your skin barrier. 

Bowe recommends using her Bowe Glowe Microbiome Nourishing Cream as a moisturizer to rebalance your skin. 

Night two: Retinoid night 

On the second night, Bowe tells users to opt for a gentle retinoid cream after cleansing

On the second night, Bowe tells users to opt for a gentle retinoid cream after cleansing 

On the second night, Bowe tells users to once again cleanse and pat dry, making sure the skin is completely dry to avoid ‘irritation with retinoid.’ 

Choosing a retinol based on your skin type is key to nailing the skin cycle routine. 

She continues by telling users who are new to retinol to add just one drop of the product under their eye, one drop on the corner of their mouth and one drop on their neck. 

She explains that these drops act as ‘buffers’ and ensure users won’t have any reactions to them. 

After waiting a minute or two to ensure there is no allergic reaction, Bowe gives the green light to put on the retinol. 

The board certified dermatologist explains ‘less is more’ when it comes to retinol and says users should cover their entire face and dab it throughout. 

Then, use one pea size drop on your neck and two drops on your chest and rub it in. 

After rubbing in the retinol she recommends waiting a minute or two and if your skin still feels ‘tight or dry,’ to add more moisturizer. 

She also notes that if you aren’t an active retinol user you should begin with retinoids with lower levels of retinol and once your skin adapts you can go user higher levels. 

Nights three and four: Recovery nights

Bowe says nights and four are recovery nights and allow your skin to reset

Bowe says nights and four are recovery nights and allow your skin to reset

Bowe dubs nights and four as recovery nights and adds that they are extremely important as they allow your skin to reset. 

She says on those nights you should begin by cleansing your face and leaving it just slightly damp to prepare for the next step. 

After that, she adds that you should put on a hydrating serum that contains nourishing ingredients like glycerin and niacinamide to fortify the skin barrier. 

After your serum, you should use a moisturizer to rebalance and replenish your skin. 

She adds that if you’re skin is still feeling dry after putting on moisturizer, you should use a few drops of rosehip oil to help it recover. 

Bowe notes that over-exfoliating can cause irritation to your skin and focusing on recovery nights will help your skin bounce back. 

There are many benefits to skin cycling, including strengthening your skin barrier, which helps to minimize irritation and inflammation. 

It’s also a simplified recipe for healthier skincare that leaves your skin looking youthful and radiant without any makeup required. 

One user who goes by @_eaden , has called Bowe's four-step process a 'game changer'

Another user who goes by @skin.wiz , has called skin cycling the 'key to model skin'

 One user who goes by @_eaden , has called Bowe’s four-step process a ‘game changer’ and another user who goes by @skin.wiz , has called skin cycling the ‘key to model skin’

User @michellezoltan posted a video revealing skin cycling 'transformed [her] sensitive acne prone skin,' and called the process 'life changing'

User @michellezoltan posted a video revealing skin cycling ‘transformed [her] sensitive acne prone skin,’ and called the process ‘life changing’

And although the skincare trend comes with many benefits, it’s not a surefire way to prevent irritation and inflammation. 

Dr. Bowe created her own product - the Bowe Glowe Microbiome Nourishing Cream - which was designed especially for skin cycling

Dr. Bowe created her own product – the Bowe Glowe Microbiome Nourishing Cream – which was designed especially for skin cycling

Those who have sensitive skin, specifically a sensitivity to retinol, may need to start with extremely low levels to allow their skin to adjust. 

However, even when using products with low levels of retinol, those with sensitive skin may still experience some side effects, including redness, irritation and dryness.  

Bowe has been posting about skin cycling for months, with multiple viral videos explaining the four-day routine. 

And her regimen has other users on TikTok raving about the benefits of skin cycling. 

One user who goes by @_eaden, has called Bowe’s four-step process a ‘game changer’ and says her skin now looks like ‘an Instagram filter.’ 

Another user who goes by @skin.wiz, has called skin cycling the ‘key to model skin,’ and says everyone ‘should try skin cycling.’ 

User @michellezoltan posted a video revealing skin cycling ‘transformed [her] sensitive acne prone skin,’ and called the process ‘life changing.’  

Snap ’em up! All the products you need for a skin cycling routine 



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