When it comes to viral trends, we tend to be a bit cautious about buying into widely shared information without digging into the validity of the claim. When skin cycling caught our attention—a regimen that has attracted 90 million+ views on TikTok— we thought it was worth a deeper investigation.

The internet can be a tricky place for assessing movements in the skincare industry — especially on platforms that benefit from movements that warrant marketable quick fixes. With claims stating that skin cycling has transformed user skin, we were intrigued.

Skin cycling came into existence through Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist in New York. The practice of isolating products with specific active ingredients isn’t new — dermatologists look to controlled use in order to amplify impact.

Skin cycling encourages a shift towards more limited, targeted products, rather than accumulating a large collection of products that aren’t always synonymous with each other. We see it as an opportunity to relearn how to approach skincare. Rather than the aggressive layering of products with active ingredients, skin cycling recognizes that actives need space and time for impact — with supportive hydration and rest as an essential tool. Note that this approach could be irritating for more sensitive skin.

Night 1: Exfoliation

Start with a deep cleansing — then exfoliate

Exfoliation as a practice helps remove dead skin cells and stimulate collagen production. It’s an essential step in creating a blank canvas, so to speak, to enhance the impact of the rest of the skin cycle.

When selecting chemical exfoliants, be sure to reach for anti-inflammatory acids: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or lactic acid.

Night 2: Retinol

Use a pea-sized amount of retinol

Retinol is harsh. Period. They’re also really impactful, which is why they are loved.

As a vitamin-A-based product, retinol is known for helping skin reduce visible aging through the increased production of collagen. By stimulating cell turnover, retinol helps reduce fine lines, dark spots, and acne.[1] We recommend gravitating to products with Vitamin C and ceramides to integrate hydration when possible.

Note that if your skin is sensitive or dry, retinoids may not be the best choice. If you have sensitive skin, be sure to moisturize before applying.

When used frequently, retinol is known to inflame and irritate skin — they also make skin sensitive to the sun.

Night 3+4: Recovery

Generously hydrate skin 2-3 nights in a row, depending on your skin type. Cleanse skin prior to applying products.

Hydration and support will balance the previous exfoliation acids and retinol. The idea is to choose products that will deeply repair and hydrate the skin barrier.

Face masks — like the Hydro-Glow Face Mask — offer that delicious moisture ideal for offsetting exfoliation and retinol. Paired with the Hemp Seed Barrier Repair Facial Oil, rich in supportive hemp seed and fatty acids that soothe inflamed skin while modulating oil production, the skin barrier will easily recover.

Hemp Seed Oil, AlMAdeLIA’s hero ingredient, is naturally rich in Vitamin C and helps encourage supple and dewy skin. This duo is an ideal pair to offset the impact of Day 1+2 of Skin Cycling.


[1] health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/do-retinoids-really-reduce-wrinkles