Exploring Skin Cycling

Exploring Skin Cycling

Exploring A/B Products
Skin cycling is a deliberate and structured skincare routine designed to minimize irritation and boost the efficacy of active ingredients. We explain how skin cycling can work for you!

What is skin cycling?

Skin cycling is a 4-night rotational skincare routine - 3 nights of alternating active products and 1 night of recovery.

The cycle of products should be guided by your skin type and condition but will rotate between an exfoliant, retinoid, and hydration/barrier repair product.


Example of a 4-night skin cycle routine

Night 1: Exfoliant
Night 2: Retinoid
Night 3: Hydration, barrier repair, and microbiome nourishment
Night 4: Recovery (no active ingredients)

Repeat from Night 1

The cycle only applies to your evening routine. Your morning product line-up can remain the same or be varied. Include an antioxidant serum, moisturizer and/or facial oil and SPF.

How does it benefit the skin?

The premise of skin cycling is allowing your skin to rest between the use of specific active ingredients. This delivers two key benefits:

Restoring and preventing barrier damage

The skin barrier is easily irritated with over-use and excessive layering of active products.

For example, the nightly application of an exfoliant-based product coupled with a retinoid will, before long, lead to redness, inflammation, flaking, and dryness.

In scaling back to follow a cycling pattern, the skin is allowed rest between active ingredients. The barrier will recover and respond positively to the pared-down routine.

Developing a deliberate and consistent routine

Just like working out, maintaining consistency with well-suited products is the secret to skin success. Inconsistent routines don’t deliver optimal results. Skin cycling encourages a deliberate approach to using the most supportive products for your skin concerns regularly.

Skin cycling step-by-step

Skin cycling does not dictate the specific products or ingredients to use, simply the type of product. Allow your selection to be guided by your skin type and concerns rather than the latest skincare trend.

Let’s take a closer look at each step and the associated benefits of a skin cycling routine.



The 4-day cycle begins with exfoliation and, repeating the cycle, equates to 2 weekly exfoliation sessions.

Benefits of exfoliation

Clears away pore-clogging debris to target congestion
Refines the appearance of pores
Stimulates cellular turnover
Brightens a dull complexion
Allows products to better penetrate the skin.

Depending on your concerns, you might opt for a chemical exfoliant, a physical exfoliant or a combination of both.

Acid and enzymatic exfoliants (chemical)

Known as chemical exfoliants these options work by dissolving dead cells and surface build-up to clear, smooth and brighten the skin. Acids include alpha hydroxy acids (for example - glycolic, lactic, and malic acid) and beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) and fruit enzymes include baobab fruit, papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin.

Physical exfoliants

Unlike chemical exfoliants, which dissolve impurities, the particles in physical exfoliants slough them off the skin. Examples include volcanic minerals, rice bran, bamboo, sugar, and salt, to name a few.

Excessive exfoliation is arguably the most common culprit behind a weak and sensitized complexion. Skin cycling allows you to judiciously regulate the use of exfoliants in your routine to respect the skin barrier.



Retinoids (Vitamin A) are profoundly beneficial in targeting signs of photodamage including loss of elasticity, age spots, sagging, and fine lines in addition to decongesting pores to curb acne.

The retinoid family comprises Vitamin A and its natural derivatives such as retinaldehyde, retinoic acid, and retinyl esters.

Benefits of retinoids

Boosts skin cell turnover
Improves skin texture and tone
Stimulates collagen production
Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
Is an effective acne treatment
Treats post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

When following the skin cycling routine, a retinoid is used twice weekly. Is this sufficient to achieve the benefits of a retinoid? Research tells us long-term use of retinol (up to 3 times per week) increases hydration and collagen to improve signs of fine lines and wrinkles.

If you have a sensitive skin type or are a retinol beginner, following a skin cycling routine can allow your skin to adapt gradually and gracefully to retinoids.

Doing so minimizes the side effects of drying, flaky, and irritated skin commonly associated with the introduction of retinol.


Hydration and barrier repair

This step focuses on promoting a hydrated, balanced and strong skin barrier; the foundation of a vibrant complexion.

Supportive ingredients include those designed to relieve signs of distress and restore lipid function, increase hydration, and nourish the microbiome.

Rooibos leaf extract: Calming and restorative
Marula Oil: Softens, soothes and maintains hydration
Hyaluronic acid: Offers intense hydration
Niacinamide: Soothing and strengthening
Cannabis sativa leaf extract: Calming and conditioning
Colloidal silver: Healing and anti-microbial
Peptides: Ease inflammation, repair, and even out skin tone
Ceramides: Fight transepidermal water loss