The 4-day Skin Week

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The Skin Cycling trend is a refreshing answer to all the questions and concerns raised in the skincare community around the 20-step skincare regime that flooded social media over the past couple of years. The ‘less is more’ approach – with over 200 million video views on Tik Tok – promises to help repair your skin barrier, reduce negative effects of actives-rich products and prep and protect your skin all-year round, whatever the weather.  


To start nightly skin cycling, in addition to your favourite cleanser you’ll need an exfoliator containing glycolic or salicylic acid; a retinoid (think retinol or retinaldehyde); and a moisturiser that goes hand in hand with you getting your beauty sleep.  

Simply put; on night one you’ll exfoliate, on night two you’ll use an active ingredient, and nights three and four will be recovery nights. Then, excuse the pun, you’ll simply rinse and repeat, doing the 4-day cycle over and over until it becomes second nature. 


After you’ve cleansed, you’re going to pat your skin dry and apply an exfoliator. This is the first step, for good reason. The cleaner the slate, the fresher the fresh start. By removing dead skin cells and unclogging the surface layer of your skin, you give your other products a head start, rolling out the welcome mat for them to penetrate the skin deeply and do the job they’ve been brought in to do. After exfoliating, apply a moisturiser and enjoy glow-getting skin cell turnover while you turn off the lights and get some shut-eye.  

TIP: Opt for a chemical exfoliant rather than a physical scrub to avoid rover-scrubbing which will lead to redness and irritation . 


Vitamin A derivatives that improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, Retinoids are the ‘heavy lifters’ of your skin cycling routine; this powerful ingredient is highly effective but, like Peter Parker famously said, with great power comes great responsibility. Because retinoids can cause irritation when first introduced, after cleansing and patting the skin dry we recommend moisturising around sensitive areas, like under your eyes and in the corners of your nose, before applying the retinoid.  

Tip: If your skin is still feeling dry after applying your retinoid of choice, moisturise again, on top of the retinoid. 


Just like a fitness regime, rest days are critical to achieving your desired results. A successful skin cycling regime requires as much commitment to the active days as the recovery days. So, on nights three and four you’re going to steer clear of the exfoliating acids, retinoids and any other irritating ingredients, and instead focus on nourishing your skin microbiome and repairing your skin barrier. The key words on these nights are hydration and moisture, so after cleansing your skin you’re going to apply a hydrating serum and then your moisturiser. 

Tip: On these nights, don’t pat your skin dry after cleansing, leave it a little damp to really enable your lotions and potions to seal in that precious moisture.  


If you’ve been reading this and thinking, “I’d like to give this skin cycling thing a try”, chat to your Skin Renewal therapist or doctor about tailoring a personalised skin cycling routine to you, your skin type and your skin concerns. For example, if you’re experiencing sensitivity and irritation, you may need three recovery nights instead of two. On the flip side, if you’re no newbie to retinoids and want to dial it up, you may see the benefits of just one recovery night, not two, making your #skincycling a three-day regime.  

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