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Skin Cycling; A great technique for acne-prone, dull or hyperpigmented! Is it for you?

The term skin cycling, was coined by an American Dermatologist, Dr. Whitney Bowe, in her attempt to create an easy to understand skin care routine to incorporate exfoliants and retinols while reducing the risk of irritation. Then TikTok happened and skin care enthusiasts starting really talking about it! 

At The Summit, our Clinical Estheticians have been creating these skin care routines for years for the same reason. Here's a look at what it is, who it is for and would it be good for you PLUS a couple of bundled Skin Cycling programs if you want to try it today!

What is Skin Cycling?

Skin cycling is a four-part, nighttime skin care routine, designed to even skin tone, texture and clear breakouts.  

It is a four night routine with two nights of active exfoliant or renewing (retinol) treatments followed by two nights of recovery treatments. Your morning routine would stay the same but MUST include the daily use of an effective SPF product. This routine can also be brought down the neck and chest depending on skin sensitivity. 

Skin cycling is like "Retinol Sandwiching" with the shared purpose of getting great results without the risk of skin irritation. Inflammation is a trigger for many skin concerns. Using active exfoliants and retinols to improve skin conditions can actually worsen the condition, if the skin irritation and inflammation are not kept under control. If you are acne-prone and have tried a number of acne fighters, you are probably very aware of this!

Skin Cycling at The Summit Skin Care & Hair Removal


Benefits and who it is good for:

  • dull skin
  • hyperpigmented skin
  • acne-prone skin
  • enlarged pores
  • uneven skin tone and texture
  • helps repair skin barrier
  • avoids irritation when treating the above conditions
  • avoids over exfoliation
  • decreases the side effects of active ingredients

Who should avoid starting a Skin Cycling program?

  • If you are under a care program already by your Esthetician or Dermatologist.
  • If you wax, laser or do electrolysis on your face or eyebrows. 
  • If you have hypersensitive skin
  • If you are prone to eczema, rashes or rosacea ask your skin care professional before starting. 
  • If you have thin, fragile skin. 

How to Skin Cycle:

Products you need to Skin Cycle:

1. An AHA-based active exfoliant.

2. A retinol based cream

3. A hydrating repair treatment.

Steps for Skin Cycling:

After thorough cleansing each evening...

Night 1 - apply a AHA-based exfoliant. If your skin is particularly dry or dehydrated a moisturizer can be applied on top after 5-10 minutes. Do not slug it with an occlusive product.

Night 2 - apply retinol-based cream. Apply a moisturizer on top if your skin is feeling dry.Do not slug it with an occlusive products!

Night 3 & 4  Recovery - apply hydrating repair treatment.


It should take two cycles to see results. 

Avoid AHA and retinol -based products around the eye area and on the lips. 

It is important to listen to your skin. Skin cycling is not for everyone. Some may need the skin cycling routine tweeked or tailored. If you are experiencing irritation, increase recovery nights.


Our Recommended Skin Cycling Bundles

For oil-rich acne prone skin

For hyperpigmented or mature skin

For more customized skin cycling programs, book a Clinical Skin Care Consultation with one of our Master Clinical Estheticians or discuss with your Esthetician during your next skin treatment/facial.