Here’s what three dermatologists and skin doctors are hitting ‘like’ on

Never has ‘skinformation’ been more accessible than it is today. And one of the biggest reasons? TikTok. Making getting your fix as easy as a flick of the fingertip, it’s no surprise that TikTok has become the biggest thing in beauty.

The most downloaded app in 2021* (retaining its 2020 spot), TikTok’s sense of community and camaraderie is what gives it a unique point of difference. It’s where entertainment meets information – particularly the comments section – giving it an extra edge of relatability that other platforms tend to lack. You could be looking at a skincare hack one second and a dancing cartoon hotdog the next – such is the range of the TikTok ‘falling down the rabbit hole’ experience.

Its pace? Speedy would be an understatement. Its endless scroll of videos uploaded from creators from all over the world has given us a global hub full of skincare hints, tips and tricks to inspire our next shop. But as a result, it can receive a rap for pushing fad over fact, overshadowing its good points, many of which are shared by skin experts in the beauty industry. 

"TikTok has given individuals the opportunity to have a platform and reach that was previously not possible – this includes lots of professional experts that you wouldn’t normally have access to, such as cosmetic chemists and dermatologists," says dermatologist Dr Beibei Du-Harpur.

It can be a tool for curation and conversation around complex skincare topics. "I love the way the 'skintok' community is really vocal," says Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, medical consultant for CeraVe. "There are so many great accounts now with good, fun information on skin, skincare tips and skin products."

And rather than ‘skincare overwhelm’, it can help inspire consumers to be more conscious about what products they’re using and how – "especially when it comes to ingredients’" says Dr Sonia Khorana, GP with Special Interest in Dermatology and clinical dermatology expert for Olay.

With that in mind, we asked Dr Du-Harpur, Dr Ejikeme and Dr Khorana for the TikTok trends that carry their seals of approval and are worth taking from screen to skincare routine.

These trends are great for anyone with an interest in skincare, but for any particular skin concerns, seek advice from your GP or pharmacist as they will be able to provide specific support for your needs.

1. Skin cycling

Our experts’ top pick? They all agreed that it’s skin cycling – a term coined by New York dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe and a hashtag that has taken social media by storm (it has over 83 million hashtag views on TikTok at the time of writing).

What is skin cycling? In a nutshell, it’s the strategic cycling of your skincare products over different nights, incorporating active nights (one for exfoliation and one for a retinoid) and recovery nights.

What does it look like as part of your weekly routine? "It consists of a four-night cycle; night one for exfoliation, night two for retinol or retinoids and nights three and four for recovery – and then repeat," explains Dr Khorana.

Inspired by the number of clients Dr Bowe would see come into her office with irritation and inflammation, it’s all about being more deliberate and selective with our skincare products. 

"In many ways, this type of routine makes a lot of sense, particularly for those starting out with a skincare routine incorporating ingredients like retinoids, as it enables consistency and reduces the risk of irritation," says Dr Du-Harpur.

Dr Ejikeme agrees: "It’s a great way to get your retinol and skin acids into your routine, without overdoing it or causing irritation to your skin barrier."

It can also be tailored to suit your individual skin needs. "If your skin is uncomfortable or irritated when you’re meant to 'cycle' back to night one, you can continue the 'moisturise/barrier repair' stage until everything feels good again," Dr Du-Harpur recommends.

Top skin cycling product picks

Night 1 – exfoliant

Try: Caudalie Vinoperfect Glycolic Peel Mask

• Size: 75ml

• Vegan

• Dermatologically-tested

Dr Du-Harpur’s top pick, this scrub/peel hybrid uses alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to help improve the appearance of skin texture while giving skin a radiance boost, too. Read our guide to AHAs to see if they’re for you.

Try: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

• Size: 30ml

• Oil-free

• Alcohol-free

• Vegan

If your skin is prone to congestion, this lightweight, water-based serum contains beta hydroxy acid and could be a great addition to your routine. It can help with everything from dullness to excess sebum.

Night 2 – retinoid

Try: CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

• Size: 30ml

Containing retinol, niacinamide and three ceramides, this serum’s a top pick of Dr Ejikeme’s. "It’s a gentle, yet effective way to reduce the appearance of post-acne marks (also called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) and visible pores," she says.

Try: Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Max Night Serum

• Size: 40ml

Containing a blend of retinol and vitamin B3, this fragrance-free serum has been formulated to target everything from smoothness to brightness, firmness to dark spots and more. No wonder Dr Khorana rates it.

Nights 3 & 4 – moisturise/barrier repair

Try: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Crème

• Size: 40ml

• Fragrance-free

• Alcohol-free

For helping reduce signs of discomfort due to tightness, Dr Khorana recommends applying this nourishing cream on recovery nights. It’s one of our favourite moisturisers for sensitive skin.

Try: Avène Tolérance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream

• Size: 40ml

• Fragrance-free

New to retinoids? Dr Du-Harpur suggests using this. Formulated for hypersensitive skin types, it helps provide instant relief to tight skin – the perfect salve while your skin adjusts.

2. The French Pharmacy skincare

Can’t get enough of the French girl beauty aesthetic that’s currently all over our ‘For you’ pages? You’re not alone and it looks like our obsession with all things Parisian isn’t just limited to our make-up, it extends to our skincare too.

"The French Pharmacy has been trending on TikTok all summer – partly due to the increased travel to France from the USA, with lots of American influencers sharing their hauls, which tend to consist of The French Pharmacy staples," says Dr Du-Harpur.

Why has The French Pharmacy caused such a buzz online? Because it’s made up of cosmetic skincare products with formulas that provide the type of solid foundations a good year-round skincare routine is built on. "They include time-honoured barrier repair products and sunscreens, including Avène Cicalfate and suncare products, that every skin type can benefit from," Dr Du-Harpur tells us.

Why is it important to support the skin barrier? Think of it as your skin’s first line of defence against environmental aggressors. It plays an important role in keeping germs out and moisture in which is why poor barrier function can lead to the appearance of dryness and irritation.

You needn’t worry about the flight time to stock up though, because from Avène to La-Roche-Posay and Vichy, you can get your fill of French skincare staples here in the UK (*coughs at Here are three of our favourite French skincare buys for a glowing complexion through the autumn and winter months.

Try: Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream

• Size: 100ml

Think of this as your SOS salve. It can be used on everything from chapped skin to areas of dryness to help keep skin soft, supple and soothed.

Try: La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMUNE 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50

• Size: 50ml

• Water, sweat and sand-resistant

• Dermatologically-tested

This is one of our all-time favourite sunscreens. Not only does it melt into skin with zero white cast, but its fluid texture feels like a second skin. SPFs don’t get smarter than this.

Try: Vichy Minéral 89 Fortifying & Plumping Daily Booster

• Size: 50ml

Skin feeling tight? It could be dehydrated. Reach for this brilliant hyaluronic acid serum that provides instant comfort to a parched complexion. Apply to damp skin after cleansing and top with a moisturiser to seal in the benefits.

3. Hydrocolloid plasters to place over spots

Traditionally, hydrocolloid plasters have been used for wounds, where they create a moist environment in order to help them heal. However, recently, creators on TikTok have been swearing by them when it comes to their spots. And it looks like there could be some benefits to the trend.

"They may help prevent long-term scarring by acting as a barrier to help you stop picking your spots," says Dr Khorana. "They’re great for creating a protective layer over the skin."

You might also want to try an upgraded version for added decongesting benefits. "I’d recommend using a small, specially designed hydrocolloid pimple plaster that can be placed on a targeted area," says Dr Khorana. "These often come with extra ingredients, such as salicylic acid or niacinamide."

"Think of them as a supplement and not a cure-all," says Dr Khorana. "To make sure they stay in place, I wait about half an hour after applying my skincare before sticking them on. I always find that the less residue you have on your skin, the better they adhere and stay put."

So, if you're a self-confessed spot picker or popper – no judgement as we’ve all done it – it could be a good idea to keep a box on standby to keep restless hands at bay (though always apply onto clean skin – not over make-up etc).

Try: Boots Faster Healing Hydrocolloid Plasters

• Size: 16 plasters

• Waterproof

• Hypoallergenic

These also have a breathable and waterproof film backing to give them extra staying power.


• Size: 32 pack

• Vegan

• Cruelty-free

Perfectly shaped to grip the contours of the face, these hydrocolloid stars are a favourite of Dr Khorana as they help shield spots from outside bacteria and prevent scarring.

Try: Patchology Breakout Box

Each kit contains:

• 24 blemish-shrinking salicylic acid dots

• 24 pore clearing anti-blemish dots

• 3 detoxifying charcoal nose strips 

This 3-in-1 kit contains a range of tools to help keep fidgeting fingers away from your face. Its bevy of dots and strips are full of decongesting ingredients like salicylic acid, clay and charcoal for extra skincare benefits. and the contents of this article are not endorsed by, affiliated with or sponsored by TikTok