You may have heard about a skincare trend called slugging. This latest skincare craze is gaining popularity thanks to the social video-sharing app TikTok.
So what is the meaning of ‘slugging’ and is there any scientific benefit to this popular skincare technique?
Slugging is not exactly new, it’s something women have been doing for decades - or ever since vaseline was invented. Your grandma may have used it, or is still using it as an anti-aging cream.
Slugging means to slather your entire face with a thick occlusive, such as Vaseline. It’s called ‘slugging’ because it makes your skin look and feel slimy - like a slug.
Slugging works by locking in hydration and protects your skin by forming an occlusive seal, reducing moisture loss.
Occlusives create a seal on our face, preventing trans-epidermal water loss. The word occlude means to prevent passage, so that’s exactly what’s happening when we are slugging - we are blocking the evaporation of water.
Occlusives create a hydrophobic barrier over the skin, so this means they are the most effective when applied to slightly dampened skin.
Slugging can be beneficial if you have any existing skin barrier damage, flakiness, scaliness, patchiness, or aggravated skin to facilitate the natural healing process.
However, slugging is not something everyone needs to be doing, and not something you need to do every single night. Every two nights would be more than enough.
You will definitely notice some really nice skin benefits if you introduce slugging into your skincare routine, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, or that it’s entirely beneficial.
There are definitely some cons that some people might experience, such as a reaction, or a flare-up of the skin. So it’s important that you patch test your skin before applying it all over your face.
Skincare grade petroleum jelly is non-comedogenic, so it won't clog or blog your pores. However, keep in mind that it’s extremely occlusive - which means it traps everything underneath it, including dead skin cells and bacteria, so if you have acne-prone or oily skin, we recommend avoiding slugging as it might make your acne worse.
Petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, is great for protecting your skin. It is the most effective occlusive available. However, you can also ‘slug’ with other occlusive products such as Aquaphor, or CeraVe Healing Ointment.
CeraVe Healing Ointment contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid, so you’re getting the extra hydration, plus added benefits.
It’s up to you which product you prefer to slug with, or you can simply use whichever occlusive you have lying around in your medicine cabinet.
Remember that skincare is personal. What works for one person might not work for another.
You might not enjoy the feeling of something so thick and greasy on your face as you’re sleeping, but if you decide you do want to try slugging - make sure you do a spot test on your skin before applying it to your entire face to ensure that you don’t experience any reaction.
Slugging is great for dry skin - it locks in water and makes the skin plump.