Slugging Your Way to Better Skin: What It Is and Why It Works

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If you’ve seen a plethora of slimy, shiny faces on ICT Tac Recently, you’ve probably come across the popular skincare routine, “slugging.” The trend has created a frenzy among beauty advocates and has gone viral on TikTok due to claims that it makes skin smooth and soft.

Don’t worry, this process doesn’t use real slugs. Slugging consists of an inexpensive household product that your grandmother always has in her bathroom: petroleum jelly.

Here’s everything you need to know about this gooey skincare trend.

What is slugging?

Slugging is a Korean skincare practice that involves applying petroleum jelly to your face. You can use any product from Aquaphor for Cera Ve for Vaseline to moisturize and protect the face overnight. Videos of this beauty technique have gone viral on TikTok, with over 154 million views so far under the hashtag #slugging. Numerous TikTok users who have tried it for themselves report results such as plumped, glowing and hydrated skin.

@edwardzo TikTok made me try: Slugging (with @cetaphilusa’s new healing salve) 🐌 #skincare101#skintok#slugging#skinbarrier#cetaphil#cetaphilpartner♬ original sound – EdwardZO

The striking process

The first step: Cleanse your face.

Second step: Stack moisturizers, like hyaluronic acid or glycerin.

Third step: Add a nighttime moisturizer, such as a lotion, oil or cream.

Fourth step: Load on your occlusive, or Vaseline: Vaseline, CeraVe, Aquaphor or another brand. (While you’ll see TikTokers use a full handful for dramatic effect, you can use as little as a pea-sized amount to see the benefits.)

Fifth step: Wait a few minutes before going to bed.


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Supposed benefits of slugging

Petroleum jelly consists of oils and waxes that act as a barrier on the skin, trapping moisture underneath. Studies have shown that Vaseline – one of the most popular brands of Vaseline – has properties that can help repair the outermost layer of your skin. In addition to keeping the skin hydrated, petroleum jelly can boost the potency of other products applied underneath.

Slugging is most effective when combined with humectants (a dermatological term for ingredients that retain moisture), such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or urea.

Reported benefits of slugging include:

  • Hydrated and glowing skin
  • Healthier, younger-looking skin
  • Repaired skin barrier
  • Locking other products
  • Reduced appearance of wrinkles

What are the experts saying?

Dermatologists aren’t surprised by this trend, given that petroleum jelly has been a popular beauty product for decades. They already know how occlusives (like Vaseline) effectively retain moisture to keep skin hydrated and plumped.

New York Certified Dermatologist Dr. Hadley King is okay with slugging being effective as long as you “do it the right way”.

“Apply a product(s) containing humectants and emollients (moisturizing ingredients) first, then add other occlusives. You can start with a serum containing humectants and add a face oil with emollients,” a- she declared. “The final step would be to apply Vaseline as an occlusive. Alternatively, you can apply a moisturizer containing humectants, emollients and occlusives, then for additional occlusive properties, apply the Vaseline.”

According to King, the slugging skincare trend is more useful for people with dry skin or those who are often exposed to dry conditions, since “a dry environment will aggravate transepidermal water loss and dry skin”.

Still, King recommends caution when applying occlusives over topical medications, as it could increase potency, creating adverse effects.

Slugging is not for everyone. according to Dr. Debra Jalimanboard-certified New York dermatologist and author of the book skin rules. “Slugging before you go to sleep is fine if you have very dry skin, but it’s not a good idea for acne-prone skin,” Jaliman says. “Slugging can potentially trap oils and clog skin pores and especially irritate acne-prone skin, contributing to breakouts.”

She went on to say, “If you’re not prone to acne, some good products you can use for bumps are CeraVe Healing Ointment and Aquaphor.” Echoing King’s advice, Jaliman also recommends using a product that moisturizes, hydrates and protects all in one: “I personally would recommend using a heavy cream such as CeraVe Moisturizing Cream which contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid.”


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Typing tips

Apply only at night

Unless you are in an extremely cold and dry environment, it is best to apply only at night. This way you can lock in moisture and other skin care products while you sleep. (Otherwise, you’ll be walking around all day with slimy skin.)

Combine with your night moisturizer

Vaseline works by preventing moisture from getting in or out. If there is no moisture on the skin to begin with, applying petroleum jelly will not bring much benefit. For best results, it’s important to load your skin with moisturizers and moisturizers first, then brush your slugging product on top to keep moisture from evaporating from your skin.

Drugstore or high-end products will work

Vaseline is an inexpensive product that can be found at any pharmacy, but if you are looking for luxury products with additional moisturizing properties, King recommends Ghost Democracy Ceramide Cream. “It contains ceramides, lipids, squalane and murumuru seed butter to support the skin barrier and lock in moisture. You can add heavier occlusives if desired,” she said.

King also recommends Innbeauty Project Daily Moisturizer. “With ceramides, triglycerides, shea butter, squalane, dimethicone, and fatty acids and fatty alcohols, this supports the skin barrier and locks in moisture.”

Use regularly to see results

Darnisha Monson, a licensed esthetician, recommends incorporating slugging into your nighttime skincare routine. In order to notice results, you must slug regularly for four to six weeks. Slugging cannot fix your skin or the appearance of your skin overnight.

Best if used in winter

The colder months are when our the skin loses the most moisture. Slugging will be more effective in winter and in environments that are harsh on the skin. Pocclusives can even protect against gales when skiing in the winter.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

About Sally Dominguez

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