If, like us, you love keeping up to date with the latest skincare trends on TikTok, then there’s no doubt that you’ll have seen people “slugging” on your For You feed. The skincare trend first started hitting virality on the social media platform and Google Search in January last year, with dermatologists jumping on it to discuss the pros and cons. At first glance, it may seem like a strange and unappealing term, but slugging refers to the practice of using a thick occlusive layer of petroleum-based products (like Vaseline) on the skin to promote hydration and improve its overall appearance. While this technique has gained a devoted following, there are also concerns about its potential drawbacks and risks.
We’ll explore the concept of slugging in skincare, its potential benefits and risks, and how to incorporate it into your daily routine for maximum effectiveness. Whether you’re a skincare enthusiast or just curious about this viral trend, keep reading to discover everything you need to know about slugging and how it can impact your skin.
What is slugging and how does it work?
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of slugging, it can sound like a strange and unappealing practice. But in reality, slugging is a simple and effective skincare technique that involves applying a thick occlusive layer of petroleum-based products to the skin to promote hydration and prevent moisture loss.
Petroleum, which is the main ingredient in products like Vaseline, creates a barrier on the skin that traps in moisture and prevents water from evaporating, leading to improved hydration and softness. This is particularly useful during the drier months or for those with naturally dry skin.
By creating a barrier on the skin, slugging also helps to prevent transepidermal water loss, which occurs when moisture evaporates from the skin’s surface, leading to dryness and flakiness.
So how exactly does slugging work? After cleansing and applying your regular skincare routine, apply a thin layer of petroleum-based product all over your face, focusing on the areas that tend to be the driest. This creates an occlusive layer that prevents moisture from evaporating and ensures that your skin stays hydrated throughout the day.
While it may seem counterintuitive to apply a thick layer of product to your face, slugging can be an effective way to improve your skin’s overall health and appearance. However, as with any skincare trend, there are potential risks and drawbacks to consider.
The potential benefits of slugging
Slugging has gained a devoted following for a reason – it can offer a range of potential benefits for the skin. Here are a few of the ways slugging can improve your complexion:
Slugging creates a barrier on the skin that locks in moisture, which can be particularly beneficial for those with dry or dehydrated skin. This restores the skin’s moisture levels, leaving it feeling soft and supple.
Slugging helps to prevent the loss of water from the skin, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and leaves the skin looking smoother. Well-hydrated skin appears plumper and more elastic, which can help to smooth out the skin’s texture.
Reduced redness and irritation
For those with skin redness or irritation, slugging can help to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. The occlusive layer created by petroleum-based products helps to calm the skin and relieve irritation.
Improved skin barrier
Slugging promotes hydration and prevents water loss, which strengthens the skin’s natural barrier. This, in turn, leads to overall improved skin health by protecting it from external stressors such as pollution and UV rays.
While there is limited scientific research on the benefits of slugging, many skincare enthusiasts have reported positive results from using this technique in their skincare routine. As always, it’s important to pay attention to your skin’s individual needs and tailor your routine accordingly to achieve the best results.
Potential risks and drawbacks of slugging
While slugging can offer many potential benefits for the skin, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and drawbacks before incorporating it into your routine. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Risk of breakouts
Because slugging involves applying a thick layer of product to the skin, there is a risk of clogged pores and breakouts. If you are prone to acne or have oily skin, you may want to approach slugging with caution or avoid it altogether.
Lack of breathability
The occlusive layer created by slugging can also make it difficult for the skin to “breathe,” leading to trapped sweat and bacteria on the skin’s surface. This can potentially lead to skin irritation or infection.
Can be difficult to remove
Because petroleum-based products are so thick and occlusive, they can be difficult to remove completely. This can lead to a buildup of product on the skin, which can contribute to clogged pores and breakouts.
Slugging isn’t suitable for everyone
Finally, it’s worth noting that slugging may not be suitable for everyone. If you have sensitive skin, are prone to allergies, or have any other skin conditions, you should speak with a dermatologist before trying this technique.
It’s also important to note that slugging should not be used as a replacement for a well-rounded skincare routine. While it can offer benefits for hydration and barrier function, it does not address other skincare concerns like acne, hyperpigmentation, or anti-aging.
How to incorporate slugging into your skincare routine
If you’ve decided to give slugging a try, here are some tips for incorporating it into your skincare routine:
Choose the right product
Look for a petroleum-based product that is free of fragrance and other potential irritants. Petroleum jelly is a classic option, but there are also other products on the market specifically designed for slugging.
Apply to clean skin
It’s important to apply the slugging product to clean skin, as any dirt or bacteria on the skin’s surface can potentially be trapped under the occlusive layer.
A little goes a long way when it comes to slugging. You only need a thin layer of product to create an effective barrier, so be careful not to apply too much.
Avoid eye area
Slugging should not be used around the eyes, as the thick, occlusive layer can potentially cause irritation or milia.
Test on a small patch of skin
If you’re new to slugging or have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to test the product on a small patch of skin before applying it to your entire face.
Use slugging only as needed
Slugging can be incorporated into your skincare routine as needed – you don’t have to use it every night. If you find that your skin is particularly dry or dehydrated, you may want to use it more frequently.
Overall, slugging can be a beneficial addition to your skincare routine if used properly and in moderation. Remember to pay attention to your skin’s unique needs and adjust your routine accordingly.
Applying petroleum jelly to your face can be an effective way to improve hydration and overall skin health, especially for those with dry or dehydrated skin. By creating an occlusive layer on the skin’s surface, slugging can help to lock in moisture and protect the skin’s barrier function.
However, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and drawbacks, such as the risk of breakouts, lack of breathability, and difficulty in removing the product. It’s also important to note that slugging should not be used as a replacement for a well-rounded skincare routine.
If you’re interested in trying the viral trend, make sure to choose the right product, apply it to clean skin, use it sparingly, and avoid the eye area. As with any skincare trend, it’s important to pay attention to your skin’s unique needs and adjust your routine accordingly.
In the end, slugging is just one tool in your skincare arsenal. By combining it with a balanced diet, plenty of water, and a well-rounded skincare routine that includes cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturising, you can help to achieve healthy, radiant skin.