Having plump, glowing skin may seem like an impossible feat, particularly if you typically have dry skin. But if you suffer from dry winter skin or flakiness, you might be interested in the new skincare trend taking over both Reddit and TikTok — it’s called slugging, and it might be the secret weapon to that glazed donut skin you’ve been looking for. Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve any actual slugs — but it does involve using an occlusive to lock in moisture.
So what is slugging?
“Slugging is a recent K-beauty trend where one applies a petrolatum-based ointment to the face overnight to repair the skin,” says David Kim, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in California. Petrolatum, commonly known as petroleum jelly, is easy to find — just reach for a tub of Vaseline, or the GH Seal Star Aquaphor Healing Ointment.
What are the benefits of slugging?
Slugging acts as an occlusive, meaning that the thin layer of petrolatum forms a sort of protective barrier on the skin. “Slugging works by repairing the skin by keeping the skin barrier intact and minimizing the trans-epidermal water loss by trapping moisture,” Dr. Kim says.
Who is slugging best suited for?
Dr. Kim recommends slugging only for people with dry skin or mature skin, since as we age, our skin starts to lose its ability to retain moisture. He says it could also be useful for people with eczema to help repair a compromised skin barrier. Regardless of how dry your skin is, Dr. Kim would not recommend slugging every single night. “I would only recommend it as pulse-therapy, meaning only for a few consecutive days intermittently,” he says.
Are there disadvantages to slugging?
In short, yes. “This is certainly not for anyone with acne-prone, oily skin or combination skin,” says Dr. Kim. Additionally, if you’ve been getting mask-induced breakouts, take caution: “This will occlude pores, cause acne flares and exacerbate maskne. If used too frequently it can cause milia, which are small cysts with dead keratin inside.”
What is the best way to try slugging?
If you’d like to try slugging, be sure to add it into your skincare routine gradually, as Dr. Kim advises. Slugging should be the last step in your night-time skincare routine, so save it for after cleansing, using treatments like serums and applying your usual moisturizer.
Once you’ve applied the other products in your skincare routine, “apply a thin layer of petrolatum-based ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor,” Dr. Kim advises. “You should do this at least 30 minutes before going to bed so you don’t get the ointment all over your pillowcase.” Be sure to only use a thin layer — you don’t need too much ointment for it to work!
How often should you slug?
Dr. Kim says that this really depends on your individual skin type and personal preferences. “If you have very dry skin and need an extra boost during the winter time, you can slug as often as you’d like,” he says. “If you have oily or acne-prone skin, I wouldn’t recommend this at all unless you’re applying it just to the lips.”
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