Slugging: Everything You Need to Know About the Trend

Robert Hundley

To the shock of totally no 1, I was as obsessed with magnificence in superior university as I am now. Thanks to the conventional spending plan restraints of someone functioning on a TJ Maxx part-time salary, I put in my free of charge time studying low-priced splendor hacks. I keep in mind coming throughout a blog site that explained Marilyn Monroe’s make-up artist would slather her encounter in Vaseline each individual solitary working day. So, what did I do? Minor did I know, this trick would acquire about TikTok and the elegance market less than the title “slugging” just a couple a long time later. (Not saying I was in advance of the trend, but …)

Slugging is a person of the only skincare methods TikTok has basically been ideal about, as dermatologists and editors alike praise its means to hydrate and clean skin. So, if you are below to check with if it’s all cracked up to be, the solution is indeed. But if you are asking yourself why slugging is so popular, how it is effective, and if the ever-debated controversy of applying Vaseline—keep scrolling. Glazed donut pores and skin, below you come.


What is Slugging? 

“Slugging is a present day pores and skin care phrase from K-magnificence for the time-honored and medically-based dermatology exercise of occlusive treatment,” says Dr. Cynthia Bailey, Dermatologist and Founder of Dr. Bailey Pores and skin Treatment. “Historically, dermatologists have utilized a quantity of occlusion solutions to address pores and skin challenges applying topical occlusive products which include adhesive dressings, plastic wrap and occlusive ointments, oils, and waxes this kind of as petrolatum (aka Vaseline), mineral oil, and lanolin.” Usually, you’ll see it on TikTok as a person executing their total nighttime skincare program and ending it with a thick layer of Vaseline or an ointment to lock in all that dampness with an occlusive layer, which they get rid of in the early morning.

Bailey notes that dermatologists have been using occlusion remedy for a long time to deal with pores and skin, specifically dry and delicate skin or though applying retinol. 

Fundamentally, slugging operates for the reason that it bodily blocks the skin from getting rid of water, or TEWL (trans epidermal h2o decline.) “TEWL is the process the place the skin’s moisture wicks to the prime of the skin and is dropped into the atmosphere,” Dr. Bailey spelled out. “The crucial barrier layer of pores and skin, known as the stratum corneum, is composed of keratin protein ‘bricks’ mortared together with lipids (oils, cholesterol, ceramides, and many others.).” The oils and ointments we use to slug develop a seal that stops that moisture from leaving our skin.

“Damage to skin’s stratum corneum barrier puts the pores and skin at elevated possibility for TEWL, resulting in dryness, xerosis with flaking, and discomfort that potential customers to redness, itching, and stinging,” Dr. Bailey states. “As skin loses water, the keratin ‘bricks’ shrink, developing spaces for far more drinking water loss. The lipid ‘mortar’ can also be dropped due to the use of harsh cleaning soap and chemical publicity such as alcohols, solvents, and cleaning options.” Think about it this way: That thick layer of ointment is saving your skin from losing moisture over time, though also locking in all the humidity which is now there. That’s why we see slugging surge in reputation in the dry, wintertime months as nicely as in dry climates wherever moisture is few and far between. “The bottom line is that pores and skin results in being softer, far more pliable, fewer irritated, flakey, and symptomatic.” 



Advantages of Slugging

“Slugging is common simply because it performs,” states Dr. Bailey. Whilst it may possibly sense not comfortable to slather your encounter in a thick ointment, the gains frequently far outweigh that emotion, and Dr. Bailey echoed. “Having recommended occlusion therapy ’ to my individuals for decades, I can inform you that it has the draw back of being messy and not one thing sufferers are delighted to stroll all-around town with, but is really productive.” 

Slugging hosts an array of advantages for all skin kinds. Dr. Bailey endorses slugging for patients susceptible to pores and skin barrier challenges these kinds of as eczema and psoriasis, as nicely as those who have around-exfoliated. Slugging can help the pores and skin recover from discomfort, but it’s also wonderful for those people who are just vulnerable to dry, dehydrated pores and skin simply because it will help prevent dampness reduction. 

All this added humidity in your skin can make it look softer, smoother decrease flaking, irritation, and itching and endorse therapeutic for skin problems from chemical peels to a breakout. 



How to Slug

The explanation slugging is so popular is since it’s so simple. To appropriately slug, Dr. Bailey suggests doing your entire skincare schedule (regardless of whether it is 3 steps or 10) very first. The occlusive will lock all of people substances into your pores and skin (and defend exfoliants and retinols from drying you out). Then, end your skincare regimen with a thick layer of your occlusive all around your facial area. I also will occasionally “spot slug,” the place I just increase Vaseline to the places of my experience that need to have a small additional dampness or where by I’m vulnerable to dry patches and flaking. 

Definitely, slugging is a little bit messy and can feel not comfortable the first couple times you sleep with it. “I usually suggest that my individuals use the messy ointments and dressings at evening, dress in PJs and slumber in bed linens that they do not head having greasy,” Dr. Bailey added. Then, wake up and clean off the ointment with tepid drinking water, she suggests.

Relying on your pores and skin kind, you can slug a couple occasions a week, as wanted, or every single evening. Those with dry and sensitive pores and skin almost certainly can profit from a prevalent slugging follow, whereas somebody with oily pores and skin could possibly uncover that their pores and skin is a small far too hydrated. And if your barrier is a tiny worse for use, Dr. Bailey indicates customers use occlusion remedy just about every night time until finally your skin commences to tranquil down. 


What if Slugging Breaks Me Out?

If I experienced a dollar for every time somebody informed me they “can’t slug for the reason that they’ll split out,” I’d be the abundant person my mothers and fathers want me to marry. Confident, loading your experience with a thick, greasy substance would seem a small strange, but it’s not as possible as you’d think. If you are apprehensive you’ll split out, you can nevertheless slug, just in moderation, states Dr. Bailey. Start off sluggish, and only use a tiny bit of product or service. As you detect your skin is not breaking out, you can begin introducing much more. As mentioned previously mentioned, I’m a huge enthusiast of the “spot slug”—and it’s just how I learned that my delicate, pimples-prone skin freakin’ enjoys Vaseline. 

When applying a genuinely thick material, like Vaseline, some individuals could possibly working experience occlusion folliculitis, in which hair follicles and pores get blocked, resulting in irritation that resembles a pimple. To prevent this, Dr. Bailey claims to use your ointment in the way of the hair follicles to lower clogging, as nicely as slicing your greasy, oily compound with a thing less emollient, like a gel-product or light serum. 


Can You Use Vaseline to Slug?

When you see persons slugging on the Internet, they are most most likely utilizing Vaseline—and that is not with no controversy. “Petrolatum/Vaseline is the common, very affordable and hypoallergenic occlusive ointment that is perfectly tolerated—and heading viral,” additional Dr. Bailey. Dermatologists, together with Dr. Bailey, say it’s safe and sound to use on skin because it’s non-comedogenic, indicating it will not clog pores (compared with coconut oil, an component a whole lot of amateurs will advise for slugging that dermatologists—and myself—utterly cringe at).

Nonetheless, petrolatum may effectively even be your best guess for slugging. “At a concentration of 5 p.c or additional, [petrolatum] decreases TEWL by up to 98 per cent,” claims Dr. Bailey. “Other occlusives scientific tests rank ideal underneath this which includes lanolin (secreted from the oil glands of sheep and a recognized pimples-triggering component), mineral oil, and silicones,” noting these are only proven to lower TEWL by 20-30 per cent comparably.

A lot of people are fearful to use Vaseline over sustainability, as petrolatum is a byproduct of crude oil drilling. Often make selections for oneself and do your possess study. Our team feels harmless using Vaseline since it’s a byproduct that would be thrown out in any case, and it is a single of many products on the sector that appear out of oil drilling. Is it the most sustainable skincare products out there? Unquestionably not. Nothing at all that arrives in plastic packaging could be. But if you’re singling out Vaseline, you should test the labels of a ton of your elegance merchandise if they include mineral oil or other oil derivatives (heck, even the extremely-high-priced La Mer cream features mineral oil as its next component). Your nighttime elegance regimen by itself won’t tank fossil fuels, so our group feels relaxed applying an inexpensive, accessible product that’s been close to for hundreds of years. 

If you do not want to use Vaseline, you have alternatives. Dr. Bailey proposed jojoba oil, noting that it is “technically a wax and quite very similar to human sebum,” but any ointment, oil, or wax can be made use of as an occlusive layer as the very last step of your skincare regime.


Initial Pure Petroleum Jelly

This is what you can see people slug with most normally, and it really is #1 in our e book. At much less than $5, you can not argue with the cost or efficacy.


Therapeutic Ointment

This will run you a minimal a lot more than your normal tub of Vaseline, but the extra ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and panthenol make it a great alternative for some even deeper hydration.

Dr. Bailey Skin Treatment

Omega Enriched Encounter Booster Oil

Manufactured with a handful of botanical oils, Dr. Bailey’s namesake skincare line released this occlusive oil as a ultimate stage in your routine or to insert to your moisturizer.

Bag Balm

Bag Balm Ointment

Dr. Bailey mentioned she routinely makes use of this to avoid dry, chapped hands and says it’s especially helpful for eczema, thanks to the lanolin. She suggests implementing this all over your fingers and then masking them with cotton gloves to seal in all that dampness (and keep away from getting ointment all about anything you touch).


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