What is slugging? Routine and skin care products

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TikTokers and Redditors swear that going to bed slimy as a slug is the secret to soft, healthy skin. This skin hack, called slugging, involves applying an occlusive product like petroleum jelly to your face before bed to help lock in moisture.

The result: legend has it that you will go to bed covered in mucus and wake up beaming and reborn.

Dermatologists like Elaine Kung agree that slugging really works for smooth, rejuvenated skin — and this “trend” has been around for ages.

“The idea of ​​layering on a heavy occlusive emollient as the last step in a nighttime routine is nothing new,” says Kung. Not only have derms been recommending it for decades, but “K-beauty vendors have been pushing this practice into their 10-step beauty routines for years!

Here’s how to live the slug life and add slugging to your skincare routine. 🐌

Slugging is the process of applying an occlusive emollient cream (like those made by Vaseline, Aquaphor and CeraVe) to your skin, Kung explains, which “helps reduce transepidermal water loss.”

Basically, an occlusive prevents moisture from evaporating through your skin. So, all those serums you applied? They’re not going anywhere. Meanwhile, it keeps the elements out, so the dry air from your rickety heater can’t get into your skin either.

That’s why petroleum jelly (or petroleum jelly) is often medically recommended for keeping skin hydrated on dry winter days, says dermatologist Cheryl Rosen. It is also sometimes recommended to treat conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

That being said, people with different skin types swear by it as part of their year-round nighttime routine. (But be warned, it might not be ideal for oilier skin types — more on that below.)

And no, your favorite TikToker didn’t make it up: As some point out, slugging has been part of K-beauty, as well as many black women’s beauty regimes, for generations.

When in doubt, slug it out? According to the pros, yes.

Research suggests that when your skin’s lipids are depleted — whether it’s because of your genes, the weather, or too many acidic serums — applying petroleum jelly can help restore your skin.

“Because the skin barrier is protected overnight, people wake up with softer, more radiant skin,” says Kung. (And, full disclosure, sometimes a greasy pillowcase.)

A small study from 2016 suggests that petroleum jelly stimulates the regulation of peptides on the surface of the skin. Since peptides are the building blocks of proteins like collagen and elastin, this definitely holds promise for your dermis.

Kung notes that improving and repairing the skin barrier is especially helpful for people who:

“Slugging is very effective at retaining moisture in the skin,” says Rosen. She notes the following benefits of applying petroleum jelly:

  • It’s non-irritating. Sensitive skin, rejoice: “It contains no harsh chemicals or other potentially harmful ingredients.
  • It’s super hydrating. Is your skin fed up with freezing temperatures and dry radiators? “It’s effective at moisturizing dry skin, which can help counter the drying effects of winter weather or central heating.”
  • It’s protective. “It can protect your skin from wind blast and other forms of environmental damage.”
  • It is cheap. Who cares if you can’t afford Sunday Riley when you can buy Vaseline for a few bucks?

If your skin glows like a diamond (and no, not because you’ve used a ton of Fenty highlighter), then you might want to avoid slugging.

“Slugging isn’t for everyone,” Kung says. Because slugging traps oils and moisture in the skin, she explains, it can worsen underlying issues in people with the following conditions:

“I had to simplify and eliminate the skincare routines of my acne patients because they were layering oils and sealing them with petroleum jelly, shea butter and beeswax for ages. months or even years,” says Kung.

She points out that some patients practice a version of slugging without even knowing it. “Many people use toners, serums or lotions with carrier oils and then apply moisturizer [on top]thinking those other steps in their skincare routine aren’t hydrating enough.

But if your skin is already oily or acne-prone, you probably don’t need to retain all that moisture.

“Vaseline is a very thick, heavy substance that can form a film on the skin’s surface and clog pores,” says Rosen. “This can lead to the development of blackheads and whiteheads, as well as an increase in the number of pimples.”

The American Academy of Dermatology agrees: petroleum-based products can indeed cause Rashes. So if you tend to get pimples, this trending problem just isn’t for you.

OK, slugger – ready to test the products? Here are some of the most popular and effective slugging products.

1. Vaseline

Price: $

Rosen recommends good old Vaseline, which is 100% pure petroleum jelly, as his first choice for slugging. She also recommends it to treat chapped lips or sun-damaged skin.

If you don’t need extra moisturizing factors in your petrolatum, Vaseline is your best (and cheapest) bet. It’s got a fat factor that most of us know all too well, but for serious punchers, looking like you’ve soaked your face in oil is a small price to pay for results. .

2. Aquaphor

Price: $$$

Not quite a lotion, not quite a cream. Anyway, many dermatologists are fans of Aquaphor. The classic formula contains 41% petroleum jelly along with moisturizing ingredients like mineral oil, lanolin and glycerin.

What really makes Aquaphor “aqua” is its moisture content, which some people love and some people can’t stand. Basically, it feels pretty damp on your skin and will stay that way until you wash it off.

Keep in mind that lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool and may not be suitable for some sensitive skin types. If you’re the type to experience itchy, scratchy, and uncomfortable AF in a wool sweater, lanolin will also irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. Also, if you’re vegan, you’ll want to avoid lanolin products.

3. CeraVe Healing Ointment

Price: $$$

Are the sluggers to blame for this iconic pomade selling out all the time? Probably. CeraVe products consistently make it to Amazon’s Top 10 Personal Care Products list, and for good reason.

In addition to petroleum jelly, this ointment contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which will give your skin extra moisture.

Bonus: This healing salve has the National Eczema Association seal of approval.

4. Cetaphil Healing Ointment

Price: $$

Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and dermatologist-recommended – what more could a slugger ask for?

Along with plenty of petrolatum, this formula contains a healthy dose of shea butter. If you have super dry skin, this may be just what the dermis ordered. But it might have a little too much oil for people with oilier skin.

This one also has the seal of approval from the National Eczema Association.

Got the slugging bug? Here’s how to add slugging to your nighttime skin routine.

1. Clean

You know what to do: wash your face and gently pat your skin dry with a towel.

2. Optional: Tone

If you have dry skin, you may want to avoid toning or astringent products, which will further strip your skin. Otherwise, opt for tea tree oil, witch hazel, or a chemical exfoliant, whichever you choose.

3. Apply serum

Serum time. Whether you’re a vitamin C junkie or a peptide addict, make sure your choice works well with your skin type and slugging routine.

Kung says, “If you have irritable skin, don’t layer AHA, BHA, retinol products and then seal them with petroleum jelly.” Basically, sensitive skin just can’t handle having all those acids locked in.

“If you have oily skin, don’t layer jojoba and moringa oil and then seal it with shea butter,” she adds. (This is a recipe for way too much oil.)

“But, if you have eczema, then… yes… moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!”

When in doubt, talk to a dermatologist about your options.

4. Optional: hydrate

Some drier skin types can benefit from an extra layer of moisturizer before the oil seals it all in. It may take some experimenting to find out what works best for you.

5. Get slugging!

It’s time to get slimy. This part is personal – some people really apply it, while others swear by adding a few dots to their T-zone and rubbing in. Again, it really depends on your unique skin tone.

If you’re not sure, try a few dabs here and there and see how your skin reacts. If it’s still a little dry, add more.

When it comes to slugging, your sebum is the limit. Basically, it all comes down to your skin’s natural oil production: if your skin feels like an oil slick during your slugging days, you probably want to give it a rest. Ditto if you have pimples.

“My main advice is to really know your skin,” says Kung. And if you I can’t figure it out, maybe head to a derm that can.

But if your skin is glowing and thriving, then go for it.

Slugging involves layering an occlusive product on your skin to seal in moisture. This is usually the last step in an overnight skincare routine.

Those with oily or acne-prone skin might want to skip it, but those with dry skin, who live in harsh winter conditions, or who have skin conditions like eczema may particularly benefit. If you’re not sure if it’s right for you, talk to a dermatologist.



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