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Slugging is this new viral trend that is getting popular here. In fact, it is a K-Beauty trend that has originated from South Korea and has been popularised through TikTok and Reddit. Slugging is basically allowing your face to be covered in Vaseline or petrolatum to keep moisture locked in and prevent water loss.
What Exactly is Slugging?
It basically means the process of applying a thick layer of Vaseline or petrolatum to your skin, generally at night, before you sleep. Because it is very thick, it can form like a physical layer on top of your skin to help protect your face and keep it hydrated.
By adding a thick layer, you are essentially preventing moisture from coming out of your face and causing dehydration. This is often something that is important during winter as the weather is colder and harsher for your skin. Therefore, it is generally considered more important to moisturise yourself during winter.
Lipids are very important for your skin barrier. When you lose lipids, your skin becomes compromised and eventually it will lead to moisture loss from your skin. Both aging and the environment are major impacts on your lipid levels. Therefore using petrolatum can help with keeping the moisture locked into your skin.
Benefits of Slugging for Your Skin
Petrolatum such as Vaseline is like an occlusive and will help protect your skin by closing it. What is great about it is that although it closes your skin and prevents water loss, it also allows for a little to seep out. This is necessary as you do not want to seal your face completely. By allowing a little water loss to seep out of your face, you let your body know that your skin needs to produce more lipids to repair the skin barrier. If it is fully blocked, your skin will not do anything to improve itself.
By applying petrolatums, pretty much all of the water loss will be prevented and also your skin will be allowed to repair itself overnight. This leads to a healthier and dewy skin in the next day.
In addition to keeping your moisture in while you sleep. Slugging can be pretty useful to help keep your serum locked into your face. In fact, because petrolatum acts as an occlusive, in theory you can put your serums and creams on before you put the petrolatum. This will allow for them to be locked into your face and because it should not evaporate as easily, it will be able to penetrate your skin more deeply as you sleep.
Who Should Use Slugging?
Those who have dry skin are most optimally suited for trying out slugging. But I would recommend it for most people to try it out, especially those who live in dry environments or even during winter. This is because dry environments can increase the amount of water you lose through your skin and applying petrolatum is a good way of sealing in moisture and prevent further water loss.
It has also been noted that this is a good idea to treat those with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis too. This is because Vaseline and other petrolatum are gentle and has been used by people with many different skin conditions.
However, for those who are prone to acne, you might want to try it out with a little less ointment before laying it on thick. Although petrolatum is not comedogenic, and might actually help your acne heal itself. The petrolatum might make your face feel much heavier and oiler, especially if your face is prone to oil. Therefore, I would suggest you start with a patch test or use much less at first to test it out.
I think you should definitely give slugging a try if you have dry skin. It is something that is quick and easy to apply. If you have a skincare routine, you should always apply the slugging at the end of your routine to help seal in everything. I would recommend using Aquaphor (read here to learn more), Vaseline and CeraVe for those of you who are considering slugging.
However, for those of you who don’t like their face feeling a little bit more heavy and oily, then this might not be for you. Sometimes, you just might feel uncomfortable in putting a heavy dose of slimy lubricant on your face. Although, cosmetic grade petroleum ideally should not make your face break out, it might make you feel uncomfortable. That is totally fine, slugging may be helpful in protecting your face but it is not the only way. There many other skincare techniques you can try out too.
Have you tried out slugging? Let me know how it went for you.