What is Slugging?
Slugging is a trendy skin care technique that slathers an occlusive (like petroleum jelly) on your skin overnight. The concept was popularized in Korea and took TikTok by storm, with visions of shiny, glass-like skin.
TikTok is full of bad skin care advice. 😆 But some skin types can benefit from slugging.
Who can benefit?
Dry skin, or skin with a compromised skin barrier or eczema. Acne-prone or oily skin should skip slugging (Scroll to the bottom of this article for oily skin slugging alternatives.)
How does it work?
Slugging seals in moisture to the skin, preventing water loss, and allowing skin to heal itself and rebuild a compromised skin barrier.
Dry air, sun, aggressive products and age can all damage and compromise your skin barrier, the delicate balance of fats, moisture and acid that keep your skin healthy. If you've ever had surgery involving stitches, you're probably familiar with the use of petroleum jelly to provide a protected, moist environment for wound healing. Slugging creates a similar environment, that forces moisture back into your skin cells, and allows them a protected space to heal.
What product should I use for slugging?
The original technique uses Petroleum jelly, like Vaseline. You can also use a non-petroleum alternative, like the Skin Saviour Wonder Balm by One Love Organics.
Here's how to do it:
1. Prep your skin. Slugging simply seals in your skin care products, so pay attention to this step! Cleanse your skin well. (Double-cleansing with an oil cleanser like the Botanical B cleanser by One Love Organics is especially beneficial for dry skin types.) Apply quality serums and moisturizers, since they will be concentrated under slugging.
🚫 Do NOT apply retinol, or exfoliating products like alpha or beta-hydroxy acids, since they can irritate your skin once they are trapped under the slugging barrier.
2. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly, (or a non-petroleum alternative like the Skin Savior Wonder Balm). You can apply all over your face, or just on the dry or compromised areas of your skin, like eyes and lips.
3. Wait 30 minutes before going to bed, to allow your products to settle, and pull your hair up to keep it from sticking to your face.
4. Sleep on it!
5. Cleanse in the morning. This step is vital! Because your skin is a living organ, it sheds dead skin cells, oils and bacteria that need to slough off. A thorough morning cleanse removes these debris, and prevents milia from forming. (Once again, we love a double cleanse with Botanical B oil cleanser, followed by a gentle foaming cleanser)
👉🏼 We highly recommend consulting your esthetician to see if slugging is a technique that could benefit your skin.
❌ Does slugging cause acne?
Petroleum jelly is not in itself pore-clogging (the molecule size is actually too large!) However, petroleum jelly is so occlusive that it won't allow oils to escape, irritating the hair follicle and causing acne. That's why oily and acne-prone skin should avoid slugging.
💧 I have oily or acne prone skin, but I'd love the dewy look you get from slugging. What can I do?
Hyaluronic acid is your friend! Hyaluronic acid binds up to 1000x its weight in water to your skin, plumping skin cells and benefiting skin health. Ask your esthetician for a hyaluronic acid serum.