Is slugging worth the hype? Expert Perspective on the TikTok Trend.

Dermatologist-approved slugging is an affordable technique to keep your skin moisturized during the cold seasons.

We've all experimented with various methods to enhance ourselves, whether it's a new blush or a daring beauty trend like the infamous lettuce water fad. Recently, a South Korean beauty trend called "slugging" could be just what your skin needs. The viral hashtag #slugging on TikTok has amassed over 500 million views, featuring videos of the beauty technique that tend to apply excessive amounts. Several TikTok users who have tried the trend report positive results such as radiant, moisturized, and plump skin.

Although slugging has gained popularity on TikTok, the concept has been around for quite some time. According to aesthetician - slugging is not a new phenomenon. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used their own self-taught skincare techniques for hydration, and we can view slugging as the original anti-aging moisturizer.

Although social media has given this age-old trend a new name and revived it, it's not suitable for everyone. Experts discuss the details of slugging, its potential benefits, and who should avoid it.

What is slugging and how does it work?
Definition Slugging is a skincare practice that involves applying petrolatum or Vaseline to the face to prevent the loss of moisture through the skin. This technique is particularly effective for those with dry skin.

Slugging is a skincare technique that originated in South Korea as a K-Beauty trend. The process involves applying an occlusive petrolatum product, typically Vaseline, to the face to lock in moisture and prevent trans-epidermal water loss, which is a leading cause of dry skin. The purpose of slugging is to create a barrier that protects the skin from losing moisture, allowing it to stay hydrated and healthy.

According to experts, slugging is only effective when someone is experiencing extremely dry skin or has a compromised skin barrier. The use of an occlusive barrier like Vaseline helps prevent water loss and allows the skin to retain moisture. Once the petroleum jelly is applied, the face may appear shiny and slimy, similar to the trail a slug leaves behind. This is where the term "slugging" comes from.


Benefits of slugging:

Hydrated and radiant skin

Improved skin health and youthful appearance

Repaired skin barrier

Enhanced absorption and retention of other skincare products

Reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles


Who can benefit from slugging?

Slugging can be a useful technique for individuals with minor skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, or wind-chapped cheeks. While slugging is not a permanent solution, it can provide temporary relief by preventing further moisture loss and locking in hydration. Slugging is often used as a reparative measure for the skin, especially after aggressive procedures like micro-needling or chemical peels. In these cases, a healing ointment is applied to the face to repair any damage caused by the procedure. The use of Vaseline or Aquaphor on chapped lips or burns is also a similar approach to repair the skin, as suggested by mothers. If you have compromised skin due to any of the aforementioned issues, applying a thin layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor can be a great option to promote healing.


Who should avoid slugging?

While slugging can benefit those with mature skin or facial dryness, not everyone should use this technique, according to dermatologists. Slugging is not suitable for individuals with acne-prone skin. Although petrolatum jelly is non-comedogenic, it creates an occlusive layer on the skin's surface, which can trap dead skin cells and other debris. This can encourage bacterial overgrowth and acne breakouts, making it unsuitable for those with acne-prone skin.

For those who are prone to acne but still want to achieve a similar effect, a creamy moisturizer is recommended over petrolatum, according to experts. Ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and dimethicone should be sought after. Vaseline can then be used to spot treat areas that are particularly dry.


Is slugging a good addition to your skincare routine?

According to dermatologist, a balanced skincare routine should include proper hydration and exfoliation. Focusing on one without the other can cause issues in the long run. If you exfoliate without proper hydration, the skin may produce excess oil to compensate for the lost moisture, leading to further problems. On the other hand, over-hydrating the skin without proper exfoliation can result in dull and congested skin.

While slugging can be beneficial for individuals with specific skin issues, it may not be necessary for everyone. It's essential to consider your skin type and needs before incorporating slugging into your skincare routine.

Maintaining a balance between exfoliation and hydration is crucial in achieving healthy skin. While slugging can make the skin feel soft and hydrated in the short term, it may not be necessary for everyone. It's important to consult with an aesthetician or skincare team to determine a routine that works best for you, taking into account the unique balance of hydration and exfoliation required for your skin type.

A skincare routine with long-term benefits is more important than short-term effects, which helps to stay motivated to stick to it. Therefore, while slugging may not be suitable for everyone, a properly balanced skincare routine is essential for achieving healthy skin.


How to Do Slugging 

If you're interested in trying out slugging, follow these steps to do it correctly:

  1. Cleanse and moisturize your face as you normally would.
  2. (OPTIONAL) Apply a hydrating serum or moisturizer. According to dermatologist, it's not necessary to use these products, but if you choose to do so, make sure they are gentle.
  3. Seal in the moisture with a thin layer of Vaseline or another petrolatum-based ointment. It's important to remember to keep the layer of petrolatum thin.


Slugging Tips
Apply at night
It's recommended to apply slugging only at night, unless you're in an excessively cold and dry environment. This allows you to retain moisture and other skincare products while you sleep, without the inconvenience of having oily skin during the day.
Mix with your nighttime moisturizer.
To maximize the benefits of slugging, it's recommended to combine it with your nightly moisturizer. Since Vaseline creates a barrier that prevents moisture loss, it's important to first apply hydrating and moisturizing products to the skin before applying the slugging product. This helps to ensure that the skin is adequately moisturized before locking in the hydration with the occlusive layer.
Consistent use is key
To see results, licensed estheticians suggest incorporating slugging into your nighttime skincare routine and sticking with it for four to six weeks. Keep in mind that slugging is not a quick fix and won't repair your skin overnight.


What is body slugging?

This technique isn't just for your face, but can also be used to lock in moisture on your body, particularly on dry areas like hands, feet, elbows, and knees. To achieve deeply hydrated skin on your body with this method, simply follow the same steps as you would with face slugging, but apply your petrolatum-based product after your usual body moisturizer post-shower. Other popular areas for "body slugging" include the neck, chest, and cuticles. For extra dry feet during winter, you can apply ointment to your feet after moisturizing and wear soft socks to bed for the ultimate "foot slug" experience.


Will slugging remain a popular skincare trend?
While slugging has gained popularity as a skincare trend, some dermatologists believe it may just be another passing fad. Instead, they recommend sticking to tried-and-tested skincare practices. For example, using a highly hydrating cream that contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid to seal in moisture can be an effective alternative to slugging. This approach is more likely to yield long-term benefits for maintaining healthy skin, unlike fads that come and go.
MZ Skin Hyaluronic serum
@nadina_ioana Trying the viral #Slugging trend using @vaselinebrand 😳 | #ad#vaselinepartner #vaseline#sluggingasmr#slugging#skincarehacks#skincareasmrvideo#sluggingmethod#sluggingtutorial#skinhealing ♬ original sound - Nadina Ioana
February 28, 2023