Slugging, the Skin Care Trend You Need to Know About
It’s common for facial care routines to include products that promise a perfect complexion without needing to wait too long to see the results. This is the case of slugging, a technique that proposes to polish the face using petroleum jelly or petrolatum.
This substance, as the Clínica Universidad de Navarra (CUN) points out, is a formula in paste, cream, or ointment with emollient, lubricating, and protective properties for the skin. The composition is derived from refining saturated hydrocarbons.
Thanks to its usefulness in the healing of irritations, scabs, and excoriations, petroleum jelly has gained a place in the beauty world. On social networks, some content creators suggest applying the ingredient to your face to make it look like “porcelain.” However, be careful with this trick.
What is slugging?
Slugging is part of K-Beauty, a term that refers to Korean beauty. It consists of spreading a layer of petroleum jelly on the face in order to smooth and illuminate your skin.
The method’s popularity is due to the flattering comments on social networks, where it’s claimed that your complexion changes overnight.
However, there’s a lack of hard evidence to prove the effectiveness of the treatment. Dermatological opinions refer to it with caution, since petrolatum works as a remedy in certain skin conditions, but facial skin is very delicate.
In addition, most of the videos disseminated through TikTok do not correspond to health professionals, but to users who have tried the product and recommend it to eliminate blackheads and provide smoothness.
Although the results are positive in some cases, professionals warn that kerosene gels should not be applied daily. These mixtures tend to hinder the functionality of the glands that produce skin lipids.Vaseline cannot be applied daily to the skin because its hydrocarbon derivatives can cause side effects.
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Is slugging suitable for any skin type?
During times of low temperatures or on a very windy and cold day, perhaps a little petroleum jelly would do the trick, as long as your face doesn’t exhibit the following characteristics:
- Predisposition to acne: Oily skin will be worsened by the ointment’s film-forming properties, which can affect the work of the sebaceous glands.
- Infections: There’s a possibility that the ointment could interfere with the healing of an open wound, despite the fact that the emollient has always been marketed as a protector of minor cuts and burns. This is noted in a clinical trial sponsored by Rockefeller University.
- Oily skin: A dermis with this unique feature already has the appropriate or excessive lipid layer and doesn’t require an additional one.
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The benefits and risks of slugging
Don’t dismiss this beauty trick right off the bat. It’s crucial to know both the benefits and contraindications of the K-Beauty tip. By expecting the steps and the condition of your skin, there can be adequate results.
The benefits of slugging
Among the benefits of this practice, we can list the following:
- It promotes penetration of ingredients: The Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology points out that petroleum jelly is occlusive. Therefore, slugging entrusts the last step of skin care routines to petrolatum. This acts as a night mask that seals in the active ingredients applied beforehand. The idea is that the substances penetrate better.
- It helps the skin retain transepidermal water: Even if it’s a thin layer, the consistency of the product retains the skin’s moisture. This is one of the basic premises of this procedure.
- Slugging helps the skin barrier: Those who use this method seek to improve the skin’s protective barrier, as it’s believed to prevent the passage of environmental dirt into the facial tissue.
The risks of slugging
On the other hand, the risks to consider of petroleum jelly on the skin are as follows:
- It may cause breakouts: If your face is experiencing outbreaks of pimples, blackheads, and blemishes, petroleum jelly may make the situation worse. In the same vein, slugging helps the diligent absorption of comedogenic oils, and these are not suitable for oily skin.
- There may be a clash between active ingredients: Several skin-beautifying cosmetics contain strong active ingredients, such as retinoids. Faced with the enveloping mission of petroleum jelly, this kind of element is trapped and increases the danger of damaging sensitive skin with irritations, hyperpigmentation, and pimples.
- There’s a possible delay in disinfection: Petrolatum should be withheld until areas with dermatosis or infections, whether fungal or bacterial, have been cured. Depending on the severity, the process would be delayed by clogging the pores. In these cases, the application area must be thoroughly cleaned and treated with a topical steroid prescribed by a dermatologist.
How to make slugging effective for your skin care routine
A couple of key things to always remember is that even if slugging is well-assimilated by your skin, you shouldn’t include it in your daily routine, but only on occasional occasions. As repetitive as it may seem to say, it’s important to know that the effects are not the same on all skin types.
For the effectiveness of the Korean technique on dry skin, take note of the steps you should follow:
- Cleansing: Remove your makeup with a mild, alcohol-free cleanser, such as micellar water. If you use toner, apply it.
- Restoration and hydration: With your face cleansed, apply a cream or serum that restores your skin. Hyaluronic acid is a good choice before occlusive elements because it maximizes hydration.
- Slugging: This is the time to smear the petroleum jelly. The layer has to be thin. Wait 30 minutes before going to bed. Then, let the product act all night.
- Morning cleansing: When you wake up, wash your face with your usual cleanser and continue with your morning skincare routine.
Vaseline substitutes for treatment
Other thickening substances are also considered for the same purpose. For example, grape seed oil, refined olive oil, and castor oil are all alternatives.
Although these have certain natural affinities with the skin, the right thing to do is to consult and respect professional dermatological observations regarding what you decide to use as a facial beautifier.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Emolientes y protectores dermatológicos. Vaselina (vía tópica). Clínica Universidad de Navarra. España. https://www.cun.es/enfermedades-tratamientos/medicamentos/vaselina-via-topica
- Ortega R. Hidratación o nutrición: ¿Qué es lo que tu piel necesita? Academia Española de Dermatología y Venereología. España; 2011. https://aedv.es/comunicacion/notas-de-prensa/hidratacion-o-nutricion-que-es-lo-que-tu-piel-necesita/
- Un estudio para documentar el efecto de la vaselina en las respuestas inmunitarias innatas de la piel. Red de buenas prácticas clínicas. Estados Unidos, 2017. https://ichgcp.net/es/clinical-trials-registry/NCT02338076