What is ‘slugging,’ the newest viral skin care hack?

If you’ve spent an endless amount of time this winter searching for solutions to your itchy and dry skin problems, you’ve probably come across the term “slugging”. But what exactly is it? And can this viral skin care hack be trusted?

Though it’s currently trending on social media, slugging has long been popular in the K-beauty world to combat dryness and bring out that natural glow, and it’s a practice that most dermatologists recommend for quickly healing dryness, eczema and trapping in moisture, Teen Vogue reported.

“Petrolatum is an underrated ingredient that dermatologists have used for so many different things, including slugging,” Dr. Jenny Liu, a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, told USA Today.

“Not only has it been used safely for babies as a body moisturizer, or used on wounds… but it offers great hydration to dry and irritated skin.”

How to incorporate “slugging” into your skincare routine

To start slugging, all you need is a thick, petrolatum-based moisturizer like Vaseline, Aquaphor or CeraVe Healing Ointment.

After cleansing and moisturizing, apply a thin layer of petrolatum as the final step of your skincare routine, according to experts.


Reply to @gemikp this is a PSA to start using Vaseline after moisturizer, and not directly onto the skin. #slugging

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“By adding this as the final step to your nighttime regimen, it works well to keep skin moisturized and hydrated all night long… It also allows the skin barrier to repair by acting as a protectant,” Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, a board-certified dermatologist, told USA Today.

This is due to the fact that, unlike most lotions, Vaseline does not absorb directly into the skin. Rather, it acts as a surface barrier to keep water from evaporating and to keep you hydrated, according to USA Today.

Unfortunately, slugging may not be for everyone, especially those with oily or sensitive skin.

“If you’re trapping things and occluding the skin, there is definitely a potential for breakouts,” Dr. Marchbein told Teen Vogue.

“If you’re acne-prone but want a similar effect, I would use a creamy moisturizer instead of petrolatum. Look for ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and dimethicone. And then you can spot treat with Vaseline where you’re drier,” Marchbein added.