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< THE BEAUTY SPELLBOOK SHOP >
Beauty 101

Does Slugging Work To Heal Acne?

Rachel Gibbons Beauty Expert
Does Slugging Work To Heal Acne?

If you've seen a plethora of slimy, shiny faces on TikTok recently, you've probably found the popular skin care routine, "slugging." The trend has created a frenzy among beauty advocates and gone viral on TikTok due to claims that it makes skin smooth and soft. 

Don't worry, this process doesn't use any real slugs. Slugging involves an inexpensive household product that your grandma always has in her bathroom: petroleum jelly.

What is slugging?

Slugging is a Korean beauty skin care practice that means slathering petroleum jelly on your face. You can use any product from Aquaphor to CeraVe to Vaseline in order to moisturise and protect the face overnight. Videos of this beauty technique have gone viral on TikTok, with over 154 million views to date under the hashtag #slugging. Many TikTok users who have tried it out for themselves report results such as plump, glowing and moisturised skin.  

Petroleum jelly consists of oils and waxes that act as a barrier on the skin, trapping moisture underneath. Studies have shown that Vaseline– one of the most popular brands of petroleum jelly– has properties that may help repair your skin's outermost layer. In addition to keeping the skin moisturised, petroleum jelly can increase the potency of other products applied underneath. 

Slugging is most effective when combined with humectants (a dermatology term for ingredients that retain moisture), such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin or urea.

Some benefits reported from slugging include:

What do experts say?

Dermatologists are not surprised by this trend, given that Vaseline has been a popular beauty product for decades. They already know how occlusives (such as petroleum jelly) effectively lock in moisture to keep skin hydrated and plump. Board-certified New York dermatologist Dr. Hadley King agrees with the effectiveness of slugging as long as you "do it the right way." 

According to King, the slugging skin care trend is most helpful for those with dry skin or those who are often exposed to dry conditions given that "a dry environment will exacerbate transepidermal water loss and dryness of the skin." Still, King recommends being cautious when applying occlusives on top of topical medications because it could increase the potency, creating adverse effects. 

Does slugging help acne-prone skin?

Slugging isn't for everyone. according to Dr. Debra Jaliman, board-certified New York dermatologist and author of the book Skin Rules. "Slugging before you go to sleep is fine if you have very dry skin, but not a good idea for acne-prone skin," Jaliman said. "Slugging can potentially trap oils and clog the skin's pores and especially irritate acne-prone skin, contributing to breakouts."

Echoing King's advice, Jaliman also recommends using a product that hydrates, moisturises and protects all in one: "Personally, I would recommend using a thick cream such as CeraVe moisturising cream that has ceramides and hyaluronic acid."

Slugging is one of the most influential skin care regimes thanks to social media. Make sure to do thorough research on the right products and techniques to slug to avoid any breakages from taking place. 

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