Many on the lookout for the latest skincare are trying out this new skincare regimen.
The phrase “slugging it out” has taken on an entirely new meaning these days, thanks to a new skincare trend that is hitting social media.
Made popular on Reddit, many are now trying out “slugging,” which is the practice of putting a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the face right before hitting the sack.
This K-beauty trend is meant to address the need to protect facial skin from losing its much need lipid layer, especially during cold winter months when skin tends to dry up to an extreme.
Is there any merit to this practice, though?
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Protecting the Skin’s Stratum Corneum
The skin is made up of different layers.
The topmost layer, the stratum corneum, helps keep facial skin hydrated by preventing too much water loss (1) through another layer of the skin known as the epidermis.
The st. corneum comprises three kinds of organic compounds known as lipids, mainly cholesterol, free fatty acids, and ceramides.
@dr.mamina FYI: Even though this doesn’t clog pores, it can exacerbate acne if you are acne-prone. Otherwise great for other skin types! #dermatologist #skincare #learnontiktok #slugging #moisturize ♬ original sound – Mamina Turegano, MD
When levels of lipids in this layer decrease, it leads to skin aging (2) since any reduction of lipids leads to a lessened capacity of the layer to hold water and maintain hydration.
Too many lipids, though, prevent the removal of old cells from the st. Corneum, which prevents the replacement of these old cells with newer ones.
The Role of Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly is an occlusive ingredient. What petroleum jelly does is serve as a barrier that prevents water from escaping the skin’s outermost layer.
However, when petroleum jelly gets washed off in the morning, it allows for enough water to escape allowing for old skin cells to get sloughed off, allowing newer ones to replace them.
@lenamaiah Slugging changed my skin #winterskin #dryskin #lenasrecs ♬ original sound – Lena
Petroleum jelly enables your skin to stay hydrated overnight without preventing skin renewal from happening.
New York dermatologist Dr. Angelo Landriscina, in an article(3) for Byrdie, explains, “Petrolatum prevents most water loss while allowing your skin to repair its barrier, leaving it better off once the petrolatum is removed.”
Is it For Everyone?
Slugging is a technique recommended for those who have dehydrated skin.
Petroleum jelly, to be occlusive, has to be able to repel water hence its oily nature.
@skincareaddictionn Love slugging but it’s not for everyone ?? #slugging #vaseline #petroleumjelly #skincare #skincare101 #skincareproducts #skincareroutine #selfcare ♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依
Using this on a person with oily skin will further aggravate acne and other conditions associated with oily skin, so it is best to avoid using these ingredients for those with the said skin type.
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Which Petroleum Jelly is Safe To Use?
There have been many negative campaigns against the use of petroleum jelly due to processing issues in the past.
If you do plan to try out slugging, though, make sure you look for a USP grade brand, such as Vaseline or Aquaphor, to make sure that the petroleum jelly you are using is safe to use.
@kendrathemom_ @kendrathemom_ The perfect product for slugging ❤️ #slugging #sluggingwithvaseline #jellystick #kendrathemom ♬ So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings – Caroline Polachek
You can also try using mineral oil which can serve the same purpose.
Especially during the winter season or during dry months, you may want to try using this new regiment to prevent extremely dry facial skin.
It doesn’t require expensive products that may break the bank, but it may deliver the results you are looking for.
1. Smeden J van, Bouwstra JA. Stratum Corneum Lipids: Their Role for the Skin Barrier Function in Healthy Subjects and Atopic Dermatitis Patients. Skin Barrier Function [Internet]. 2016;49:8–26. Available from: https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/441540#:~:text=The%20skin%20barrier%20is%20located
2. Rawlings AV. The Stratum Corneum and Aging. Textbook of Aging Skin. 2015;1–25.
3. “Slugging” Is the K-Beauty Skincare Trend Going Viral on Reddit [Internet]. Byrdie. [cited 2022 Feb 23]. Available from: https://www.byrdie.com/slugging-skincare-trend-5087545