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The Truth Behind Slugging

Rachel Rachel Follow Mar 20, 2021 · 2 mins read
The Truth Behind Slugging
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The world of skincare, more specifically referring to skincare trends, can be unusual. At one point, the beauty community may or may not have fallen into the trend of applying snail slime onto our faces. Though more recently, a new trend of “slugging” has been popularized. Thankfully slugging doesn’t involve applying animal secretions, however it does involve a controversial ingredient in skincare.

What is slugging?

Slugging is a skincare trend that involves layering petrolatum, often known as Vaseline or petroleum jelly, on the face.

What are the benefits of slugging?

Our skin gradually loses moisture throughout the day. This process is called transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Applying petrolatum as an occlusive helps prevent moisture loss and acts as a protective layer on the skin.

Is slugging safe?

The main ingredient of the slugging process is petrolatum. Concerns surrounding petrolatum stems from its manufacturing process, where it is believed that harmful contaminants are found in the ingredient. However, the manufacturing process for petrolatum used in skincare is a controlled process that requires refining of the ingredient. Once refined and processed, petrolatum is deemed safe for skincare.

Some grades of petrolatum go as far to acquire a USP label, meaning that the ingredient meets or exceeds the standards of purity set by the United States Pharmacopeia. The use of petrolatum is diverse and is often recommended by dermatologists as well. Due to its non-reactive, inert properties as a skin occlusive, it’s great for those with dry or sensitive skin. For topical use, petrolatum is one of the safest ingredients to use for those with eczema, including babies, as well as for post operative care.

hello Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

Slugging 101

Apply a pea sized amount of petrolatum to the face as the last step of your skincare routine. Though some chose to apply petrolatum all over the face, targeted slugging can help with areas on the face with flaky skin or compromised skin barrier.

Who should be slugging?

Those with dry skin can benefit the most from slugging as the last step of their skincare routine. Slugging is also a great option for those with sensitive skin as petrolatum is a non-irritating skincare ingredient.

Petrolatum is safe for topical use on the skin and is non-comedogenic, will not cause breakouts. However, those who use actives in their routine should be cautious of products applied under the slugging process. Active such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and retinoids can prolong the effects of exfoliation and skin sensitivity under heavier occlusives. Slugging for those who are prone to break outs or have oily skin should also keep in mind that petrolatum’s ability to keep moisture on the skin by acting as a protective barrier transfers to it’s ability to keep natural oils beneath its surface.

Should slugging be a part of everyone’s routine? Like with all skincare products, it comes down to personal preference as slugging may feel too heavy for some but work amazingly for others.

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Written by Rachel
Hi. I'm Rachel, the founder and formulation chemist behind Rho Cosmetics. Better beauty choices begins with a true understanding of what we put on our skin. Let's talk skincare!