The term “slugging” has been wildly popularized in the skincare world as of late, but what does it mean and will it actually deliver the soft, supple, and dewy skin of your dreams? Well, we’re breaking it all down, and giving you the esthetician point of view on this viral Tiktok skincare hack.
Deriving from a Korean skincare trend, slugging involves slathering your face with a thick layer of an occlusive moisturizer, such as petroleum jelly, and sleeping in it overnight. This “slug-like” process is supposed to lock in hydration and promote soft, glowy skin. But, is slugging safe, and does it actually work?
Well, as you may know, occlusive moisturizers are designed to do exactly what this hack suggests – lock in moisture. In theory, applying a thick layer of it to your skin will create a protective barrier to promote extra hydration. This could be especially beneficial to those who suffer from dry or inflamed skin. So, the short answer is, yes slugging does work. However, there are some things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of adapting this into your skincare regimen.
It’s important to be careful when slugging, especially if you are applying active ingredients like glycolics and retinols to your skin in the same night. Remember, occlusive moisturizers keep everything on your skin locked up nice and tight, so if you’re applying them over aggressive skincare ingredients, you’re causing them to penetrate the skin even deeper. This could potentially lead to irritation and skin damage.
All this to say, if you’re wanting to “slug it up,” only do so on nights you’re using skincare products on the calmer, gentler side. For even better results, grab your most hydrating moisturizers (we recommend our Lime Aid) and apply those under your occlusive layer. That way, all that refreshing hydration is working its way even deeper into the skin.
Although most occlusive barriers are non-comedogenic, and therefore don’t have any acne-causing ingredients, it can still clog your pores when used in slugging. Everything underneath this protective barrier is locked in, that means all those natural oils and possible bacteria. So, take heed if you’re prone to acne, because you could unintentionally create a breeding ground for more breakouts.
Another note on slugging: do so sparingly! Your skin has natural barrier functions that could be disrupted if you’re “greasing up” more than a few nights a week. All this extra moisture retention you get from slugging can keep too much water in your skin cells, slowing your transepidermal water loss function. This results in possible barrier dysfunction, which can actually worsen skin and cause damage in extreme cases.
So, to sum it all up, slugging can be a positive process to incorporate into your skincare routine if you’re the right candidate. However, ensure that you’re doing it carefully and sparingly. Good luck, and talk soon!