Slugging Skin Care; The Best Skin Care Hack for Damaged Skin

What is Slugging?

Slugging is a K-beauty craze that entails liberally applying a petroleum-based product as the final step in your routine to help lock and seal in your skincare products overnight, followed by washing it off with a cleanser the next day. “I think slugging is a fantastic skincare method for individuals with dry or sensitive skin in the winter,” says Shari Marchbein, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine. “Petroleum jelly is an occlusive that not only soothes irritated skin and aids wound healing, but it may also act as a protective barrier for the skin.”

How does slugging affect the skin?

Slugging is just covering your face with an occlusive moisturizer, such as Vaseline or any petrolatum-based product, to aid in healing. To clarify (since you’ll hear this phrase a lot), an occlusive is a moisturizing ingredient that forms a physical barrier on your skin to lock in moisture and prevent water loss. “We utilize occlusives, or Vaseline, for wound healing following operations,” Dr. Mudgil explains. “I’ll apply it over the sutures since it keeps the wound moist and promotes quicker healing.”

So, how does this relate to your face? Your skin barrier—that is, the top layer of your skin that is mainly responsible for how your face looks and feels—can be easily damaged (or injured) by everything from sun exposure to pollution to using too harsh skincare products.

Slugging, on the other hand, can aid in the healing process by creating a moist environment in which your barrier can gradually mend and rebuild itself. Slugging is ideal for those with very dry skin or eczema. It retains moisture and pushes it back into the cells.

The moisture and humidity that keep your skin looking supple, full, and plump cannot be maintained when your skin barrier lacks a correct fat balance. And this is what may happen if you use too many peels, scrubs, and acids: you might damage your skin’s barrier, leaving it injured and exposed to outside forces.

For who is slugging more suitable?

Slugging is a bit harsh, therefore it’s excellent for individuals who have extremely dry skin or a damaged skin barrier, such as sensitive skin disorders. Water can readily seep out of an already porous skin barrier, therefore sealing in hydration is critical for certain skin types. Slugging may reduce water loss, allowing your skin to begin the process of rebuilding its skin barrier.

What are the advantages of slugging?

Slugging produces a skin seal, limiting transepidermal water loss and preserving and rebuilding the skin’s natural lipid barrier, which binds skin cells together.

“A common analogy for the interaction between your skin cells and their lipid barrier is the similarity that it shares with a brick wall—the skin cells are very much like the bricks, constituting the bulk of the physical structure; the lipids are essentially the mortar for the wall, holding the bricks together and supporting the overall integrity of the wall itself,” Ali Tobia, a licensed esthetician in New York City, explains. So, is anyone up for some baby soft, ultra-moisturized skin?

Slugging, on the other hand, is a wonderful reparative technique if you’re struggling with dryness or skin damage right now and want to raise your moisture level to try to rebalance your skin.

This is where slugging is most effective: by increasing the lipid barrier, it artificially strengthens the way your skin naturally protects itself. When the lipid barrier is compromised, slugging takes over. Just like the brick wall, if you fix the mortar and then have cracks and decay in the same places, you’ll want to figure out what’s causing it and solve it.

Is slugging harmful for people who have acne?

This is where slugging is most effective: by increasing the lipid barrier, it artificially strengthens the way your skin naturally protects itself. When the lipid barrier is compromised, slugging takes over. Just like the brick wall, if you fix the mortar and then have cracks and decay in the same places, you’ll want to figure out what’s causing it and solve it. Slugging, on the other hand, is a wonderful reparative technique if you’re struggling with dryness or skin damage right now and want to raise your moisture level to try to rebalance your skin.

Slugging is most effective in this area: by increasing the lipid barrier, it artificially strengthens the way your skin protects itself. Slugging takes over when the lipid limitation is disrupted. If you fix the mortar and subsequently have splits and deterioration in the same locations, you’ll want to figure out what’s causing it and address it, just like with the brick wall.

Slugging, on the other hand, is dangerous if you’re naturally oily or acne-prone. Vaseline is so occlusive that it prevents your skin oils from escaping, which can irritate the hair follicle and cause acne. Basically, the whole “let your skin breathe” idea is really accurate when it comes to pimples. Instead, consider replacing your normal moisturizer with one that has barrier-repairing components like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

What distinguishes skin slugging from normal moisturizing?

Regular moisturizers, unlike petroleum-based treatments, are not occlusives. Petroleum-based products are known for being thicker and more occlusive, which means they are not breathable and trap moisture in your skin, reducing transepidermal water loss. This improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture.

While inflammatory treatments like petroleum jelly keep moisture in, they do not moisturize the skin. They are not interchangeable procedures, and it is crucial to understand that slugging does not provide moisturizing advantages on its own, but it may be useful in boosting the effects of an already excellent moisturizer.

If you want to take your chance at slugging, follow the instructions below:

Step 1:

Begin by cleansing and dampening your face as usual.

Step 2:

Hydration, such as a mild serum or moisturizer, should be used. This is completely optional. Under your slugging layer, you may use hyaluronic acid products or any moisturizing moisturizer, but she doesn’t believe it’s necessary. If you do go for it, she advises you to be gentle.

Step 3:

Apply a thin, occlusive coating of Vaseline or other petrolatum-based ointments to seal it in. Remember to maintain the petrolatum coating as thin as possible.

What are the disadvantages of skin slugging?

Because occlusive products are used in skin slugging, it may create clog pores if you have oily or acne-prone skin. While the products are non-comedogenic, if any other items in your routine cause acne, they will be sealed in.

Dermatologists also advise avoiding employing active substances below an occlusive. Slugging will seal in any product you apply before it, so be cautious of putting an extra layer on top of a highly active component, like retinoids, since this may frequently cause discomfort.

Another thing to keep in mind is that slugging is not a long-term treatment but rather works best for people who have short-term skin dryness or injury. If you want a treatment that goes beyond a few weeks of slugging a few evenings each week, you will most likely require something more precisely targeted for whatever is causing your issue.

How Frequent Should You Do Slugging Skin Care?

After you’ve done your evening cleansing and moisturizing routine, add a pea-sized amount of petroleum to your fingertips. Dermatologists generally recommend Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. To apply it, lightly coat your fingertips with it and press them into your skin all over your face.

To protect your face from getting overly greasy, apply only a thin layer of ointment. If you slug, you may also try sleeping on your back and changing your pillowcase more frequently. Apply petroleum jelly solely to your lips and eyelids if you don’t want to apply the ointment to your entire face or if you have acne.

Ready to slug away but don’t know where to start? Here are the 5 Best Products that you can use for your slugging skincare routine!

For oily/acne-prone skin

1. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

This oil-free and non-comedogenic Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel hydrates dry skin. The moisturizer for dry skin contains hyaluronic acid and absorbs rapidly without blocking pores. After cleaning, apply evenly to the face and neck. Because this moisturizer is water-based rather than oil-based, it will not leave any extra oil on your skin when applied.

Key Feature:

Reasonable price for a great product


Moisturize eye and skin

Best for dry, normal and average skin

Works wonders on dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness


Not suitable for sensitive skin

2. Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream

This cream contains 70% snail slime extract and 10% physical stem extract, which restores the texture of damaged skin and provides it energy. It also aids in hydrating texture, skin protection, and skin texture and density. The Baobab tree extract and deep ocean water are combined to activate the capacity to store and retain skin moisture.

Key Feature:

Snail slime extract that actually helps your skin.


Protects against UV rays

Has anti aging effect

Hydrates and freshen tired looking eyes


Not suitable for damaged or broken skin

Does not help dry skin

For dry/damaged skin:

3. Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum The advantages of jelly are derived from its major component, petroleum, which helps seal your skin with a water-protective layer. This promotes skin healing and moisture retention. Vaseline is a moisturizing lotion that most individuals may use on their faces. People can use Vaseline to treat short-term skin issues such as transient skin dryness or irritation. Vaseline can also be used as a long-term moisturizer.

Key Feature:

Lasts longer than you can imagine.


Silky lightweight formula

Great for hydrating and nourishing skin


Might not be suitable for everyone

4. CeraVe Healing Ointment

CeraVe Healing Ointment is designed to protect, soothe, and moisturize the skin as it heals from cracking, chafing, and severe dryness. It has three vital ceramides and hyaluronic acid on a moisturizing basis and is lightweight yet extremely hydrating. It does exactly what it says it does: it moisturizes and soothes dry, irritated skin while mending it from the inside out.

Key Feature:

Highly recommended for skin hydration.


Suitable for morning application

Lightweight and quickly absorbed


Little expensive

Comes in small bottle

5. Aquaphor Healing Ointment

This medicine is used as a moisturizer to treat or prevent dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin, as well as mild skin irritations such as diaper rash and radiation treatment skin burns. Aquaphor Healing Ointment preserves the skin, promoting natural healing and preventing external irritants from accessing the lesion. 

Key Feature:

The sting-free composition of the small wound and burn ointment gives soothing treatment to minor wounds, cuts, scrapes, and burns.


Trears wounds like magic

Soothes treatment easily

Has powerful antioxidants and Vitamin C


Comes in small quantity


Slugging has an occlusive effect, which means that the thin layer of petrolatum produces a protective barrier on the skin. Slugging works by healing the skin by maintaining the skin barrier and reducing trans-epidermal water loss by retaining moisture.

What are our thoughts? We adore all things skin barrier support here at Beauty Signal Lab, so if slugging is what you need to focus on when it comes to developing your moisture barrier, we’re game on for it!

So, if you believe you want to give it a shot, we hope this article was useful! Please let us know how your slugging skincare routine turned out!

The products listed here have raving customer reviews and certified by reliable authorities. Try the one that best suits your needs and fits your budget. If you want to know more, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!



A beauty blogger. Has knowledge on hair care, skin care and everything else!

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