The hashtag #slugging has over 200 million views on the app. Videos of people coating their faces in petroleum jelly to get nourished clear skin seem to have flooded the app. While some claim it has gotten rid of their acne, others say it’s their secret to supple skin.
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In The Know spoke with Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, a board-certified dermatologist, to find out if slugging is really all it’s cracked up to be.
“Slugging is using an occlusive, like petroleum jelly or petrolatum, as the final step in your nighttime skin care routine to really lock in hydration and prevent water loss so that you have super dewy, moisturized skin in the morning,” Dr. Zubritsky tells In the Know.
Products that contain petrolatum, like Vaseline, Aquaphor and CeraVe Healing Ointment, tend to be popular options for slugging. And while this may be the latest trend amongst Gen Z, Dr. Zubritsky says it has actually been around for decades.
“It’s something that not just the younger generation can get behind, but it’s something dermatologists can get behind as well. So it’s effective. It’s affordable,” she says. “And it actually works.”
While she doesn’t recommend the method for acne-prone or oily skin types, it can be beneficial for those with normal to dry skin.
“I typically don’t recommend slathering it on in a thick layer. Really, you just need a super thin layer to reap the benefits,” the doctor says.
Dr. Zubritsky’s slugging routine entails cleansing, applying serums, moisturizing, then finally putting on a thin layer of petrolatum. She recommends only slugging a few nights a week so that the skin can still breathe.
“The biggest risk with slugging is if you use things like tretinoin or glycolic acid or salicylic acid, retinols or retinoids, you could be locking in those products,” the doctor explains. “It could increase the potency and the absorption of those products, which could lead to more irritation.”
Most hesitant sluggers are concerned that slathering on Vaseline or Aquaphor could clog their pores. But Dr. Zubritsky says that’s not a major concern.
“Vaseline or petroleum jelly in and of itself is non-comedogenic,” she says. “But it does sit on top of your skin. It can prevent dirt, debris and oil from escaping your skin. So that’s why it’s really important if you want to do this trend that you make sure your skin is totally cleaned of all of that, so you don’t trap that dirt and oil and cause breakouts.”
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