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What is Slugging? An Answer to Your Skin’s Problems

You know it all too well. Some new crazy makeup, skin care, esthetician trend pops up via Tiktok and everyone is doing it. Most of these, like doing your makeup routine in reverse, are harmless, even though you might end up looking strange if it doesn’t work out. One of the most recent skin care trends is slugging (a hint: it does not involve rubbing a snail on your face) and we’ve got all the info so you know before you try it!

What Is Slugging?

Slugging is the process of applying a layer of a petroleum-like product on your face to help keep it hydrated and moisturized. It was dubbed ‘slugging’ because after applying the product, your face looks glossy and shiny… like a slug.

And yes, you heard us right, petroleum jelly as in Vaseline, healing ointments, Aquaphor, CeraVe, etc. An important thing to know about this moisturizing method is that the actual size of the molecules that these ointments are made of are too large to penetrate through your skin. So if you’re worried about having clogged pores or increased acne after trying this, you can feel at ease, because it’s not likely to worsen those issues. In fact, it can actually be a major help to your skin!

How can it help?

Think of it like a force field for your skin barrier—keeping things in and protecting it from things outside of it. Slugging overnight (which is how it’s usually done) helps retain moisture while your sleeping. Another reason you should slug overnight is because of how your body works to repair itself while you’re sleeping. This can include healing cells and stimulating new cells to grow—the perfect time to be protecting your face from losing moisture.

If you have any of the following skin conditions, you could benefit from slugging:

  • Dry skin
  • Windburn (on or around lips)
  • Flaky, eczema-like patches of skin
  • Compromised skin barrier
  • Inflamed, irritated skin

Dos and Don’ts

Incorporating slugging into your current skin care routine couldn’t be easier. Ideally at night, follow your normal routine, skipping any face oils or spot treatment creams. Then, while your face is still damp, add a small amount of your petroleum product over your face evenly. In the morning, simply cleanse your face. Even though the act of slugging is quite simple, there are some guidelines you should stay within for best results.


  • Use a petroleum-type moisturizer (or a thick cream if you are acne-prone)
  • Use a light layer of product
  • Cleanse your face before and after


  • Use on dry, dirty skin
  • Use a thick layer of product
  • Apply face oils beforehand


As with trying any new skin care products or methods, it doesn’t hurt to do a little research beforehand! This step can help you avoid bad reactions, rashes, etc and keep your skin barrier in the best shape possible.