Slugging, the skincare trend you should know about

There are several techniques and products that soften the skin of the face. “Slugging” is one of the methods of the moment, although its application requires precautions that we will explain to you.

Last update: 05 July, 2022

It is common for facial care routines to include products that promise to favor the complexion without waiting long to show off the results. This is the case of slugging, a technique that proposes polishing the face using Vaseline or petrolatum.

This substance, as pointed out by the University Clinic of Navarra (CUN), is a paste, cream or ointment formula with emollient, lubricating and protective properties for the skin. The composition derives from refining saturated hydrocarbons.

From being useful in healing irritations, scabs and excoriations, Vaseline gained a place in the world beauty. In social networks, some content creators suggest applying the ingredient to the face to make it look like “porcelain”. But you have to be careful with the trick.

What is slugging?

The slugging is part of K-Beautyan identifying term for Korean beauty. It consists of spreading a layer of Vaseline on the face in order to soften and illuminate.

The popularity of the method is due to the flattering comments on social networks, where it is ensured that the complexion changes overnight.

However, convincing evidence is needed to prove the efficacy of the treatment. Dermatological opinions refer to it with caution, Well, petrolatum works as a remedy in certain skin conditions, but the skin of the face is very delicate.

In addition, most of the videos broadcast through TikTok do not correspond to health professionals, but to users who have tried the product and recommend it to remove blackheads and smooth.

Although in some cases the results are positive, professionals warn that paraffin gels should not be applied daily. These mixtures tend to hamper the functionality of the glands that produce skin lipids.

Vaseline cannot be placed on the skin daily because its hydrocarbon derivatives can cause side effects.

Is slugging suitable for any skin type?

During times of low temperatures or on a very windy and cold day, perhaps a little Vaseline would come in handy, as long as the face does not have the following characteristics:

  • Predisposition to acne: Oily skin would be worsened by the filmogenic characteristic of the ointment, capable of affecting the work of the sebaceous glands.
  • infections: there is a possibility that the ointment will interfere with the healing of an open wound, although the emollient has always been marketed as a protector for minor cuts and burns. This is how a clinical trial sponsored by the Rockefeller University.
  • Oily skin: dermis with such a uniqueness already have the appropriate or excessive lipid layer and do not require an additional one.

Benefits and risks of slugging

Do not condemn this beauty trick out of the blue. It is crucial to know both the advantages and contraindications of the advice K-Beauty. Respecting the steps and the condition of the skin, there would be adequate results.


Among the benefits we can list the following:

  • Promotes the penetration of ingredients: The Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology points out that Vaseline is occlusive. Therefore, the slugging entrusts the last step of the routines skin care to petrolatum. This acts as a night mask that seals the assets applied before. The idea is that the substances penetrate better.
  • Maintains transepidermal water: Although it is a thin layer, the consistency of the product preserves the moisture of the skin. This is one of the premises of the procedure.
  • Helps the skin barrier: Those who use this method seek to improve the skin protection barrier, since it is believed that it prevents the passage of environmental dirt to facial tissue.


On the other hand, the risks to consider of Vaseline on the skin are the following:

  • It could cause breakouts: If your face is experiencing breakouts of pimples, blackheads, and blemishes, Vaseline may make it worse. In the same vein, the slugging helps diligent absorption of comedogenic oils and these are not suitable for oily skin.
  • Clash between assets: Several cosmetics to beautify the skin have strong active ingredients, such as retinoids. Given the enveloping mission of Vaseline, this class of elements are trapped and the danger of harming sensitive skin with irritation, hyperpigmentation and pimples increases.
  • Possible delay in disinfection: the petrolatum should be suspended until healing of areas with dermatoses or infections, whether fungal or bacterial. Depending on the severity, the process would be delayed by clogging the pores. In these cases, the application area must be thoroughly cleaned and treated with a topical steroid prescribed by the dermatologist.
Oily skin already has an excessive layer that covers it, so the addition of Vaseline can be counterproductive.

How to make skin care slugging effective?

A couple of keys that you should always remember is that, although the skin assimilates the slugging, you should not include it in the daily routine, but on specific occasions. As repetitive as it may seem to say, it is important to know that the effects are not the same on all skins.

For the effectiveness of the Korean technique on dry skin, take note of the steps you must follow.

  1. Cleanliness: remove makeup with a gentle, alcohol-free cleanser; It can be micellar water. If you use toner, apply it.
  2. Restoration and hydration: With your face cleansed, apply a cream or serum that restores the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a good option before occlusives, because it maximizes hydration.
  3. slugging: this is the time to spread the Vaseline. The layer has to be thin. Wait 30 minutes before going to bed. What remains is to let the product act overnight.
  4. Morning cleaning: upon waking, wash your face with your usual cleanser and continue with the skin care in the morning.

Vaseline substitutes for treatment

Other thick substances are also considered for the same purpose. For example, grape seed oil, refined olive oil, and castor oil are alternatives.

Although these have certain natural affinities with the skin, the correct thing is to consult and respect the dermatological observations regarding what you will use as a face beautifier.

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