Slugging May Be the Answer to Your Dehydrated Skin Woes

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Let’s rewind to the start of the year when I looked at my face in the bathroom mirror before hitting the sack and realised that my skin was in dire need of some TLC. You see, I use exfoliating acids and sometimes, (okay, most of the time), I go a bit overboard. Weeks of abusing my skin with lactic acid and Alpha H Liquid Gold — which is my holy grail BTW — left my face dehydrated, dull and dry. 

When I tried to cover it up with makeup, my base appeared patchy and almost as if my skin was eating my foundation. 

If the above sounds familiar then you’re most likely dealing with a damaged moisture barrier, which leaves the skin angry, irritated and itchy. On the upside, you’ve discovered the reason your skin hates you at the moment, but now it’s time to get to work.

When our moisture barrier is compromised it’s important to completely strip back and stick to a simple skincare routine. Hydration is key, so a moisturiser with ceramides and a squalane face oil is going to be your best friend for the next four weeks. 

But there’s a viral new beauty trend that’s making the rounds on TikTok, and people are convinced it’s helping their dehydrated skin once and for all. “Slugging” may not sound too appealing, but it’s derived from the K-beauty world, and we all know how advanced Koreans are when it comes to their skincare.

But unlike previous 10-step skincare routines, slugging only requires one extra item, and it won’t break the bank either. 

How Does it Work?

Slugging, to put it simply, is when you coat your face in an occlusive moisturiser such as Vaseline or any other petrolatum-based formula. The occlusive acts as a physical barrier on your skin to lock in hydration and prevent water loss. 

Many doctors actually use Vaseline on wounds such as stitches because it helps keep the area moist, allowing it to heal faster. So, it’s the same deal when it comes to the face. Our moisture barrier is finicky, and the only way to repair the damage is to create a moist environment so the skin can heal and rebuild itself. Just apply your nightly skincare and for the final step, coat the area with Vaseline to help lock in the moisture. 

Will Slugging Irritate Acne-Prone Skin?

The answer is both yes and no, but not for the reasons you may think. While you may be wary of slathering thick, greasy Vaseline over your skin, the product itself cannot clog your pores. If you don’t believe us, then just know there are several published studies to prove it. Petrolatum-based products contain molecules that are far too large to fit into your pores, making them completely non-comedogenic. 

On the other hand, if you’re someone who is naturally quite oily or acne-prone then slugging may further irritate the hair follicles on your face and stimulate acne. So, if you’re someone who has relatively clear skin which is dry and damaged then give slugging a go but if you deal with cystic acne or breakouts in general then you may want to skip this one.

How Often Should You Slug?

If you’re like me and your moisture barrier is completely torn to shreds then you may need to slug every night for two months. But if you’ve gone a little too hard on the at-home peel and just need to bring life back into your skin then you should see improvements within a week. 

How to Slug

It’s always best to slug right before you go to bed. Not only does your skin work hardest to repair itself while you sleep, but your face is also going to look like an oily mess. Is it comfortable? No. Is it effective? Definitely. 

Step 1: Do your normal night time skincare routine, but skip the face oils and serums.

Step 2: Make sure your face is slightly damp from the products you applied and spread a small amount of Vaseline over your skin. It doesn’t need to be too thick, but just make sure every inch is covered.

Step 3: In the morning, cleanse as usual.

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