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Here’s Whether Or Not You Should Try Slugging, TikTok’s Latest K-Beauty Skincare Trend, According to a Derm

Belle Bakst

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Just when I think I’ve started to catch up with beauty trends online, I hear a phrase for the very first time. You can’t scroll for too long without hearing the word “slugging.” The K-beauty trend has gone viral, with so many jumping on board to try it out. So, what exactly is slugging, and how do you do it? Slugging is a beauty trend which involves applying a thick layer of petroleum on your skin in order to keep in moisture. It’s often done before bed. We talked to New York City board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman about this latest trend.

“Slugging has become popular amongst those with extremely dry or sensitive skin types, because the technique helps to lock in some of the moisture that typically escapes when we rest,” Dr. Engelman says. “This occurs because when we sleep sebum production lessens and our bodily temperatures rise — the combination of these two things leads to transepidermal water loss, as there is less of a barrier preventing the water escaping as we heat up. Hence why, people sometimes slug their skin, and allow the products to act as that barrier.” The product most used for slugging, is a regular jar of everyday Vaseline!

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Image: Vaseline. Image: Vaseline.

Vaseline $3.99 on

Thinking about opening that jar of Vaseline and trying the trend out for yourself? Being aware of your skin type is crucial before reaching into your medicine cabinet, as not everyone should try it. “There are more effective techniques that can be used in lieu of slugging and knowing your skin type is crucial when debating testing this technique,” Dr. Engelman says. “Those who have acne-prone, naturally oily, or even normal skin types can risk perpetuating acne-breakouts and clogging pores using this method.”

With the vast assortment of beauty products available, it can be overwhelming to know what to buy to combat winter dryness. “The most critical factor in combating dryness and preventing moisture loss, is what products and ingredients you’re using in your routine,” Dr. Engelman says. “It’s important to avoid harsh or strong actives/ingredients that may irritate the skin like AHAs, BHAs, and retinols.”

In addition to avoiding skin irritants, you should be on the prevention offensive. “I always tell my patients prevention is key!” Dr. Engelman says. “Ensuring you’re consistently moisturizing your skin after showering or cleansing is important, in addition to incorporating humectants, emollients and occlusives into your skincare regimen.”

And if you’re looking for some recommendations as to what might be good to add to your skincare arsenal, Dr. Engelman has some for you. “I recommend avoiding alcohol-based products,” She says. “One product I love is Humphrey’s Witch Hazel + Grapefruit Toner, which is great for all skin types and helps to refine pores while a recharging grapefruit formula helps reduce excess oil for clear and rejuvenated skin. I also recommend using a humidifier (I recommend the one from Canopy) at night in your bedroom.”

Feel like you’re caring for your skin beyond a normal routine, and still struggling with dryness? Maybe you should put down the Vaseline and see a professional for dryness. “If you’re taking all precautions and using gentle, hydrating ingredients but you’re still experiencing cracking or itching of the skin, then I would say it’s worth consulting with your dermatologist,” Dr. Engelman says.

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