Allie Slowik, PA-C

Age-Defying Expert

Demystifying the Beauty Trend of “Slugging” in Skincare

Slugging, a term borrowed from the K-beauty skincare scene, refers to a practice where individuals apply a heavy occlusive agent to their face, typically petrolatum or Vaseline, at the final step of their nighttime skincare routine.

Woman looking in mirror while gently massaging her face with a skincare product. She appears relaxed and focused, engaging in a self-care routine.

The world of skincare is constantly evolving, with new trends and techniques emerging regularly. One such trend that has recently gained attention is “slugging” in skincare. While it may sound unusual, slugging is a practice that has garnered a dedicated following. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what slugging is, its benefits, and how to incorporate it into your skincare routine for a radiant, moisturized complexion.

What is Slugging?

Slugging, a term borrowed from the K-beauty skincare scene, refers to a practice where individuals apply a heavy occlusive agent to their face, typically petrolatum or Vaseline, at the final step of their nighttime skincare routine. This occlusive layer acts as a seal to lock in the moisture and hydration provided by previous products.

The Science Behind Slugging

The concept behind slugging is grounded in skincare science. Our skin has a natural barrier to retain moisture and protect against external elements. Slugging aims to reinforce this barrier, preventing moisture loss and enhancing the effectiveness of the skincare products applied earlier in the routine.

Petrolatum, the most commonly used product in slugging, creates a protective barrier that minimizes transepidermal water loss (TEWL), thereby preserving skin hydration. It’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores when used correctly. Instead, it provides a smooth, dewy appearance while aiding the skin’s natural recovery process.

Benefits of Slugging

Intense Hydration

Slugging is particularly effective in locking in moisture, making it an excellent choice for those with dry or dehydrated skin. It can help combat flakiness, rough patches, and dullness.

Barrier Repair

By strengthening the skin’s natural barrier, slugging can help protect against environmental factors like pollution and dry air, while also preventing sensitivity.

Enhanced Product Efficacy

When used in the final step of your nighttime skincare routine, slugging can help enhance the performance of your other products. It locks in the benefits of your other night-time serums & moisturizers.

Soothing Effects

Slugging can be particularly soothing for sensitive or irritated skin, offering comfort and reducing redness. This can be especially beneficial following certain facial treatments like chemical peels, lasers, retinoid or hydroquinone treatment cycles, and microneedling. Ask your skin care provider when a “Slugging Cycle” may be appropriate to incorporate into your skin regimen following a specific treatment.

How to Incorporate Slugging into Your Skincare Routine

Choose the Right Product

Opt for high-quality Petrolatum or Vaseline, free from fragrances or added ingredients that could irritate your skin. The most commonly used slugging products are Vaseline, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, and Aquaphor.


Slugging is typically a nighttime routine. After cleansing your face and applying your regular serums and moisturizer, gently spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly or Vaseline over your skin. Do not apply petroleum-based products on top of active acne or infection, as this may trap bacteria and cause detrimental spread. It is also not advised to apply occlusive petrolatum on top of prescription-grade retinoids or brightening agents. Trapping these active products underneath an occlusive barrier can exponentially increase their potency and irritant side effects.


Use clean, dry hands to apply the product. Be gentle and ensure even coverage, but avoid over-applying, as a thin layer is usually sufficient.

Morning Routine

In the morning, gently cleanse your face to remove the occlusive layer and follow with your regular daytime skincare routine, including sunscreen.


Slugging in skincare is more than just a quirky trend; it’s a practical and effective way to lock in moisture, strengthen your skin’s barrier, and promote a radiant complexion. While it might not be suitable for all skin types, individuals with dry, dehydrated, or sensitive skin can especially benefit from this skincare practice. As with any skincare routine, it’s essential to listen to your skin’s needs and adjust your regimen accordingly. By embracing slugging wisely, you can achieve that coveted dewy glow while nurturing healthy, hydrated skin.

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