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What’s “slugging”?

And do you need ugly new words? No, but we get them anyway.

Slugging is a “viral” skincare technique that involves coating your face in an occlusive moisturizer, like a petrolatum-based formula, to help it heal. It got its name because it makes your face look ultra shiny and slimy—like a slug made its way across your face.

If you have severe skin problems, like those caused by diabetes or cancer, your doctor may have suggested an occlusive cream anyway. But what about the rest of us?

If you follow social media, you may have already bought petrolatum-based cream (vaseline is a tradename for petrolatum) or maybe a slugging cream. These could be the ingredients: hydrogenated vegetable oil, hexyldecanol, bisabolol, cetylhydroxyproline palmitamide, brassica campestris (rapeseed) sterols, citric acid, and stearic acid.

Why use a slugging cream without petrolatum or mineral oil? If you have succumbed to two viral concepts simultaneously, slugging is good for you, and petrolatum is terrible. Both are silly, as most concepts become popular via social media without consideration of any rational thoughts. 

If you decide to “slug,” good luck with your acne! Occluded pores are an excellent way to develop acne at any age.

In my opinion, occluding creams are beneficial when your skin loses the capacity to do its job, be a barrier, i.e., prevent water loss and penetration. They also help with the discomfort caused by dry skin, which usually includes itch.  But there is something even better: repair the skin barrier using a Skin Actives product like every lipid serum, which provides nutrition that allows your skin to improve as a barrier naturally, making its lipids that will, together with proteins, give you a helpful skin barrier.

And, remember: your skin needs to breathe, and an impermeable coat of “slug” will impede oxygen diffusion. It’s not dangerous for you (don’t believe 007’s Goldfinger), but your skin will be even more unhappy with you than it was yesterday.

Also, remember that TikTok ads are not based on reality. Or science. Or research. Or logic.




DISCLAIMER: These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.