Why Dermatologists Warn Against the New 'Slugging' Skin Care Trend

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If you haven’t heard of “slugging” yet, then you probably don’t spend a lot of time perusing Reddit’s Skin Care Addiction forum. Within those pages upon pages of Reddit users sharing their best beauty and skin care tips, are posts where users sing the praises of petroleum jelly as a facial moisturizer. The process of slugging, which entails completing your normal nightly skin care routine, followed by slathering your face with Vaseline before you hit the sheets, seems to have been born online. And many Redditors are swearing by the new (but let’s face it, using petrolum jelly isn’t new) technique and say turning themselves into a slug before bed is totally transforming their skin.

Now, before you go layering on the petroleum jelly and ruining your pillowcase, be warned, not everyone is a fan. Namely, the dermatologists we talked to say it’s really not the best method for getting softer skin overnight. “I would never recommend this as first line of treatment to my patients,” says Los Gatos, CA dermatologist Steven Swengel, MD. “Although it is an inexpensive way to hydrate the skin, there is a potential risk for acne prone skin. Pure occlusion can set off some bad outbreaks so this method should be used with caution.”

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Chicago dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, MD agrees wholeheartedly and says this skin care trend is one to skip. “I have no clue why anyone would want to use an occlusive ointment on their face,” says Dr. Jacob. “The only benefit is to trap water if you have dry skin. But otherwise, petrolatum is comedogenic, which means it can cause acne, and has no health benefits other than keeping wounds moist so they can heal.”

So, the verdict is in. While it won’t do you any major harm to give it a try if you’re convinced slugging is for you, it might lead to unwanted breakouts. But if you’re one of the 50 million people in the U.S. who suffer from mild, occasional or severe acne, you might want to put the Vaseline down and avoid taking the risk.

2 Comments
  • Jolina
    Posted on

    I have very dry skin and this past fall, my skin has become adverse to water. I have a petroleum based cream and have been using it exclusively for the last month. I dont have break outs, not even when I was a kid, so thats not an issue for me. But my skin is soft and it doesnt feel tight like it has the months before that. If you have water adverse skin and dont break out, I highly recommend giving this a try. A lot of high end creams have petroleum in them.

  • Kim Jackson
    Posted on

    Now my wound care specialist suggest I do this. My skin has become extremely dry since I became disabled as well as super thin. So this might be why people still does this beauty method.

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