Spreading Vaseline on the Face: We Tell You if Slugging is a Good Idea for Your Skin

Spreading Vaseline on the Face: We Tell You if Slugging is a Good Idea for Your Skin


Words Nolyne Cerda

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New skin care trends often land in South Korea. Slugging is one of those secret K-Beauty phenomena. Slug what? Slugging. In other words, a technique to fight against excessively dry skin. We at Horace explain how it works.

Videos abound on social networks, especially on TikTok: young women and men who spread petroleum jelly on their faces. This is called Slugging. Derived from the English word “slug”, it takes the evocative name from the creature’s sticky nature. The slugs are only a connection. The goal of the skincare technique is to apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to the face at night while at rest. The reason? Calm and soothe dry skin, just as the epidermis is taking advantage of the sleep phase to regenerate in depth. Because yes, it is at night that the cells activate to clean the skin, detoxify and repair it. But is it really a good idea to apply Vaseline? 

Vaseline, a product rich in vitamins A and E

By forming a protective barrier on the skin, petroleum jelly helps lock in moisture at night. Indeed, it’s at that precise moment in 24 hours that the skin shows a significant loss of hydration. Slugging thus apparently relieves and calms dehydrated and damaged skin, mostly during winter, or when skin flakes during the rest of the year. Rich in vitamins A and E, petroleum jelly acts on lipids, which help cells to remain linked to each other, and thus limit water loss. Some followers of this technique go even further by applying a serum, as preamble, beneath the layer of petroleum jelly. This is so that the latter traps its assets and thus increases its effects tenfold. Upon waking up, the skin would be more plum and radiant because it is perfectly hydrated. 

Slugging is not a trend to suit all skin types

Understandably, skin suffering from dryness, redness or itching, will appreciate slugging. This would also be the case for mature skin, whose barrier is more fragile and allows water naturally present in the epidermis to pass through. On the other hand, a combination to oily skin should do without it, as will those who tend to have pimples or blackheads. Even though petroleum jelly is non-comedogenic, over time it ends up clogging the pores since it is hardly absorbed by the skin or in any case it can block the bacteria responsible for blemishes, due to its occlusive nature. Oily skin will therefore tend to shine more and see the pores dilate. Better to bet on a rich moisturiser like our own. For those who want to get started, here’s a golden rule to remember: clean your skin thoroughly before applying petroleum jelly, to avoid trapping impurities.