Since bursting onto the scene, TikTok has brought us countless clever beauty hacks. Think faux tan freckles and how to get the very best out of your dry shampoo, unearthing skincare brands considered to be hidden gems (such as Paula's Choice and CeraVe) and bringing us Instagram-worthy hair trends including the new-generation curtain fringe. Lately, though, all beauty lovers are talking about is the Korean skincare trend known as 'slugging'.
What is slugging and how do you do it?
"Slugging is thought to have originated in South Korea and involves covering the entire face in a thick layer of petroleum jelly (or Vaseline) before bedtime," explains Dr Adil Sarwar, aesthetic doctor and founder of Skin Science Clinic. "It has been popularised in the West by websites like Reddit (and, of course, TikTok) and is touted by countless beauty trend articles and bloggers around the world." Dr Sarwar mentions that slugging is especially recommended during the winter months, when cold weather and central heating zap skin of moisture and plumpness.
What does slugging do for skin and what are the benefits?
"Many people have problems with dry and flaky skin, and slugging aims to lock in moisture overnight to protect the skin throughout the day," says Dr Sarwar. "Lots claim that they wake up in the morning with remarkably softer and glowing skin." This is because something like petroleum jelly is not absorbed into the deep skin layers. "Instead, petroleum jelly acts as a surface barrier to keep dirt out and prevent the loss of moisture."
Is slugging bad for skin?
"While slugging may give the short-term gratification of softened skin, I suspect that pores would become clogged over time, and the skin would lose moisture in the long term if only petroleum jelly is used to provide hydration," says Dr Sarwar. In other words, a moisturiser is a better option.
Dr Sarwar continues: "Although petroleum jelly itself is non-comedogenic (unlikely to clog pores and cause spots), it is not easily absorbed by the skin and sits on the top layer of the skin. As spots are caused by bacteria being trapped inside pores, putting anything occlusive (or heavy) directly on the skin for an extended duration could potentially cause breakouts."
Should you try slugging?
While many experts are wary of advocating slugging, skincare is all down to personal preference and, of course, trial and error. If you want to try it, here's a top tip: "I would recommend cleansing the skin thoroughly first, using your regular moisturiser and rubbing a small pea-sized amount of petroleum jelly over the skin rather than slathering it with a thick layer," explains Dr Sarwar. That said, he doesn't particularly rate the effects, especially if your skin is dry and requires moisture, because petroleum jelly doesn't moisturise skin; it just stops moisture from escaping. "Instead, I would suggest investing in a good-quality moisturiser that is suited to your specific skin type," says Dr Sarwar.
"For dry skin, I would look for a more nourishing moisturiser that provides both hydration and a barrier, preferably something containing glycerin and every dermatologist's favourite, hyaluronic acid, which is sometimes listed in the ingredients as sodium hyaluronate," says Dr Sarwar. We rate Eucerin Dry Skin Relief Face Cream 5% Urea, £11, Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm, £9.99, and Charlotte's Magic Cream Moisturiser, £49.
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