What is slugging? How to do skincare right, according to experts

What is slugging?  How to do skincare right, according to experts

What’s wrong?

If your mind went straight to the slippery, slimy tracks of the earth, then you’re on the right track.

Slugging is the process of coating your face with slimy skincare products, leaving you looking like a, uh, slug.

But don’t run away from the slippery skincare trend just yet! We promise there’s more to it than a greasy canvas.

To sort it all out, we enlisted expert Christine Adams, MBA, MSN, NP-BC, CANS.

Meet the expert

Christine Adams, MBA, MSN, NP-BC, CANS, is a Certified Nurse Practitioner and Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist.

Courtesy of Christine Adams

Adams has worked in the medical field for over 20 years and has his own practice, SkinSplendid, LLC.

At SkinSpledid, Adams focuses on the patient’s overall health and nutrition through a holistic approach.

What is a slugging treatment?

Our first question for Adams was, “What’s going on?”

“Slugging is just a catchy, buzzy term that just means coating your dry skin with petroleum jelly,” Adams said. “The word ‘slugging’ comes from the reference to slugs since petroleum jelly leaves a thick slimy look on the face.”

So to make things clear, no real slugs or mud are needed.

Who is knocking good for?

Adams explained that slugging is good for “anyone with extremely dry skin.”

“I’ve had dry skin all my life and I’ve ‘knocked’ my skin for as long as I can remember,” Adams continued. “I also regularly teach my patients to do the same if their skin needs it.”

However, Adams explained that dry skin could be a symptom of other underlying health issues, “like thyroid disease.” Therefore, she recommends telling your provider if you have any extreme skin conditions, “such as dryness or recent skin changes.”

On the other hand, slugging can negatively affect those with acne-prone patients and those with oily skin, the owner of SkinSpledid shared.

I wonder how to hit your face?

You’ve most likely seen the slugging trend on your TikTok For You page, but what’s the right way to slugging, you ask?


Adams puts it this way: “Slugging should be the very last step in your evening skincare routine.”

“You need to cleanse your face, apply serums, such as vitamin C, apply your moisturizer, and then liberally apply a petroleum-based jelly, such as Aquaphor or Vaseline,” she explains.

This is because Vaseline is occlusive, which means that it “creates a protective barrier that prevents moisture loss”.

Adams also recommends against using retinol on nights when you swallow “because it may intensify the product and lead to greater skin irritation and dryness.”

When and how often should you slug?

A common misconception about slugging is that you should do it every night, although Adams says otherwise.

“Typically, I tell my patients that they can tap once or twice a week to relieve dry skin,” she explained.

While that’s her general rule, she also tells her patients to “listen to their skin” and smack as often as needed.

However, if slugging isn’t helping your dry skin, Adams recommends seeing your healthcare provider to assess any underlying skin or medical conditions that may be causing the dryness. Because, in general, “healthy skin is not dry”.

What types of products are good for slugging?

Before looking for a product in your bathroom cabinet, Adams shares the types of products that are suitable for this skincare hack.

“Any petroleum-based product will work,” Adams said. “The goal of an occlusive product is to prevent the loss of moisture from the skin to allow the tissues to hydrate.”

While any petroleum-based product will work, Adams’ go-to for slugging is Aquaphor” since it’s a semi-occlusive product, and it allows some oxygen to drip. ‘reaching the skin’.

Adams shared his additional favorites below, and we’re all about them.

Skin care products approved by experts

Aquaphor healing ointment, $16

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

This healing ointment is ideal for dry, weakened or post-operative skin. We also like to lather it on our lips like an intense lip balm.

Vaseline Healing Jelly, $5

Vasaline healing ointment

Another great option is petroleum jelly. A tried and true product, the Original Healing Jelly is here to save the day. Add to dry cuticles for alternate use.

CeraVe healing ointment, $11

Cerave Healing Ointment

Protect and soothe dry skin with CeraVe Healing Ointment. Best of all, it’s packed with hyaluronic acid and fights eczema.

Hydra Skinceuticals Balm, $24

Skinceuticals Healing Ointment

Originally created to treat post-surgery recovery, Hydra Balm helps relieve symptoms of very dry and sensitive skin while improving overall hydration.

Skinfix Remedy+ Ointment 911, $26

Skinfix healing ointment

This product is excellent for all skin types while being clinically proven to protect chapped, cracked and irritated skin.

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