Slugging Your Skin with Petrolatum - Benefits for Dry Skin

Posted by Dr. Natasha Ryz on

"Slugging" is a viral beauty trend on TikTokTM that entails slathering a petrolatum-based ointment on your skin.

Petrolatum creates an occlusive layer and keeps water locked in your skin overnight.

Slugging with petrolatum leaves your skin feeling moisturized and plump.

This article will cover:

    • What is slugging?
    • What is an occlusive?
    • What are the benefits of slugging?
    • How to slug with petrolatum?
    • Summary
    • References

 

Slugging Your Skin with Petrolatum - Benefits for Dry Skin

What is slugging?

"Slugging" is a viral beauty trend on TikTokTM that entails slathering a petrolatum-based ointment, such as Vaseline on your skin as a last step in your evening skincare routine (Pagani et al, 2022).

The layer of petroleum jelly forms a protective barrier and acts as an occlusive.

What are occlusives?

Occlusives are skincare ingredients or products that form a protective film that prevents moisture loss from the skin.

They are usually oily or waxy. 

Occlusives include:

  • Mineral oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Lanolin - from sheep's wool
  • Beeswax
  • Cocoa butter
  • Soy butter - hydrogenated soybean oil
  • Jojoba oil

Occlusives such as cocoa butter and soy butter can be effective for forming a protective barrier but may clog pores with long term use.

Mineral oil and petrolatum are cost-effective and safe for long term use.

Slugging Your Skin with Petrolatum - Benefits for Dry Skin

What are the benefits of slugging?

Slugging with petrolatum leaves your skin feeling moisturized and plump.

Petrolatum creates an occlusive layer and keeps water locked in your skin overnight.

Keeping the moisture in your skin can bring a dewy glow that makes your skin look and feel more youthful.

Mineral oil and petrolatum have benefits for dry skin.

Mineral oil was introduced as a cosmetic oil was in the late 1800s, and still today, it is used as one of the main components of moisturizers (Rawlings et al, 2012).

Mineral oil has been shown to improve skin softness and skin barrier function and suppress transepidermal water loss (TEWL) (Rawlings et al, 2012).

Mineral oil (baby oil) has also been shown to relieve itching (Lin et al, 2012; Karadag et al, 2014; Singh et al, 2021). 

Applying petrolatum to the face has been shown to help reduce dryness and reduce exudate/crusting in people with eczema or atopic dermatitis (Murakami  et al, 2020).

Furthermore, petrolatum was shown to decrease transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and significantly increase water content in the outer skin barrier (Murakami et al, 2020).

How to slug with petrolatum?

Slugging is pretty simple, apply a small pea sized amount of Vaseline or petroleum jelly over your face and neck before bed.

To enhance the benefits of slugging it is often useful to apply your normal skincare routine underneath the petroleum jelly to help trap in moisture.

The steps are pretty simple:

  1. Wash your face
  2. Moisturize and/or facial oil
  3. Apply the occlusive
  4. Wait about 30 minutes before going to bed

It helps to apply 30 min to an hour before bed, so the occlusive has a chance to sink into your skin a bit.

Summary

"Slugging" is a viral beauty trend on TikTokTM that entails slathering a petrolatum-based ointment on your skin at night.

Petrolatum creates an occlusive layer and keeps water locked in your skin overnight.

Slugging with petrolatum leaves your skin feeling moisturized and plump.

 

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Slugging Your Skin with Petrolatum - Benefits for Dry Skin

 

References

Czarnowicki T, Malajian D, Khattri S, Correa da Rosa J, Dutt R, Finney R, Dhingra N, Xiangyu P, Xu H, Estrada YD, Zheng X, Gilleaudeau P, Sullivan-Whalen M, Suaréz-Fariñas M, Shemer A, Krueger JG, Guttman-Yassky E. Petrolatum: Barrier repair and antimicrobial responses underlying this "inert" moisturizer. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 Apr;137(4):1091-1102.e7.

Karadag E, Kilic SP, Karatay G, Metin O. Effect of baby oil on pruritus, sleep quality, and quality of life in hemodialysis patients: Pretest-post-test model with control groups. Jpn J Nurs Sci. 2014;11:180–9.

Lin TC, Lai YH, Guo SE, Liu CF, Tsai JC, Guo HR, Hsu HT. Baby oil therapy for uremic pruritus in haemodialysis patients. J Clin Nurs. 2012 Jan;21(1-2):139-48. 

Murakami Y, Saya Y, Morita E, Matsunaka H. Novel petrolatum-based ointment that is highly moisturizing and has superior usability with increased adherence in patients with facial dry skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Oct;19(10):2650-2655. 

Mygind K, Sell L, Flyvholm MA, Jepsen KF. High-fat petrolatum-based moisturizers and prevention of work-related skin problems in wet-work occupations. Contact Dermatitis. 2006 Jan;54(1):35-41. 

Pagani K, Lukac D, Martinez R, Jablon K, McGee JS. Slugging: TikTokTM as a source of a viral "harmless" beauty trend. Clin Dermatol. 2022 Aug 9:S0738-081X(22)00109-2.

Rawlings AV, Lombard KJ. A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2012 Dec;34(6):511-8.

Singh VS, Vinayadev V. Effectiveness of Baby Oil Therapy for Uremic Pruritus in Hemodialysis Patients. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2021 Jan-Feb;32(1):163-169. 

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