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What is slugging in skincare?


What is slugging in skincare?

"Slugging" in skincare refers to a trending technique where an occlusive agent, typically petroleum jelly or a heavy-duty moisturizer, is applied as the final step in the skincare routine to create a barrier that seals in moisture. This method originated from the Korean skincare community but has gained popularity worldwide for its ability to deeply hydrate and lock in moisture, leaving the skin soft, smooth, and supple. Here's a detailed guide on slugging in skincare:

1. Understanding the Concept:

  • Slugging is based on the principle of occlusion, which involves creating a physical barrier on the skin's surface to prevent water loss and enhance hydration. The term "slug" refers to the thick, shiny layer that forms on the skin after applying the occlusive agent.

2. Choosing the Right Product:

  • The key to slugging is using an occlusive product that effectively seals in moisture without clogging pores or causing irritation. Petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) is a popular choice due to its affordability and effectiveness, but other heavy-duty moisturizers or balms with occlusive ingredients like dimethicone or mineral oil can also be used.

3. Incorporating Slugging into Your Routine:

  • Slugging is typically performed as the final step in the evening skincare routine, after applying all other serums, treatments, and moisturizers. It is not recommended for daytime use, as the thick occlusive layer can feel heavy and may interfere with makeup application.

  • To slug, apply a pea-sized amount of petroleum jelly or occlusive moisturizer to the entire face, focusing on areas prone to dryness or dehydration. Gently massage the product into the skin until it forms a smooth, shiny layer.

  • Allow the occlusive layer to absorb into the skin overnight. In the morning, rinse off any residue with lukewarm water or a gentle cleanser before proceeding with your daytime skincare routine.

4. Benefits of Slugging:

  • Deep Hydration: Slugging helps lock in moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL), keeping the skin hydrated and plump.

  • Softens and Smooths: The occlusive barrier created by slugging helps soften rough patches and smooths the skin's texture, resulting in a more even and supple complexion.

  • Protects the Skin Barrier: By sealing in moisture, slugging helps reinforce the skin's natural barrier function, reducing the risk of dryness, irritation, and sensitivity.

  • Enhances Product Absorption: Slugging can help enhance the absorption of other skincare products applied underneath, allowing active ingredients to penetrate more deeply into the skin.

5. Precautions and Considerations:

  • Slugging may not be suitable for all skin types, particularly those prone to acne or congestion. Individuals with oily or acne-prone skin should exercise caution when using occlusive products and may prefer lighter alternatives.

  • Patch testing is recommended, especially for those with sensitive or reactive skin, to ensure compatibility with the chosen occlusive product.

  • While slugging can be an effective way to hydrate dry or dehydrated skin, it should not replace a comprehensive skincare routine that includes cleansing, exfoliating, and treating specific concerns.

6. Frequency and Long-Term Use:

  • Slugging can be incorporated into the skincare routine as needed, depending on individual skin concerns and preferences. Some people slug every night, while others may reserve it for times when their skin feels particularly dry or compromised.

  • Long-term use of occlusive products like petroleum jelly may lead to dependency, where the skin relies on external moisture sources and becomes less efficient at producing its own hydration. It's essential to strike a balance and not over-rely on occlusives for moisture.

In summary, slugging in skincare involves applying an occlusive agent like petroleum jelly or a heavy-duty moisturizer as the final step in the evening skincare routine to seal in moisture and enhance hydration. While it can be beneficial for dry or dehydrated skin, it may not be suitable for all skin types, and caution should be exercised, especially for those prone to acne or congestion. As with any skincare technique, it's essential to listen to your skin's needs and adjust your routine accordingly for optimal results.

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