What is slugging and how do you do it?

Supposedly originally a K-Elegance craze, the term slugging seems to have very first surfaced in the United States in a 2014 put up in a Reddit subgroup. But it did not go viral until Charlotte Palermino, a New York City-based mostly certified aesthetician and co-founder of skin treatment firm Dieux, introduced the strategy to her TikTok and Instagram followers in September 2020, telling them it experienced created her dry skin “juicy.” As of push time, the hashtag #slugging has 235.5 million sights on TikTok.

Petroleum jelly, which is also known as petrolatum and was 1st marketed by Vaseline, is a white or yellowish semisolid substance built up of a mixture of elaborate hydrocarbons by dewaxing crude oil. In accordance to Joshua Zeichner, a skin doctor and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, it is an occlusive component: “It types a seal more than the stratum corneum (outer layer of skin or pores and skin barrier) to secure the skin from the setting though blocking h2o loss.”

By forming this seal — which retains grime and microbes out and humidity in — the petroleum jelly results in the suitable ecosystem to make it possible for your skin to restore alone, Zeichner explained. And, he and Palermino stated, slugging does not demand substantially petroleum jelly. You can use a pea-sizing part for your full encounter, relatively than what’s likely on in the video beneath (you really do not want to wreck your linens).

Nevertheless slugging is a new name for it, the act of applying petroleum jelly as a pores and skin protectant is almost nothing new. In the 15th century, users of the Native American Seneca tribe, who dug oil pits in northwestern Pennsylvania, made use of petroleum jelly on human and animal pores and skin to secure wounds, promote therapeutic and hold the skin moist. In the late 19th century, American chemist Robert Chesebrough, visiting oil fields in the exact place of northwestern Pennsylvania, observed oil workers making use of the residue from their oil drills on their wounds. Chesebrough brought a sample back to his Brooklyn lab, purified it, examined it on his self-inflicted wounds and in 1870 branded his “miracle jelly” as Vaseline.

When Tiffany Clay, an Atlanta-based mostly dermatologist, noticed slugging remaining promoted on Instagram, she was amused. “I laughed for the reason that I have been executing it my total everyday living.” Clay credits her “Black grandmothers who slathered Vaseline on my cousins and me when we obtained out of the tub.”

Now, Clay finds herself recommending petroleum jelly in her dermatology follow “at minimum 10 moments a day” — for dry pores and skin, wound care, surgical aftercare and “especially for my eczema clients who have a compromised skin barrier and are likely to be on the dry side.” Signals of a compromised skin barrier can include things like redness, dryness, peeling, flaking, burning or stinging.

Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist primarily based in Cambridge, Mass., agrees. “I convey to mom and dad to coat their little ones with Vaseline when they very first get out of the tub to seal in the dampness,” Hirsch stated. “We’ve been employing that as regular exercise simply because the petrolatum seriously capabilities as a top coat, trapping in the dampness and blocking transepidermal drinking water loss.” Investigation has proven that in addition to lessening transepidermal h2o reduction (TEWL), by 99 p.c, petrolatum has anti-microbial qualities and accelerates skin healing.

Palermino recommends applying petroleum jelly in a “moisture sandwich” to trap in the most hydration. “In aesthetician university, a single of the 1st points you master is you hydrate your skin, you moisturize your skin, and then you entice it all in with an occlusive.”

But due to the fact of petroleum jelly’s occlusive character, Hirsch cautions from making use of any energetic components, this sort of as retinoids, exfoliants or topical vitamin C before slugging, mainly because you could injury your skin. “You can take an component that is reasonably gentle, and switch it into anything really potent by sealing it with petrolatum.”

While petroleum jelly is thought of non-comedogenic (this means it will not clog pores) because its molecular dimensions is as well significant to penetrate deep into the skin, Hirsch warned that slugging is not for absolutely everyone. “Generally talking, I never are likely to advise it [slugging] for men and women who are inclined to milia, oily or pimples. I just uncover occlusives are not a good marriage for them.” Hirsch endorses patch-screening 1st for these skin problems and if you are prone to allergic reactions.

For severely dry skin, Susan Taylor, a Philadelphia-centered skin doctor and founder of the Pores and skin of Colour Modern society, warns that petroleum jelly, alone, will not moisturize the skin. “I have my patients place the petroleum jelly about a moisturizer that has humectant and emollient substances.” Taylor also tells individuals to implement petroleum jelly when pores and skin is moist to “trap in the moisture.”

The Foodstuff and Drug Administration regulates petrolatum as an around-the-counter drug and deems it a safe and sound and efficient pores and skin protectant when the focus vary is 30 p.c to 100 percent. But the public has a pair of worries about petroleum jelly. One particular is be concerned about contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are the natural way transpiring chemical compounds uncovered in crude oil that have been considered possible human carcinogens.

The professionals I spoke to said that whilst unrefined petroleum jelly (which is not permitted in the United States) can be contaminated with PAHs, the petroleum jelly you see on the shelves of your drugstore has been very refined. “Petrolatum is in essence a waste product from the petroleum sector that goes via a number of rounds of refinement till all the impurities have been taken out,” claimed Victoria Fu, a skin-care science educator, cosmetic formulation chemist and co-founder of Chemist Confessions, a pores and skin-care line. “Petrolatum has been close to for so lengthy and scrutinized by regulators for so lengthy that refined petrolatum has absent through the gamut of screening to ensure security before it hits the cabinets.”

A different issue lifted by critics of slugging is that petroleum jelly, as a byproduct of crude oil, is not a sustainable item. But Anthony R. Kovscek, a Stanford College professor and senior fellow at the Precourt Institute for Power, reported eliminating profits of petroleum jelly would do minor to reverse local climate modify. “Changing your driving and commuting behaviors, as properly as driving the most fuel-effective automobile you can afford to pay for is significantly more probable to have an impact on the fossil gas sector than tamping down revenue of Vaseline.”

There are quite a few options to petroleum jelly, such as mineral oils, plant oils and animal waxes. Although Hirsch and Zeichner recommend Waxelene, they cautioned that products other than petroleum jelly are not as occlusive, are more costly and have risks of contamination.

“Plants are bio-accumulators so a little something like shea butter requirements to be really refined right before it hits the industry,” Palermino mentioned. And, she concluded, the refinement procedure makes a big carbon footprint.