What is skin slugging? Behind the K-Beauty trend


  • “Skin slugging” is a K-beauty trend that’s going viral on TikTok.
  • The technique originated in Korea and only requires one step for more radiant skin.
  • A dermatologist explains the potential benefits and harms of slugging.

There are countless Korean beauty secrets, from the 10-step diet to the “cream” finishes – but the last one has everything to do with hydration. Allow us to introduce “slugging,” the latest K-beauty trend that promises soft, dewy skin.

Much like its hair slugging counterpart, skin slugging only requires one step. What should you know about TikTok’s new favorite skincare step? Keep reading to find out, and listen to a dermatologist to find out if it’s really worth a try.

What is skin slugging?

Simply put, slugging is a way to moisturize your skin. Best incorporated as the last step in your nighttime routine – simply apply a thin layer of Vaseline or petroleum-based balm all over your face to lock in moisture and seal in your skincare products. The next morning, wash it off with your usual face wash and enjoy your glowing, newly hydrated skin.

According to Joshua Zeichner, MD, dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, the first tip for success is to make sure your face is thoroughly cleansed before and after applying petroleum jelly. “If you haven’t removed dirt, oil, makeup, or any other particulate matter from the skin, it will get trapped underneath, leading to potential irritation or even breakouts,” he told POPSUGAR.

What skin types work best for slugging?

If you’re curious to try the trend, there are a few things you need to know, depending on your skin type. “Slugging is a great option for someone with dry or irritated skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. He recommends the method for people looking for better hydration; However, if you’re prone to breakouts or have very oily skin, “covering your face with petroleum jelly overnight can make you feel heavy or greasy.”

Who shouldn’t try skin slugging?

If you use potentially irritating skincare ingredients like retinol, Dr. Zeichner recommends avoiding skin shock because occluding or locking these products into your skin with petroleum jelly can lead to irritation. Finally, make sure your pillowcase and your hair are protected from the mud. He suggests sleeping in a bun or ponytail and wearing a headband to keep the Vaseline out of your face and out of your hair.

Image source: Pexels / Brilliant Diamond


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