Do I slug? Yes! I had done it and I loved it, but before you jump into this, there are a couple of things to consider about your own skin and environment.
Let’s start with definitions: What is slugging or slug life? It is a fancy new name for something that our grandmothers and women before them had done for many years: slathering their faces at night with a heavy occlusive moisturizer. You have probably seen this in old movies as they show women going to bed wearing hair rollers, white faces (slugging) and two cucumber slices over their eyes (talking about a good night of sleep with all that parafernalia on!). Heavy moisturizers were staples for a good skincare. Thus, brands like Ponds or Nivea as well as Vaseline were the preferred weapons to fight the anti-aging war. I still remember the Vaseline commercial from the 70s in which a dried leaf returned to its youthful complexion by adding vaseline cream! Such a visual, a masterpiece that had been ripped off many times but never with the same impact.
Rationale behind slugging: to prevent increased TEWL or skin dehydration as at night skin is more prone to loose water and has the lowest capacity for barrier recovery. Of course the simple act of trapping water in the skin by applying a thick moisturizer results in many other benefits such as decrease in inflammation, improve repair while minimizing damage. A WIN:WIN situation! My caveats and why I slug: I have normal skin but as I am getting older my skin is tilting toward dry skin. I had never had acne as a teen, while pregnant or as an adult. I currently do experience some mask-ne that drives me nuts. So as you can see night-dehydration is becoming real to me. In addition I live at 7,000 feet elevation on the Rocky Mountains front range (currently experiencing dry and cold air).
When do I add slugging to my skincare routine? When my skin is feeling tight (not the good tight feeling). This can be after a procedure such as chemical peels or when I am in very dry places such as when I go skiing or while hiking (slugging saved my facial skin while in Iceland… no kidding!). My preferred slug product is Vaseline (or Aquaphor if I am feeling fancy 😂). I just do my normal night routine and at the end I apply a layer of Vaseline (do not go for a thick layer as I do not want Vaseline all over my pillow cases).
Slugging and acne-prone skin (oily skin): Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) had developed a bad reputation as a pore clogging ingredient, which is far from being real. In the words of professor Klingman (1996): “Greasiness cannot be equated with comedogenicity.” If you have acne prone skin, slugging is not a trend to try during warm seasons. What about during winter/dry weather? Acne-prone skin can benefit from good hydration as we all know oily skin is dehydrated skin. The oilier your skin becomes, the drier it is creating a vicious cycle. I would recommend not to start with Vaseline (which is a 100% petroleum jelly product) but to use with products containing about 30% of this active ingredient which can be applied every other night to check how your oily skin reacts to it.
FUN FACTS: (1) Petroleum jelly is a complex mixture of hundreds of saturated hydrocarbons produced by the fractional distillation of petroleum. (2) Petrolatum jelly molecules are too large to penetrate the pores, so they sit on the top of our skin producing occlusiveness and preventing water loss. (3) petroleum jelly-based products technically do not moisturize the skin, but instead they create a barrier trapping water in the skin.
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