Having grown up in Norway, you would think that my skin was well used to cold weather.
However, no such luck. Every winter, without fail, my skin starts feeling itchy, sensitive and dry, and up until now, very few things have helped fix it.
Being a beauty writer, it hasn’t been for the lack of products to try either. From creams to serums, scrubs, exfoliators and masks, nothing really seemed to be able to give my parched skin the moisture it so desperately craved in the winter.
Then I heard about ‘slugging’ – yet another K-beauty trend that seemed to be sweeping the internet and social media.
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What is slugging?
To put it simply, slugging involves coating your face with an occlusive moisturiser, most often a petrolatum-based product, such as Vaseline. This, it is claimed, will help prevent trans-epidermal water loss – meaning less water will get out of your skin – and will help repair your skin’s barrier – to even further prevent water loss and more dryness.
I was intrigued. Could rubbing Vaseline all over my face really be the solution to my winter-dry skin? And so I did what I do best – I deep-dived into all info I could get on the skincare trend, and what I read convinced me this was absolutely worth a shot.
“Petrolatum does help dry skin,” explains Dr Angelo Landriscina, a New York-based dermatologist, to Byrdie.com.
“The balance of keratinocytes (skin cells) and lipids are crucial for your barrier. Lipids are the glue that keeps your stratum corneum, or the outermost layer of skin, intact. Without the lipids, your skin is compromised—as less lipids in the skin leads to transepidermal water loss.“
“When the lipids in your skin are depleted, whether it be by your genetic lottery, the environment, or an overenthusiastic peel, the glue is damaged and your protective barrier lets out water. Petrolatum can fix that.”
Dr Shari Marchbein is a New York-based dermatologist who has also taken to social media to chat about slugging – and how she uses it herself.
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“In truth, dermatologists have been ‘slugging’ for years,” Marchbein told Teen Vogue.
“We just didn’t come up with a cute name for it. Personally, I don’t go to bed without it.”
Opt for ‘selective slugging’ with breakout-prone skin
If you have dry skin like me, chances are you will see the biggest effect from slugging. However, many experts are keen to warn that if you are acne-prone or acne-prone with sensitive skin, it might not be the best idea to use any product that is occlusive on your skin.
“If you’re trapping things and occluding the skin, there is definitely a potential for breakouts,” Marchbein explains, and points out that slugging all over your face is a hard no on very oily or acne-prone skin because it can cause more irritation.
However, selective slugging might be a better option for those with acne-prone skin, she reveals.
“If you’re acne-prone but want a similar effect, I would use a creamy moisturizer instead of petrolatum. Look for ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and dimethicone. And then you can spot treat with Vaseline where you’re drier.”
My God, the GLOW
Well, needless to say, I was hooked. On my next trip into Boots, I made sure to grab a giant, family-sized tub of Vaseline, and that night, I slugged my heart out.
First, I cleansed my skin as I would normally, before applying a serum I love using at night (Nunaia Nourishing Radiance Serum).
And then, lastly, I put Vaseline all over my face, literally patting it on from my chin to my forehead, and went to bed.
The next morning, I washed my face as per usual, using just a soft cloth and some lukewarm water – and when I tell you I could not believe what I saw in the mirror, that is actually even an understatement. My entire face looked glowing. Literally – my skin was more dewy and soft and utterly radiant than I have ever seen it – and the effect pretty much lasted all day.
I was amazed.
Slugging had literally transformed my dry, dull, itchy winter skin into the most glowing, radiant complexion of my life – and all for the price of a tub of Vaseline?! This needs to be shouted from the rooftops, I feel – heck, every woman everywhere needs to know about this – and if you are yet to try it, trust me when I say – what are you waiting for?