What is the TikTok Trend: Slugging?

2. Mai 2023

vaseline slugging k-beauty trend

Slugging - The Newest TikTok Trend. Worth following it? 

A new beauty trend is taking over social media: Slugging. Supposedly, applying Vaseline to the face overnight can result in radiant skin. The skin is heavily moisturised with Vaseline, which is supposed to make the skin more elastic due to the high level of moisture. This technique originates from Korea and is also known as "slugging". The result is said to be a radiant and clear complexion.

However, we would like to take a closer look and suggest you give this Trend a miss and the reasons why the Tiktok trend could even backfire - in particular if you have sensitive skin. 


What is Slugging and is slugging healthy? 

Vaseline on the face: Is slugging healthy? According to the trend, slugging is supposed to be beneficial because it moisturises the skin by replenishing its natural oils. Although moisture is generally good for the skin, this method seems to carry some risks.

In order for our facial skin to look fresh and healthy, it needs moisture, which is nothing new. This new TikTok trend now promises to make the skin glow overnight - with the so-called "slugging". With slugging (from "slug"), the skin is moisturised for several hours with a thick layer of Vaseline.

The trend made its way into the world via TikTok and is no longer just part of the so-called K-beauty (Korean Beauty).

But what's the point of it all?


Vaseline can stop heat regulation

The idea behind Slugging is to provide the skin more moisture, lipids and therefore more elasticity. The basic premise is understandable, but it won't be as effective as one might think. According to dermatologists, with the Tiktok trend, one must not forget that the skin is an organ that needs to "breathe". And when we say "breath" we don't mean to take on oxygen.  If you seal the skin with Vaseline, it cannot breathe or release moisture this means that one of its main function to regulate heat is disrupted.

However, some Tiktok videos tout this as an advantage - after all, the skin needs moisture. So, can it be bad if it is trapped by the Vaseline?

You can imagine it as if you were putting a plastic film on the skin. Moisture cannot escape, and heat regulation cannot occur. As a result, the skin starts to sweat, and heat stroke can even occur.


I personally would not do Slugging. NAYA founder Sarah.


Apparently, Vaseline is supposed to stimulate skin regeneration, but the skin cannot be forced to regenerate from the outside. Vaseline is a high-molecular ingredient. All it does that it sits on your skin and completely seals the skin. This means that even if it provides you with a short-term relief, in the long-term it can cause more damage. As it is simple petroleum jelly, it doesn't contain any vitamins or antioxidants. Any deeper issues and root causes someone has, those will not be addressed by applying a thick layer of vaseline on their face. Quite the opposite! By ignoring the root cause, it might trigger it and worsen it when applying vaseline. 


Pimples and "severe irritations"

Even though a heat build-up is certainly one of the worse scenarios that can occur from applying a thick layer of Vaseline overnight, it can also lead to skin irritations. If you're unlucky and have sensitive skin, by depriving the skin of air, you can get pimples. While Vaseline is a highly purified byproduct of petroleum, it is essentially only made up of fat. Those who apply so much fat to their skin can develop oil acne, a condition that usually only occurs occupationally with constant contact with mineral and lubricating oils.

Sometimes, Vaseline is also suggested by TikTok videos to be applied to the face after the night cream or serum. However, depending on the night cream or serum, this can also cause "severe irritations". For example, if you use a cream with fruit acid, the Vaseline can cause the effect of the cream to be enhanced to the detriment to your skin. The effect of the fruit acid can then become too strong for the skin and cause further irritations. Another example is, if you might have an allergy or react negatively to an ingredient. By sealing this then under a layer of Vaseline, this irritation can even be intensified. 


Slugging on insensitive body parts

One can never be certain what happens to the skin under the layer of vaseline since slugging goes clearly against the instructions of the manufacturer. The idea that the effect of a facial cream can be improved by a layer of vaseline is absurd. Especially people with sensitive skin should never take such a risk, as the face is simply too sensitive for such experiments. People with very sensitive skin, such as those suffering from neurodermatitis, often cannot tolerate extremely oily skin ointments like vaseline – the skin condition could worsen.

However, those of you who want to try slugging on insensitive body parts can do so and apply a layer of fat on the feet overnight which could make them more supple and also prevent cracks on the soles of the feet. The elbows or knees are also relatively insensitive but prone to dryness. These are parts of the body where you can experiment a little with vasline. 

Slugging and the enviornment

The environmental impact of Vaseline used in skincare depends on how it is produced and disposed of. Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is a byproduct of the oil refining process. It is not biodegradable and can potentially accumulate in the environment. In addition, globally we deforest around ten million hectares of forest every year. That's an area the size of Portugal every year. Why would we want to by a product that contributes to the shrinking of our prime forests? 

Vaseline or petroleum jelly is not a natural ingredient. It is a byproduct of the oil refining process and is derived from petroleum, a fossil fuel. However, it has been highly purified to remove impurities. If it is safe to be used in cosmetic is still out for debate. However, why would anyone want to apply something that is based on crude oil on their face that is linked to deforestation? 

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