Have you tried slugging? Can it be good for acne-prone skin

Written by: Carly Sanchez



Time to read 4 min

The skin slugging trend has taken over social media feeds, especially during those unforgiving cold winter months when our skin craves some extra care. But if you're thinking, "Slugging with acne-prone skin? No way!" then sit tight, because we're about to unfold the art of slugging in a way that even those of us with sensitive, oily, or combination skin can get on board.

Now, for the benefits of slugging: it's not just a beauty hack; it's a skincare step with serious perks. It can help trap moisture, which is particularly beneficial for very dry skin or a compromised skin barrier. It can also help with the appearance of fine lines and acne scars by maintaining skin moisture and improving skin barrier function.

What is slugging?

Slugging is a K-beauty-inspired skincare technique that involves applying a thick, occlusive product typically a petroleum-based product like Vaseline Petroleum Jelly or Aquaphor Healing Ointment — as the last step in your nighttime skincare routine. The goal is to lock in moisture and create a protective barrier on the surface of your skin to prevent transepidermal water loss while you sleep. The beauty of slugging is its simplicity and the science behind its moisture-maintaining prowess. When you apply a thin layer of an occlusive product, you're essentially forming a physical barrier that seals in your active ingredients and the hydration they provide.

Can you slug if you are blemish-prone?

When it comes to acne-prone or oily skin, the thought of slathering a thick ointment like a petroleum jelly product all over your whole face might not seem like a good idea. However, petroleum jelly products have been clinically shown to be non-comedogenic.  They are occlusive, which means they prevent water loss, but they don't clog pores or lead to acne. The product just sits on the skin, holding in moisture just like  Saran Wrap keeps food from drying out. When done correctly, slugging can be a game-changer, even for oily skin and combination skin types. The key is understanding your skin condition and choosing the right product.

But hold up—before you go slathering that jelly all over your face, let's talk skin types and how-tos. 

How to live the "slug life"

For starters, slugging isn't about caking on a product; it's about applying a thin layer. This creates a physical barrier that seals in your previous skincare steps. If you have sensitive skin, you'll want to ensure your skin is clean and that you've used non-comedogenic products that won't trap bacteria or cause acne breakouts.

Let's chat about the skincare routine that should precede slugging. It's important to use products that address your specific skin concerns. Start with a clean face, then apply products with active ingredients that work for you. For example, hyaluronic acid is a great way to hydrate without adding oiliness, while alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or beta-hydroxy acids like salicylic acid can help with dead skin cells and keeping pores clear. If you're dealing with cystic acne, you might incorporate benzoyl peroxide or other acne treatments.

After these steps, a regular moisturizer comes into play. This is where you can add ingredients like fatty acids (NourishRX), aloe vera (HylaVera), or facial oils to nourish your skin. And only then, as the last step, do you apply your occlusive moisturizer.

Now, let's get to the specifics of slugging for dry, acne-prone skin. It can be a good fit if you choose the right products, I always recommend using the old-school Vaseline in a jar. This product will not cause acne breakouts. Also, consider slugging only certain areas of your face that are dry. When using acne products, especially benzoyl peroxide, it is very common to get dry and peel around the mouth and chin area. 

Remember, the occlusive ingredients should act as a protective layer, not as something that suffocates your skin. For acne-prone skin, that is really irritated, dry, and hurts, you might want to skip using your active serums with ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide when using an occlusive product to slug. 

Try slugging with our skincare products:

1. Wash with Pro B5 Wash

2. After you wash off the Pro B5 Wash, keep the skin damp with water or use Aloe H2O Toner

3. Apply 2 pumps of HylaVera to wet skin all over the face

4. Keeping the skin damp, apply your serum (CytoClear, BHA 2%, or Daily A)

5. Keeping the skin damp, apply 1 pump of HylaVera all over the face

6. While the skin is still damp from products, apply a thin layer of Vaseline all over the face.

Woman dipping her finger in a jar of petroleum

The trick to Slugging is keeping your skin damp

But what about the side effects? There's always a risk of irritation, especially if you use harsh skincare products beforehand. And if you have a damaged skin barrier, slugging might be too much for your skin to handle at first. Always patch-test a new occlusive emollient to ensure it doesn't cause breakouts or dry patches.

In essence, the goal of slugging is all about creating that protective layer to trap moisture and protect your entire face from the elements, especially during the cold winter months. It's a beauty trend that also doubles as a skin-care technique, aiming to improve skin moisture and address various skin concerns, from dull skin to compromised barriers.

So, whether you're considering slugging as a final step in your skincare routine, curious about this skin care trend and beauty hack, remember—it's all about the protective barrier

Embrace the slug life cautiously, and your acne-prone skin might just thank you for that extra layer of love.

In your quest for hydrated, happy skin, remember to listen to your skin's needs, be mindful of the products you're layering, and always patch-test new skincare steps. 

Your facial skin is unique, and your slugging routine should be too. So, here's to finding that perfect occlusive moisturizer and joining the ranks of the slugging enthusiasts with confidence and the know-how to make it work for your skin type!

Carly Pilar Sanchez Holding Pro B5 Wash

Carly Pilar Sanchez

Your go-to acne specialist and esthetician based in the vibrant heart of Austin, Texas.  Armed with a unique blend of expertise in cosmetic chemistry and a specialization in tackling acne holistically. With over a decade of experience and hands-on training, Carly created cutting-edge, skin-safe products tailored to address even the most stubborn acne.