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Slugging.

Beauty Trend: What is Slugging?

Skincare trends come and go. However, among all the different trends, our attention has been drawn to a trend called "slugging". Slugging is the new South Korean beauty trend. Let's delve deeper into this trend in this article.

The Slugging Method: What Does It Involve?

Originating from South Korea, slugging is a method that involves smearing your entire face with a layer of pure Vaseline as the final step in your evening skincare routine and leaving it on overnight like a mask. The term "slugging" comes from the English word "slug", which is suggestive of the thick layer and the oily, sticky texture that Vaseline provides.

What is the benefit of slugging?

It serves to reduce transepidermal water loss (perspiration) by creating a protective and occlusive barrier to seal in skin hydration overnight. Indeed, skin that is not sufficiently hydrated will appear duller and with more pronounced wrinkles. Slugging also helps to enhance the penetration of active ingredients from products applied beforehand on clean skin, by trapping them under an occlusive film, thereby amplifying their effects. Particularly popular in Asia, the goal of this technique would then be to soothe skin discomforts, quickly restore hydrated skin, reduce dehydration fine lines and brighten one's complexion.

What are the steps of slugging?

Here is the protocol to follow to reap the benefits of slugging.

  1. The first step is to thoroughly cleanse your face to remove all traces of impurities. Indeed, poorly cleansed skin can trap dirt and bacteria under the vaseline all night, potentially leading to the formation of pimples;

  2. Continue with the application of your usual care products (serums, eye contour, etc...), as well as your moisturizing cream ;

  3. Finish by spreading a thick layer of petroleum jelly all over the face to seal everything in before going to bed;

  4. The next day, wash your face with a suitable cleanser.

Note : On the evening of slugging, avoid applying certain active ingredients, such as retinoids, AHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, etc...) and BHAs (salicylic acid), which can have their effects amplified when trapped under the layer of petroleum jelly, potentially causing irritation and redness.

Small tip: Consider pulling your hair back and using a headband while sleeping, as well as covering your pillowcase with a towel to prevent staining.

Who is slugging intended for?

Slugging holds particular interest during a specific season of the year and for a specific skin type. Indeed, it is more suited for individuals with very dry skin, normally dry skin, or sensitive skin with a compromised skin barrier. This trend is particularly recommended during the winter months, when the epidermis is weakened, dehydrated, and strained due to negative temperatures, humidity, and the dry air from heating.

Why Vaseline?

Highly viscous, petroleum jelly (INCI: Petrolatum) belongs to the family of mineral oils derived from petroleum, as opposed to vegetable oils. Mineral oils are widely used in cosmetics for their occlusive nature, conferred by their chemical structure. Compared to vegetable oils, which are made up of various molecules (unsaturated and aromatic groups), mineral oils are a complex mixture of linear saturated hydrocarbons. The alignment of these straight chains forms a "tight palisade" that prevents the passage of other molecules.

Does this technique pose a risk?

Contrary to popular belief, there would be no health risks associated with trying slugging. Both petroleum jelly and mineral oils are non-comedogenic, meaning they do not obstruct the natural secretion of sebum and do not cause the onset of pimples. Indeed, a study on subjects suffering from acne showed that daily application of petroleum jelly led to a decrease in the number of acne lesions, largely due to its occlusive properties.

Another point: Vaseline has been accused of being carcinogenic. However, the Vaseline used in cosmetic applications is free of all substances with carcinogenic potential, specifically referring to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Indeed, the manufacturing process is designed to exclude these compounds, which are inevitably present in the raw mineral oil used as a starting material, through various refining steps (distillation, extraction, and crystallization) followed by a purification stage involving acid treatment and/or catalytic hydrogenation. Similarly, a study evaluated the skin penetration potential of mineral oils and waxes and revealed that Vaseline is primarily adsorbed onto the stratum corneum, with a minor fraction reaching the epidermis and dermis and no absorption into the bloodstream. Finally, Vaseline also has the property of being inert on the skin, meaning it is non-irritating.

Indeed, the slugging technique does not provide deep hydration as petroleum jelly is not absorbed by the deeper layers of the skin, remaining only on the surface. It primarily acts as a protective barrier that prevents dehydration. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, petroleum jelly is derived from residues of a non-renewable fossil fuel (petroleum), is non-biodegradable, and is produced through a polluting process. Therefore, due to its environmental impact, we exclude it from our formulations.

As such, we recommend that you lean towards products with more subtle formulas, which include occlusives that will remain on the surface to block water loss (ex : mineral oils, vegetable butters/oils, mineral waxes, vegetable waxes, silicones, polyglutamic acid...), but also humectants that have a strong affinity with water and will draw water from the deeper layers of the skin to the upper layers (ex : hyaluronic acid, glycerin, sugars, amino acids, panthenol...), and emollients to strengthen the skin barrier and limit water loss over time with application (ex : ceramides, squalane, cholesterol, fatty acids and fatty acid esters...), whereas petroleum jelly has an effect at a specific moment in time.

We present to you the relipidating balm that contains all these elements simultaneously to hydrate the skin in every possible way, in addition to having a better sensory experience, being less greasy and less sticky than petroleum jelly.

Ingredient List :

Aqua (Water), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (shea butter), Glycerin (glycerin), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil (camelina oil), Glucose, Sorbitan Olivate, Methylheptyl Glycerin, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Carrageenan, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (calendula extract), Sclerotium Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Ceramide NP (ceramides), Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract (AD-Resyl), Tocopherol, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrin, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Chloride.

Sources

  • LOMBARD K. J. & al. A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2012).

  • TEICHERT T. & al. Review of data on the dermal penetration of mineral oils and waxes used in cosmetic applications. Toxicology Letters (2017).

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