Curious About Slugging Your Skin? Here Are the Dos and Don'ts, According to a Dermatologist

The slugging trend has been all over TikTok lately, but is it just a catchy name, or is sliming yourself up like a slug something that actually might be right for your skin?

When it comes to the big skincare questions, we prefer to turn to the experts, which is why we got in touch with Dr. Orit Markowitz, board-certified dermatologist and founder of OptiSkin in New York City. We had some big questions about slugging, and she answered them all in the interview below.

Sweety High: What exactly is "slugging"? How does it work, and why do people do it?

Dr. Orit Markowitz: Slugging is defined as putting a thick layer of Vaseline or a heavy moisturizer on your skin as the final step in your routine. Although this method has been popularized by TikTok, it has been around for quite a while and is known as occlusive skincare. Moisturizers are defined in three different categories—humectants, emollients and occlusives. Occlusives are defined by ingredients that seal the skin to prevent moisture loss and also provide a protective barrier to the skin. In addition to helping your skin seal in moisture, occlusives replenish your skin.

Shutterstock: Female putting applying lip balm moisturizing balsam. Girl taking care of lips. Skincare.

(via Shutterstock)


SH: Do you recommend slugging? If so, what are the steps, and are there any dos and don'ts for the process?

OM: Everyone's skincare routine is different, and it is accurate to say that routines should vary based on the season, your skin type and your general health and lifestyle. However, there are a few cardinal rules when it comes to the order in which you apply your skincare. If you are using a prescription topical medication to treat something, that should always be your first step. In the morning, your final step should always be SPF. In the evening, the last step of your routine is typically your moisturizer.


SH: Are there any products you would recommend for slugging? Any products you would definitely avoid?

OM: For your body, I love the Aquaphor Body Spray. You get similar great benefits to traditional Aquaphor, but it applies smooth and does not leave a greasy residue after. I prefer an occlusive daily moisturizer over a humectant cream most days, but sometimes, the combination of a mild humectant to draw moisture from within and an occlusive to help keep it sealed will give you the most benefits. I recommend the Eucerin Redness Relief Night Cream. It has licorice, which can be soothing, is great for my sensitive skin type and has a nice mixture of humectants and occlusive ingredients.

Shutterstock: Close up beauty girl with freckles and thick eyebrows, applying moisturizing skincare cream, lotion or mask for skin lifting and anti-aging detoxifying effect, white background.

(via Shutterstock)


SH: Who should and who shouldn't try slugging?

OM: I wouldn't recommend slugging every single night, especially on your face if you are someone with oily or acne-prone skin. It is, however, a common misconception that Vaseline could cause breakouts or clog pores. Using a moisturizer like Vaseline is very safe to use on your face, but can be a bit greasy for all over, which is why I recommend Aquaphor for the body.


SH: Is there anything else that people should keep in mind before they try this process?

OM: When in doubt, readers should always consult with their dermatologist if they are interested in the benefits of a beauty trend they read about online. While I am not always a fan of Google, if a reader sees a trend on social media, I would suggest they do a Google search to see if any board-certified derms that also publish in scientific journals (i.e. their name comes up in PubMed) have been interviewed on the subject. A good rule of thumb when it comes to skincare and beauty routines is that you want to stick with one that has worn through the generations.


Love learning more about skincare? Click HERE to read about five skincare habits that are actually damaging your skin.