Its a slug life: the secret skincare routine to never age

Express News Service

“I have turned myself into a slug.” This seems to belong more to a Kafkaesque surreality than to a viral beauty trend taking the internet by storm. “Slugging”, a term coined by a TikTok user for a skincare technique, which involves covering your face with a layer of petroleum-based jelly, may sound bizarre, but practitioners of this routine swear by its effectiveness. No wonder then that it is quite popular in the South Korean beauty scene, and, according to some, is also the secret to K-pop stars’ never-seem-to-age looks.

Slugging is said to lock in the moisture and, in turn, rejuvenate and revive its youthful lustre. Why is it called slugging? Simply because it makes your skin appear slimy and slippery in the process. The skincare technique’s popularity, however, hinges as much on its benefits, as it does on how easy, effortless and inexpensive the whole routine is.    

Slathering a thin layer of Vaseline jelly on your face as the last step in your night skin-care routine is as easy as it gets in the world of slugging. It will help get rid of dry skin, wrinkles and other markers of ageing and overall dullness. Haley Wood, nurse practitioner and owner of aesthetic nonsurgical rejuvenation clinic The Look, says, “With ageing, our skin’s ability to retain moisture starts getting weaker. This decrease in hydration is what leads to wrinkles and fine lines over time. That’s why you need a protective barrier like petroleum jelly to prevent water loss and keep the skin looking hydrated and plump.” 

Petroleum-based products are essentially occlusives. This means they are good at locking-in hydration, in contrast to humectants, which work by hydrating the skin from the outside in. A combination of both—a humectant and an occlusive— done before heading off to sleep seems to bring the most desirable results. A two-step entry into the magical world of, finally and effortlessly, looking half your age.

For all the naysayers and sceptics who believe coating your face with petroleum jelly is as horrifying 
for your skin as it looks and sounds, dermatologist Dr Kavita Mariwalla has the perfect response. “Since petroleum jelly is non-comedogenic, it is perfectly safe for use on the skin. In fact, it heals wounds faster and in a cheaper way, and is also prescribed by dermatologists around the world for babies with eczema.”
A word of caution, however. 

The routine, no matter how simple and easy in execution, isn’t for everyone. Keep in mind that if you have acne-prone skin, you might be doing more harm than good with slugging. Only if you have extremely dry or mature skin does this method present its best benefits. “Consistent use and no more than twice a week for best results,” advises Dr Mariwalla. 

She also warns to not pair slugging with AHA acids or retinoids for the simple fact that it could lead to skin irritation because petroleum tends to increase their absorption to high levels. All in all, the only judgement that matters, when it comes to slugging or any other skincare trend, is your own. Before you dip your finger in that tub of Vaseline, do your own research, and get familiar with your skin. If all checks out, then get ready to slip and slide into a beautiful slug life.

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