Supposedly initially a K-Beauty development, the time period slugging seems to have first surfaced in the US in a 2014 submit in a Reddit subgroup. But it surely didn’t go viral till Charlotte Palermino, a New York Metropolis-based licensed aesthetician and co-founder of skincare firm Dieux, launched the idea to her TikTok and Instagram followers in September 2020, telling them it had made her dry pores and skin “juicy.” As of press time, the hashtag #slugging has 235.5 million views on TikTok.
Petroleum jelly, which is also referred to as petrolatum and was first bought by Vaseline, is a white or yellowish semisolid substance made up of a mix of complicated hydrocarbons by dewaxing crude oil. In line with Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist and affiliate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York Metropolis, it’s an occlusive ingredient: “It varieties a seal over the stratum corneum (outer layer of pores and skin or pores and skin barrier) to guard the pores and skin from the setting whereas stopping water loss.”
By forming this seal — which retains filth and micro organism out and moisture in — the petroleum jelly creates the best setting to permit your pores and skin to repair itself, Zeichner stated. And, he and Palermino stated, slugging doesn’t require a lot petroleum jelly. You need to use a pea-size portion to your whole face, relatively than what’s occurring within the video under (you don’t wish to break your linens).
Although slugging is a brand new identify for it, the act of making use of petroleum jelly as a pores and skin protectant is nothing new. Within the fifteenth century, members of the Native American Seneca tribe, who dug oil pits in northwestern Pennsylvania, used petroleum jelly on human and animal pores and skin to guard wounds, stimulate therapeutic and maintain the pores and skin moist. Within the late nineteenth century, American chemist Robert Chesebrough, visiting oil fields in the identical space of northwestern Pennsylvania, noticed oil employees making use of the residue from their oil drills on their wounds. Chesebrough introduced a pattern again to his Brooklyn lab, purified it, examined it on his self-inflicted wounds and in 1870 branded his “miracle jelly” as Vaseline.
When Tiffany Clay, an Atlanta-based dermatologist, noticed slugging being promoted on Instagram, she was amused. “I laughed as a result of I’ve been doing it my complete life.” Clay credit her “Black grandmothers who slathered Vaseline on my cousins and me after we received out of the tub.”
Now, Clay finds herself recommending petroleum jelly in her dermatology apply “not less than 10 occasions a day” — for dry pores and skin, wound care, surgical aftercare and “particularly for my eczema sufferers who’ve a compromised pores and skin barrier and are usually on the dry aspect.” Indicators of a compromised pores and skin barrier can embrace redness, dryness, peeling, flaking, burning or stinging.
Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist based mostly in Cambridge, Mass., agrees. “I inform dad and mom to coat their youngsters with Vaseline after they first get out of the bathtub to seal within the moisture,” Hirsch stated. “We’ve been utilizing that as normal apply as a result of the petrolatum actually capabilities as a high coat, trapping within the moisture and stopping transepidermal water loss.” Analysis has proven that along with decreasing transepidermal water loss (TEWL), by 99 percent, petrolatum has anti-microbial properties and accelerates skin healing.
Palermino recommends utilizing petroleum jelly in a “moisture sandwich” to lure in probably the most hydration. “In aesthetician college, one of many first stuff you be taught is you hydrate your pores and skin, you moisturize your pores and skin, and then you definitely lure all of it in with an occlusive.”
However due to petroleum jelly’s occlusive nature, Hirsch cautions in opposition to making use of any energetic components, reminiscent of retinoids, exfoliants or topical vitamin C earlier than slugging, since you may harm your pores and skin. “You may take an ingredient that’s pretty gentle, and switch it into one thing very potent by sealing it with petrolatum.”
Though petroleum jelly is taken into account non-comedogenic (that means it gained’t clog pores) as a result of its molecular dimension is simply too massive to penetrate deep into the pores and skin, Hirsch warned that slugging just isn’t for everybody. “Typically talking, I don’t are likely to advocate it [slugging] for people who find themselves vulnerable to milia, oily or pimples. I simply discover occlusives aren’t a very good marriage for them.” Hirsch recommends patch-testing first for these pores and skin circumstances and in case you are vulnerable to allergic reactions.
For severely dry pores and skin, Susan Taylor, a Philadelphia-based dermatologist and founding father of the Skin of Color Society, warns that petroleum jelly, alone, is not going to moisturize the pores and skin. “I’ve my sufferers put the petroleum jelly over a moisturizer that has humectant and emollient components.” Taylor additionally tells sufferers to use petroleum jelly when pores and skin is damp to “lure within the moisture.”
The Food and Drug Administration regulates petrolatum as an over-the-counter drug and deems it a protected and efficient pores and skin protectant when the focus vary is 30 p.c to 100%. However the public has a few issues about petroleum jelly. One is fear about contamination by polycyclic fragrant hydrocarbons (PAHs), that are naturally occurring chemical compounds present in crude oil which were deemed possible human carcinogens.
The consultants I spoke to stated that whereas unrefined petroleum jelly (which isn’t permitted in the US) could be contaminated with PAHs, the petroleum jelly you see on the cabinets of your drugstore has been extremely refined. “Petrolatum is basically a waste product from the petroleum business that goes by way of a number of rounds of refinement till all of the impurities have been eliminated,” stated Victoria Fu, a skin-care science educator, beauty formulation chemist and co-founder of Chemist Confessions, a skin-care line. “Petrolatum has been round for therefore lengthy and scrutinized by regulators for therefore lengthy that refined petrolatum has gone by way of the gamut of testing to make sure security earlier than it hits the cabinets.”
One other concern raised by critics of slugging is that petroleum jelly, as a byproduct of crude oil, just isn’t a sustainable product. However Anthony R. Kovscek, a Stanford College professor and senior fellow on the Precourt Institute for Power, stated eliminating gross sales of petroleum jelly would do little to reverse local weather change. “Altering your driving and commuting behaviors, in addition to driving probably the most fuel-efficient automotive you’ll be able to afford is way extra more likely to impact the fossil gasoline business than tamping down gross sales of Vaseline.”
There are numerous alternate options to petroleum jelly, reminiscent of mineral oils, plant oils and animal waxes. Whereas Hirsch and Zeichner advocate Waxelene, they cautioned that merchandise apart from petroleum jelly usually are not as occlusive, are costlier and have dangers of contamination.