Is the slugging beauty trend good for everyone?

If you keep an eye on beauty trends on the internet, you might have heard of a skincare routine called slugging. Slugging involves coating your face with a thick petroleum-based product before bedtime. The idea, believed to have originated in South Korea, is to seal in moisture and prevent moisture loss overnight.

When petroleum-based ointment products are applied to the face, it takes on a slimy, shiny appearance (similar to what a slug would leave behind). Slugging fans think it makes their facial skin softer, more supple and more hydrated, but the trend isn’t exactly a new idea. Grandmothers used similar skincare routines generations ago.

The question remains: should everyone try it? Is it safe for people with skin conditions?

“There may be times when slugging can be helpful if a person has severe dryness or eczema,” says Nebraska Medicine dermatologist Ronald Sulewski, MD. “For the average person, however, it might not do much. I probably wouldn’t refer many patients to slugging, but if a person likes it and their skin suits them, I wouldn’t dissuade them. probably none of this.”

Is slugging safe if I have a skin condition?

The answer to this depends on the type of skin condition you might have.

Acne-prone skin or blackheads

Some online videos claim that slugging can help remove blackheads, but Dr. Sulewski disagrees. “If you’re prone to acne, I wouldn’t recommend slugging,” he explains. “Especially those with a condition like cosmetic acne, because thicker balms can actually cause acne or make the condition worse. Also, sweat glands can end up being blocked by thick ointments and cause milia, a tiny pimple-like condition, especially in an acne-prone person.”


You may be a good candidate for slugging if you have conditions that make you prone to dry skin (like eczema and rosacea). People with rosacea who have red, dry, irritated skin might see benefits from the shots. Slugging is not a good idea for people with papulopustular rosacea, which is more like acne-prone skin. “With conditions like rosacea, popping isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but those who have it need to be very careful about what they put on their skin,” says Dr. Sulewski. rosacea you have, so it’s best to consult a dermatologist before trying it.”


Psoriasis is not very common on the face, but can sometimes occur around the hairline. Slugging may or may not be helpful, but it probably won’t cause any harm.

As a treatment for sunburn

You might think that applying a thick ointment to a sunburn would help rehydrate the skin, but a good quality face cream is a better bet. Thicker ointments can trap heat, making a person with a sunburn even more miserable, prolonging the burning sensation.

If you have something going on with your skin and you’re not sure what it is

If you suspect a problem with the skin on your face, avoid knocking until you see a dermatologist to rule out an infection or other undiagnosed skin condition.

Should I use an anti-aging product in addition to slugging?

Some anti-aging products are not good to combine with slugging. Using an anti-aging product before slugging can potentially amplify the intensity of the anti-aging product and cause chemical burns. A dermatologist can help you tailor your skin care regimen to avoid damaging your skin.

What if I want to try slugging but I’m not sure?

“If I had a patient who wanted to try slugging, I would first make sure their skin condition wouldn’t be exacerbated by it,” says Dr. Sulewski. “If a patient is looking for an anti-aging treatment, we generally look for a product with more targeted anti-aging properties. We recommend simpler methods for someone with very dry skin, such as less thick cream and goopy like ointments petroleum-based.”

If your skin is a good candidate for swipes and you want to give it a try, be sure to start with a clean face and hands. Spread a thin layer all over your face or the drier small parts of your face and place a towel over your pillowcase to keep it clean while you sleep.

Before trying out a new skincare routine, it’s wise to understand the do’s and don’ts of at-home facial care and the best skincare routine for any skin type.

Do you have a skin problem?
Call 800-922-0000 to make an appointment with one of our many qualified dermatologists.