Slugging for Eczema: What You Need to Know - Gladskin

Slugging for Eczema: What You Need to Know

By now you’ve probably heard the term slugging on social media, or seen TikTok videos of people slathering on petroleum jelly on their faces before bed. But what exactly is this viral skincare trend, and is it advisable for people with eczema? We break down what slugging is, its potential benefits, and whether and how to incorporate slugging into your routine.

What is slugging?

Slugging involves applying a heavy emollient like petroleum jelly to the skin as the last step of your skincare routine and leaving it on overnight in order to improve skin hydration. The practice got its name from slugs, because the shiny layer of petroleum jelly looks like slug mucus. It’s a new take on a skincare technique that’s around for awhile: slugging has been cited as a K-beauty trend, and “greasing up” with Vaseline has been an established care practice in Black communities for generations

Slugging is also similar to the skincare practices that dermatologists have recommended to people with eczema for years. If you have eczema, you’re likely no stranger to heavy emollients like petroleum jelly, and you’ve probably learned about the soak and seal method—applying skincare products right away to seal moisture into the skin after a shower or bath. Slugging operates according to the same principle.


Slugging benefits

Slugging can be a helpful practice for hydrating dry, eczema-prone, or aging skin. It helps repair the skin barrier and prevent transepidermal water loss—a common concern for people with eczema. Slugging provides a protective occlusive layer, making it harder for irritants and allergens to cause a reaction. 

But slathering on heavy emollients isn’t right for everyone. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, slugging can trap oils on the skin and contribute to breakouts.

Do dermatologists recommend slugging?

Not all viral skincare trends are sanctioned by derms. But slugging is an exception: dermatologists generally agree that it can be helpful to people with dry, eczema-prone skin.


How to slug

Slugging generally occurs on the face, though you can target specific eczema-prone areas such as the hands, or slug your entire body (which is basically the same as the soak and seal method). When slugging your face, start with serums or moisturizers first and stay away from active products—putting an occlusive layer over active ingredients may cause irritation.

  • How to slug your face

Slugging should occur on clean, dry skin. Start by washing your face with a gentle face wash. Follow up by applying a daily moisturizer. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly on top, then leave it on overnight. You can wash your face in the morning. Depending on your skin type, you can slug your entire face or limit slugging to dry patches that are eczema-prone. 


Should you slug every night? 

Whether to slug every night is up to you. People with very dry skin may benefit from regular slugging, while others may want to slug occasionally. Some people may prefer to slug in the winter, when drier air leads to particularly dry skin.

Is Vaseline good for eczema?

Many people use petroleum jelly for slugging. Petroleum jelly has long been a go-to recommendation for people with eczema-prone skin because it provides a protective layer on top of the compromised skin barrier (You can check out our blog post to learn more about how to repair the skin barrier.) But petroleum jelly has a heavy, greasy texture and can stain your clothes or linens. And as skincare science has evolved, it’s no longer the only option for moisturizing eczema-prone skin.

Incorporate Gladskin into your routine

Products with ingredients like glycerin, squalane, and ceramides can help hydrate and moisturize the skin without being too greasy.  Gladskin Eczema Cream with Micreobalance® is clinically proven to reduce eczema systems—and it restores bacterial balance to the skin microbiome. You can learn more about the science behind Micreobalance® here. Pair it with our Body Lotion for long-lasting hydration and no greasy feel.