Slugging 101: How to Keep Your Skin Extra Moisturized

October 27, 2022
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | by L'Oréal
Model with moisturized face

When 12-year-old me walked into the dermatologist with flaky, peeling dry skin, my doctor instructed me to layer petrolatum, aka petroleum jelly, on my entire face. I’ve kept up with the nightly ritual for years. Over the past few months, it seems like the TikTok community has also discovered the hydration-boosting technique, and they’re calling it slugging. To help break down exactly why a thin coating of petrolatum can be good for the skin — and what skin types should do it — I turned to Dr. Morgan Rabach, a board-certified dermatologist from L.M. Medical in New York City.

What Is Slugging?

With winter fast approaching, your skin may need a little help holding on to its moisture. That’s where slugging comes in. Dr. Rabach explains that slugging is when you coat your face and neck with a small amount of petroleum. “It acts like a sealant to trap moisture and to prevent water loss from the skin,” she says. “The petrolatum acts as a skin barrier and allows the skin beneath to heal and repair itself.”


While slugging can be an every night skincare step, you can also pull out the petrolatum whenever your skin needs an extra boost of hydration. “You’ll see more hydrated skin the next morning,” says Dr. Rabach. “It’s especially great for plumping fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.”

How to Incorporate Slugging Into Your Routine

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to alter any part of your skincare routine to try slugging. At night, Dr. Rabach recommends cleansing your face, applying your serums and moisturizers and then sealing everything in with a petrolatum-based product, like the CeraVe Healing Ointment. You’ll likely want to skip slugging during the day as it can feel greasy on the skin.

Model holding CeraVe Healing Ointment Product Container

Will Slugging Cause Breakouts?

To decide if slugging is right for you, it’s best to consult with your board-certified dermatologist. “Petrolatum is very safe and hypoallergenic,” says Dr. Rabach. “I would recommend it for all skin types except acne-prone, as petrolatum can block and plug the pores.”

Photographer: Samantha Holender

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