Slugging: We Put This Skincare Hack To The Test

Is it all it is hyped up to be?


Hack: Slugging — meaning applying a thin layer of petrolatum-based occlusive product to the skin — is a one-step miracle solution to a broken or irritated skin barrier. The idea behind the hack is to prevent transepidermal water loss (a term that refers to the amount of water that evaporates from the skin to the external environment on a daily basis), as well as repairing any damage done to the skin through other factors. Whether from cleansing too often, over-exfoliating, or simply having naturally dry skin — slugging promises to aid in the reparation of your skin barrier and seal moisture in for a refreshed, glowy morning look. 

Who is it good for? Everyone. Anyone. If you have naturally dry skin it helps to seal in moisture from your daily moisturizer with something occlusive, oils (we recommend hemp) and ointments alike. As for people with oily, acne-prone (me!), or combination skin, the hack is just as helpful for you! The more moisture you manage to seal into your skin, the least trouble you’ll have with excess oil production. And if you clean your skin properly before applying the occlusive agent, the barrier helps keep bacteria out, preventing irritation to existing acne.

Product: CeraVe Healing Ointment. Mineral oil-based with added benefits to the skin with ingredients such as vitamin E, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.


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Does it live up to expectations? After trying out slugging for five days, I can confidently say: yes, it works! For me, at least. And while I can’t claim the hack will work for absolutely everyone, I can share my experience.

I only tried slugging at night, as doing it during the day would’ve complicated sunscreen reapplication and I’ve heard people and professionals recommend it only for nighttime. Each time I did my nighttime skincare routine this week, I kept it simple: cleanse, hydrating toner, moisturizer, healing ointment. Some say layering too much under the occlusive might irritate the skin, so I listened. 

Morning one, I found my skin looking smoother. Morning two: certain acne flare-ups, but I can’t say it was due to the occlusive. Day three: I applied pimple patches to the active pimples and covered the rest of the face with a thin layer of the CeraVe ointment. Bingo! That’s the routine that worked best for me. Morning three I woke up to the clearest, smoothest skin I’ve had in weeks. If slugging all-over doesn’t work for you, try it only on the sections of the face you feel need it most.


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