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What is "Skin Slugging"?

Can the secret to better skin be as simple as restoring the skin’s barrier function?


Skin Barrier Health

As we age, we tend to focus on wrinkles, hormonal breakouts, and sun damage. But, could the answer to healthier skin be as simple as creating a healthy functioning barrier?


I have discussed skin barrier health before and the importance of keeping our skin’s barrier strong. We want to keep the good bacteria, get rid of the bad bacteria, and feed the skin nourishing ingredients to create a barrier that protects and functions as it is intended. Harsh treatments, ingredients, and unhealthy habits tend to destroy our skin barrier, creating more breakouts, rosacea, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, and other negative skin issues.


When I was a teenager, it was all about removing all traces of oil to clear acne. All the products (think Noxema and Stridex Pads) were harsh and stripping. This philosophy completely destroyed the skin’s barrier function, creating irritated, reactive, inflamed skin.


What is Skin Slugging?

Skin slugging is a skincare trend which involves slathering your face with petroleum jelly to seal moisture into the skin. This technique is meant to prevent transepidermal water loss and keep moisture in your skin. Trapping moisture in the skin is a great technique for repairing the skin’s barrier. When the skin is dry it cracks (fine lines and wrinkles), becomes inflamed, and is easily irritated. When the skin has a healthy oil balance and is hydrated it is more resilient, calmer, clearer, and brighter.


I love the idea of applying an occlusive (a product that traps moisture on the skin) as a final step at night, but I don’t love the idea of using Vaseline. Instead I like to use a cleaner version to not only create a seal, but to feed the skin nourishment, rather than petroleum and mineral oils. Remember that an occlusive is meant to lock in the moisture to make sure it stays there all night long. Layering the occlusive on top of your serums, oils, and moisturizer makes a powerful treatment combination while you sleep!

Hurraw! BALMTOO Occlusive Treatment

I have been using Hurraw! BALMTOO as my occlusive treatment. I love to use BALMTOO around my eyes. If you have an eye treatment, apply first and then add a layer of BALMTOO on top. You can do the same with any area on your face. Start small and see how your skin reacts and then go big—applying it all over your face! Apply your serums, oils, moisturizers first and then layer the balm on top to lock moisture in all night long. Wake up to smooth, calm, hydrated, happy skin!


A few things to note:

  1. Skin slugging is best for people with drier skin types. People with oily skin tend to have a stronger skin barrier and do not need the added oils on the skin. I also do not recommend for people with active acne.

  2. Be sure to cleanse in the morning. Remember we are constantly shedding dead skin cells so you want to remove the occlusive that has trapped those dead skin cells overnight.

  3. Do your skin slugging on nights you are not doing exfoliation treatments (such as retinol). Trapping retinol or acids under your occlusive can cause irritations on the skin. So, do your skin slugging on the nights that you are just feeding your skin with calming, hydrating, nourishing serums or creams.

  4. Allow about 30-45 minutes after applying before going to bed. This will allow a little time for the ingredients to settle and not rub off onto your pillow (as much!)

When the air gets cooler and drier, our barrier also gets drier and more compromised. So, this is a great time of year to give skin slugging a try!