It's Time to Start Slugging Your Whole Body

Here's your head-to-toe guide, according to experts.

woman applying lotion to leg
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If you've ever taken off your jeans in the winter months and been horrified to see hundreds of tiny flakes of dry skin (we've all been there), despite your best attempt to remember to apply body lotion, listen up.

The K-beauty trend of slugging is now being applied to the entire body for glowy skin — #bodyslugging has more than 106 millions views on TikTok — and it could be what your skin needs to stay hydrated going into the colder months ahead.

We spoke to a dermatologist and esthetician to break down everything you need to know about body slugging, including how to body slug and the skin benefits (and drawbacks) of the trend.

What is body slugging?

Slugging is the process of locking in your skin’s moisture with an occlusive product on top of your moisturizer to protect the skin’s barrier. Body slugging is the same concept – applied to all of your skin. 

“Body slugging comes from Korean beauty and involves applying a layer of an occlusive petrolatum-based ointment like Vaseline to your skin to lock in moisture, which can leave skin looking slimy like a slug, hence the term slugging,” says Dr. Tiffany Libby, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Brown Dermatology and Reserveage partner.

What are the skin benefits?

“Body slugging helps prevent most transepidermal water loss from the skin and works as a skin protectant,” says Dr. Libby. Translation: The skin will retain more moisture leading to a tighter, more youthful appearance and it will be healthier, since the occlusive layer will help your skin barrier have time to repair itself.

Adi Kempler, Heyday expert esthetician and regional educator, says the higher molecular weight in the product locks in the moisture and key ingredients from your body care routine. This means ingredients found in your body lotion, like glycerin and vitamin E, will be even more effective. The slug is the key that locks in everything you applied before resulting in plump, hydrated skin. 

How do I start body slugging?

The process is super simple: “Use a thin layer of an occlusive petrolatum-based ointment as your last step in your nighttime routine after hydrating serums or moisturizers like glycerin and hyaluronic acid to help seal in water content,” says Dr. Libby.

While the process is similar to face slugging, with body slugging, your clothes can also be a helpful part of the equation. Socks, gloves, or your clothes (at least the ones you don't care about getting a little sticky!) can add an extra layer of protection to help seal the moisture. Think of it like a layered cake. You have the final layer of frosting all around to seal everything into place. That’s the slug. The extra sprinkles are the clothes.

Depending on your skin type, you may want to adjust how exactly you incorporate slugging into your rountine. For example, if you have drier skin, you may need a thicker layer or to slug more than someone with oily skin.

“Everyone’s skin is different and there technically isn’t one cadence that works for everyone,” says Kempler. “My recommendation with things like this is to always start slow. Pick it up once or twice a week and see how your skin feels or looks on the days that you applied this method.”

Are there any side effects?

While there are minimal to no side effects in using petrolatum, Kempler recommends listening to your skin and what it requires. “You don’t need a lot of product to achieve these results and too much can, in some cases, cause clogged pores depending on what’s being used,” says Kempler.

Beside volume of product, slugging too often can also clog pores and over hydrate the skin — yep that's a thing. “The skin needs a certain level of water loss to self-regulate production of its own lipids,” Dr. Libby explains.

TLDR: Like many things, slugging works best in moderation. According to Dr. Libby, more than 2-3 times a week is too much, so try to find the sweet spot for you. And, as with any other skincare trend, know that not everyone will have the same response. “Some clients use this method often and it works really well for them while others don’t benefit as much from it," she adds.

The Best Products for Body Slugging

Osea Anti-Aging Body Balm

osea anti-aging body balm

Osea

To shop: $54; oseamalibu.com

Vaseline Original Healing Jelly

vaseline orignal healing jelly

Vaseline

To shop: $6; target.com

One Love Organics Skin Savior Multi-Tasking Wonder Balm

onelove organics wonder balm

One Love Organics

To shop: $49; oneloveorganics.com

Naturopathica Gotu Kola Intense Repair Balm

naturopathica gotu kola repair balm

Naturopathica

To shop: $68; naturopathica.com

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