Is Slugging Good For Acne-Prone Skin?

When it comes to skincare trends and hacks going viral, you've probably heard it all at this point. And, perhaps, the first trend that came to mind was slugging. Slugging has had its viral moments in the past, but TikTok gave it a second life when the popular skincare trend went viral again, per Elle. The name itself may sound discouraging or like people may have taken the snail skincare trend a step too far. But don't worry: No slugs were harmed in the making of this skincare trend. 

Whenever a unique skincare hack goes viral, it garners a cult following almost immediately with thousands of people attempting it and singing its praises or bashing it. Slugging even has an entire Reddit thread, aptly named Sluglife, dedicated to it. But while everyone is quick to jump onto the trend, it's imperative that you do your own research and look into what the experts have to say. When it comes to something as delicate as your skin, a viral trend is likely to be something that just so happened to work for a select group of people with certain skin types but could be detrimental to yours. 

Considering how oily and dewy slugging leaves you looking, you may already have some concerns as someone with oily or acne-prone skin. You have to play things a lot safer, after all, so is slugging an option for you? 

How slugging works

Slugging has managed to earn itself a bigger cult following than any skincare trend to come before it. Not even the double cleansing movement had this much of an impact on the skincare world, per Allure. The obsession with slugging is partly due to how affordable of a step it is to add to your skincare routine — and partly due to the glowing reviews of those who have tried it. 

With zero slugs in the mix, slugging is simply adding a final step to your nightly skincare routine where you coat your face in a thick, slimy layer of an occlusive gel or petroleum jelly — typically Vaseline, per Teen Vogue. You're left looking like a slug but also with the promise that you'll wake up with soft, supple, and smooth skin. 

Rachel Nussbaum, a writer for Glizour, tried this method and couldn't help but rave about it, saying, "Your skin is just velvety and plump, and the effect lasts all day." There's no shortage of glowing reviews for slugging online, as it seems like most skincare lovers have officially incorporated it into their skincare routine. Fans especially love slugging during colder months or as a solution to repair your barrier, as the thick occlusive layer seals in every skincare step that came before it. 

Still, regardless of its continuously-growing fanbase, slugging remains a hotly debated trend, especially when it comes to acne-prone skin types.

How does slugging work on acne-prone skin?

While dermatologists have been using and recommending slugging long before it earned that unique name, they don't recommend it for everyone, per Teen Vogue. With oily or acne-prone skin types, you can get away with more intense active ingredients than other skin types, but when it comes to thick, slimy products, you are always at risk of clogging your pores. Slugging is not necessarily going to cause you to break out as a direct result, but such a thick occlusive layer on your skin will trap your natural oils and existing acne bacteria, worsening your condition and clogging up your pores, per Strut Health.

That being said, it could potentially work for you like one Reddit user that raved about it, saying, "I have acne-prone, combo skin and use Vaseline every night over my glycolic acid and Cerave Night Cream, it makes my skin so, so soft and not oily at all the next day. In fact, since I added the Vaseline step my skin has gotten less 'oily' I'd say." 

If you are considering trying slugging anyway, take Dr. Shari Marchbein's advice and do it the right way for your acne-prone skin type. "If you're acne-prone but want a similar effect, I would use a creamy moisturizer instead of petrolatum," Marchbein explained, per Teen Vogue. Dr. Marchbein also recommends "[looking] for ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and dimethicone. And then you can spot treat with Vaseline where you're drier."