Slug fest for the skin
LOCK THE MOISTURE IN YOUR SKIN AND MAKE YOURSELF GLOW!
The summer heat is sapping. You do nothing but sweat. But social media is overflowing with recommendations for the Korean beauty trend of slugging, which will leave your skin pampered and glowing. Influencers and enthusiasts are plugging slugging as the ultimate remedy for skin hydration. The technique involves a different type of lockdown from the one the world is used to now – a lock-in that preserves the moisture in your skin.
“Dry, damaged skin loses lipids and proteins heavily leading to trans epidermal water loss. Emollients like petroleum jelly help to prevent the water loss and soften the dry skin. Simply put, it is like applying a band aid to externally repair the problem, without treating the root cause.”
— Dr Madhuri Agarwal,
EMOLLIENTS TO THE RESCUE
“Essentially, slugging means applying a thick layer of petroleum jelly over the face as the last step of your skincare routine before bed,” explains Dr Madhuri Agarwal, dermatologist, founder and medical director, Yavana Aesthetics Clinic. “Petroleum jelly is an emollient and forms an oily layer on top of the skin to prevent water loss. We use emollients to repair the skin barrier function in cases of compromised skin specially in dry weather,” she adds.
“Dry, damaged skin loses lipids and proteins heavily due to various factors like genetics, skin conditions like atopic dermatitis or psoriasis, environmental aggressors or overzealous application of retinols/acids. This leads to trans epidermal water loss,” she says, adding, “Emollients like petroleum jelly help to prevent the water loss and soften the dry skin. Simply put, it is like applying a band aid to externally repair the problem, without treating the root cause.”
Water-based moisturisers, mist sprays and a diet rich in seasonal fruits and vegetables will help those scaly elbows, knees and ankles.
Explains Dr. Batul Patel, medical director, and dermatologist, The Bombay Skin Clinic, “Petroleum jelly or even glycerine work really well for palms and soles which are cracked or have broken skin. The skin in these areas is thicker and needs a more occlusive moisturizer. Apply, then seal it with an occlusive cling film or gauze piece to allow better penetration.”
She recommends a sound nutritional plan which includes essential fatty acid-rich food like nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish and eggs.
AN INDIAN SUMMER
Is slugging really suited to the Indian climate?
In India the environment is more humid in summers and monsoon and hence a heavy moisturizer will clog the skin cells and prevent renewal of healthy skin cells. Hence oily skin and acne prone skin should definitely avoid slugging. Even for very sensitive and irritated skin, one should first try a good skin care plan. “If you must, use petrolatum as a short contact application for extremely dry skin. For sensitive skin, use skin barrier creams containing ceramides and hyaluronic acids,” says Dr. Batul.
“The skin barrier is usually healthy and does not need a layer of petroleum jelly every night to repair it,” cautions Dr Madhuri. Skin has a mechanism of selfrepair – it produces more lipids to make up for the small amount of water loss daily.” Warning that skin can get lazy when there is a constant occlusion with no water loss and stop working normally, she suggests that overnight creams and facial oils could be better than petroleum jelly for skin repair in cases of dry skin.
“Petroleum jelly can clog the oil glands and worsen acne or cause flare ups of breakouts. It should definitely not be used in summers on face as it can clog the sweat glands and lead to heat rash. Try using it for selective slugging, in winter,” she adds.
Skin is a sensitive terrain and it pays to be cautious. Says Dr Batul, “Overnight application of petrolatum on the face tends to overhydrate the skin – at times this can prevent renewal of new skin cells. Sometimes, hydration can prevent the dead skin cells from sloughing off, leaving skin dry and unhealthy, clogging pores. Overhydration can also leave the skin more sensitive and irritated.”
So, if you are itching to take to face slugging, instead of petrolatum, try repair creams or balms which contain plant-based actives, plant-based oils, ceramides and also hyaluronic acid. The effects can be maximized by sealing it with a hydro jelly mask or a clay mask for better penetration.
For dry skin, Dr. Batul recommends exfoliation before slugging with a scrub containing active ingredients like magnesium crystals or lactic acid. This facilitates hydration of the active new cells.
“Petroleum jelly can clog the oil glands and worsen acne or cause flare ups of breakouts. It should definitely not be used in summers on face as it can clog the sweat glands and lead to heat rash. Try using it for selective slugging, in winter,”
— Dr. Batul Patel, medical director, and dermatologist