Is Slugging Good For Acne? Can Slugging Help Those with Acne-Prone Skin?

beautiful model applying cosmetic cream treatment on her face on white
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Skin slugging is the viral K-Beauty trend that you’ll find all over TikTok. And with almost 800 million views, it’s a trend that’s going nowhere soon. Beauty enthusiasts love this hack, which results in them waking up in the morning to healthy and glowing skin (and hair!).

However, slugging isn’t great for everyone, because the use of petroleum jelly to do the technique is not good to use on all skin types.

The act of slugging itself won’t cause pimples and acne – even when using petroleum jelly – but is it possible to use alternative products to get the same results?

Is slugging good for acne?

After experimenting with slugging for a few months, I would say no. Let your skin heal from the acne before you start slathering your face with petroleum jelly at night, as you can potentially make things worse.

I’ll explain below.


Is Slugging Good For Acne?


In most of the TikTok skincare trend videos that you’ll see regarding slugging, people use petroleum jelly. This is because Vaseline, Aquaphor, and the like help to form the protective barrier and “slug-like” sheen that the skin needs to go through the process.

Slather on the Aquaphor at night before bed. Wake up with well-hydrated, smooth skin and a healthy glow — at least, if everything goes as planned.

Petroleum jelly is considered a non-comedogenic product, (which means that it doesn’t clog your pores). It doesn’t have the ability to penetrate your skin. But it can still cause a bad reaction because the layer of petroleum jelly prevents your skin from breathing.

This protective skin barrier will lock in moisture, but can leave your skin more prone to breaking out. 

Slather on the Aquaphor at night before bed. Wake up with well-hydrated, smooth skin and a healthy glow — at least, if everything goes as planned.

Will Slugging Break Me Out? – The Woes of Oily Skin

acne breakout

What this all means is that slugging with petroleum jelly isn’t suitable for all skin types. So, if you suffer from either oily skin, or skin that is already prone to breaking out, then slugging is probably a beauty trend that you should avoid.

The main reason to avoid slugging if you have acne is the fact that Aquaphor, Vicks, petroleum jelly, etc. are occlusive agents, which means that the products sit on top of your skin to create a barrier between your skin and the environment. 

This occlusive property is what allows moisture to be locked in. However, just because something is trending, that doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone, especially if you have acne, oily skin, or sensitive skin that’s prone to allergic reactions.

And although it is possible that you have both acne, as well as dry and flaky skin that is in need of serious hydration, slugging won’t help you. That’s because it will be difficult to ensure that your skin is free from clogged pores, or dead skin cells that haven’t been washed away or sloughed off.

If you then add a petroleum jelly layer on top of this, then you’re just asking for trouble.

Will Slugging Help With Acne Scars?

If you haven’t had an acne breakout in a while, and have been enjoying blemish-free skin, then you may want to explore the slugging trend. That’s because many slugging enthusiasts have reported that it helps to reduce the appearance of any acne scarring left over from previous breakouts.

Adding this hydrating beauty hack to your routine could help to plump up any scar tissue, as well as allow deeper hydration and moisture to your surface skin cells.

So, if you’re feeling confident, and still want to try slugging, then be sure that you only start by doing it perhaps once a week. Go slow and make sure your skin doesn’t react badly to the petroleum jelly application.

Adding this hydrating beauty hack to your routine could help to plump up any scar tissue, as well as allow deeper hydration and moisture to your surface skin cells.

Click here to read the article, How Often Should You Do Slugging?

And remember: you only need to use a small amount! Because using too much will block your pores, and could cause a breakout to occur even after you’ve been enjoying blemish-free skin for a while.

How To Hydrate Dry Acne-Prone Skin

Keeping your skin hydrated is extremely important, even when you have an acne breakout. In fact, having well-moisturized skin will go a long way to helping it heal in the long run, as well as reduce the production of excess sebum.

There are a few steps you can take to ensure that your dry skin stays supple and hydrated, especially if you’re currently fighting a breakout. They are:

1. Gentle Cleansing

Although it may be tempting to use an acne cleansing product containing ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, these can actually work to make your acne worse by severely drying out your skin.

Instead, try using a gentle cleanser that doesn’t contain exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids, which also dry your skin out.

Your cleanser only needs to remove dirt and bacteria from your face, and any excess oil coming from your pores. Using harsher products that strip your skin of its natural oils will actually cause more breakouts in the long run.

Use lukewarm water when washing your face, and pat it dry with a clean and fluffy washcloth or towel. Don’t rub your skin or use hot water, which can cause further irritation.

2. Keeping It Moist

It is crucial that you use the right moisturizer when you have an acne breakout, especially if your skin is also suffering from extreme dryness. The moisturizer that you choose should be free from oil as an ingredient, which can end up clogging your pores.

Use a humectant that doesn’t coat the skin like an emollient, which is what petroleum jelly is. Humectants are moisturizing agents that attract water and help the skin to retain that moisture.

COSRX Snail Mucin 92% All In One Repair Cream  has the ability to give you all the benefits of slugging with the help of snails — yes, really!

COSRX Snail Mucin 92% Repair Cream, Daily Face Gel Moisturizer for Dry Skin, Acne-prone, Sensitive Skin, Not Tested on Animals, No Parabens, Korean Skincare (3.52 Fl Oz (Pack of 1))
  • Long-lasting Hydration: Infused with 92%...
  • Supercharged Repairing Moisturizer: A...
  • Key Ingredient: Snail Secretion Filtrate...
  • NO Snails are Harmed: Snail Mucin is...
  • COSRX Standards: All COSRX products are...

This miracle K-Beauty product is free from harsh ingredients like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, and works well to keep both sensitive and acne-prone skins moisturized and hydrated.

The lightweight, gel-type repair cream also helps to soothe irritated skin after breakouts, and even works to heal rosacea. Its powerful ingredients include snail mucin, hyaluronic acid, and betaine, which also work to strengthen your skin’s outer barrier by keeping it moist.

Final Thoughts

It totally makes sense to want to try slugging. I did! But unless you’ve been free from breakouts for a while, then it’s a beauty trend that you should probably steer clear of slathering Aquaphor on your face before bed.

Of course, the final decision is completely up to you. But there are ways to keep extremely dry skin hydrated while you’re suffering from a breakout, like the ones that I’ve recommended above. 

Is slugging good for acne? I don’t think so. So, instead of trying this beauty hack, your main focus should be on doing what’s best for your skin to help it heal, so that you enjoy a blemish-free appearance.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).