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What Is ‘Slugging’? Here’s What We Know About the Viral Skincare Trend.

With anything from snail facials to using lube as a primer, TikTok and Instagram have become one of the top sources when it comes to strange and obscure skincare and beauty trends.

While These Truly Unique Skincare Treatments May Not Have Been Born on Social Media, the Influential Sources Have Spread the Word to Reach Millions of Viewers Throughout the World.

‘Slugging’ originates from the world of K-beauty (South-Korea). Simply put, slugging refers to the process of sealing your skin with an occlusive agent, often petrolatum-based, overnight. Though it's been mostly popularized as a facial treatment to aid with hydration, this little beauty trick works on other parts of the body as well – from lips to ankles.

We sat down with BIOEFFECT's co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Björn Örvar to discuss the pros and cons of slugging, and the concept of it as a skincare treatment. “The general idea with slugging is to raise the moisture content of the skin by reducing water loss from it with a “water-resistant shield”, a layer that is capable of blocking water from escaping. Improving the moisture level and containing it will not only improve the plumpness and volume of the skin but also helps our skin cells to maintain their natural function. This will also contribute to a healthier skin barrier,” Dr. Björn explains.

However, when it comes to slugging, just like most other skincare treatments, we must be careful that it might not suit everyone. Slugging all over your face is a hard no on very oily or acne-prone skin because it can cause more irritation. If you're trapping things and occluding the skin, there is a potential for breakouts. Dr. Björn goes on to say that “we need to be able to trust the layer itself, that the layer does not have some unwanted ingredient that could have a negative effect on the skin, such as irritation or other unwanted skin reactions, especially since this layer is going to stay on for many hours. If using products with petrochemical-derived components, we need to be confident in the quality of the ingredients. Therefore, a pure formulation with few ingredients should always be our benchmark for the tool for slugging. Keeping this in mind it's safe to say that BIOEFFECT products should fit the bill, with our award-winning EGF Serum containing only 7 ingredients, and the Imprinting Hydrogel Mask only 13. BIOEFFECT's aim is to always use as few and pure ingredients as possible.

It might come as a surprise that according to Dr. Björn, the process of slugging is something skincare brands have been practising for a while. Petrolatum, the ingredient commonly found in ointments and other topical creams from big brand names is occlusive, meaning it creates a barrier that seals in hydration. And BIOEFFECT is no exception when it comes to trying to create our very own method of slugging, but we have adapted the method to suit our EGF products making sure the efficacy of our Barley EGF isn't lost or damaged in the process.

“The idea behind the Imprinting Hydrogel Mask and the Imprinting Eye Mask was to develop a product that could enhance the activity of our EGF Serum. The approach is relatively simple: By first applying the EGF Serum on the skin and then overlaying it with the hydrogel mask we are raising and better containing the moisture level in the skin. The hydrogel mask is reducing water escaping from our skin as well as contributing itself to the moisture level. Therefore, raising the moisture level with this approach will improve the rejuvenating activity of the EGF, as our skin studies have shown so nicely.”

To sum up, slugging can provide benefits for some, and is probably worth trying on targeted areas such as lips that tend to get dry. However, many of us might have reservations about putting petrolatum all over our face. Something about the thought of it just doesn’t sit quite right. Even so, Dr. Björn has stated that the K-beauty movement “are at the top of their game in this field”! For those who wish to see proven, powerful results that also target signs of aging, or people who might be more prone to acne, oily skin, or any other skin problems, BIOEFFECT products have been tried and tested and are sure to provide the same benefits as slugging — and more!