Dec. 6, 2022 – They have been round for some time and present no indicators of going away: Movies on TikTok of individuals, typically teenagers, slathering their face with petroleum jelly and claiming that it is reworked their pores and skin, cured their zits, or given them a tremendous “glow up.”

Movies on the favored social media platform mentioning petrolatum elevated 46% and Instagram movies by 93% from 2021 to 2022, reported Gabriel Santos Malave, of the Icahn Faculty of Drugs at Mount Sinai, New York, and William D. James, MD, a professor of dermatology on the College of Pennsylvania, in a not too long ago printed examine within the journal Cutis. 

The authors mentioned that Vaseline maker Unilever reviews that mentions of the product elevated by 327% on social media in 2022, primarily due to “slugging,” which entails smearing petroleum jelly on the face after a moisturizer is placed on. 

In a typical demonstration, a dermatologist in the UK confirmed how she makes use of slugging in her routine in a TikTok video that is had greater than 1 million views.

In contrast tomanyTikTokdevelopments, slugging is probably not fully dangerous, say dermatologists. 

“I feel it is an effective way to maintain your pores and skin protected and moisturized, particularly in these dry, chilly winter months,” dermatologist Mamina Turegano, MD, mentioned in a video posted in February. That TikTok video has had greater than 6 million views. 

Turegano, who’s in personal follow within the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, LA, says she determined to put up about slugging after she’d observed the subject was trending. Additionally, she had tried the approach herself when she lived in Washington, DC, greater than a decade in the past.

On the time, she says, she was conscious that “placing petroleum jelly in your face was not a standard factor.” However, given its historical past of being utilized in dermatology, she gave it a attempt to discovered that it labored properly for her dry pores and skin.

Turegano is one amongst many dermatologists who’ve joined TikTok to dispel myths, educate, and inform. It is necessary for them to be there “to have interaction and empower the general public to change into a greater client of knowledge on the market and take possession of their pores and skin well being,” says Jean McGee, MD, PhD, a dermatologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Heart in Boston, and an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical Faculty.

McGee and colleagues studied TikTok content material on slugging and located that by far, movies that had been created by well being care suppliers had been extra academic. Dermatologists who posted had been extra prone to focus on the dangers and advantages, whereas “influencers” not often posted in regards to the dangers, in keeping with the examine printed in Clinics in Dermatology.

Trapping Moisture 

Slugging is mostly protected and efficient for many who have a compromised pores and skin barrier or “for many who have delicate pores and skin and may’t tolerate different merchandise however want some type of moisturization,” mentioned Turegano. 

“Its oil-based nature permits it to seal water within the pores and skin by making a hydrophobic barrier that decreases transepidermal water loss,” Malave and James wrote in Cutis. They word that petrolatum reduces that water loss by 98%, in contrast with solely 20% to 30% for different oil-based moisturizers.

Dermatologists have typically really helpful a “seal and entice” plan for dry pores and skin or eczema. It entails a brief, lukewarm bathe, adopted by moisturizing with a petrolatum-based ointment straight away, says McGee. 

This could possibly be protected for the face, however “different variables have to be thought of,” together with use of different topical drugs and different skincare practices, she says.

The idea of double-layering a moisturizer and an occlusive agent may be helpful however extra usually for the palms and toes, the place the pores and skin may be severely dry and cracked, says Adam Friedman, MD, a professor and chair of dermatology on the George Washington Faculty of Drugs and Well being Sciences in Washington, DC. “I might not advocate that on the face,” he says.

He and different dermatologists warn there may be the potential for slugging – given petroleum jelly’s blocking potential – to reinforce the motion of any topical steroid, retinol, or exfoliating agent. 

Muneeb Shah, DO, who practices in Mooresville, NC, is without doubt one of the hottest dermatologists on TikTok and has greater than 17 million followers. He additionally warned in a February video about potential downsides. “Watch out after utilizing retinol or exfoliating acids as a result of it could truly irritate your pores and skin extra,” he says within the video.

“Slugging is superior for some individuals however not for others, and never for each night time,” Whitney Bowe, MD, says on a TikTok video she posted in July. She really helpful it for eczema or actually dry pores and skin. Bowe, who practices with Superior Dermatology in New York Metropolis, suggested these with acne-prone pores and skin to “skip this pattern.”

On a webpage geared toward most of the people, the American Academy of Dermatology additionally cautioned: “Keep away from placing petroleum jelly in your face in case you are acne-prone, as this may increasingly trigger breakouts in some individuals.”

Pimples Treatment or Pore Clogger?

And but, loads of TikTok customers declare that it has improved their zits. 

One such person posted a before-and-after video purporting to indicate that slugging had virtually gotten rid of her zits and prior scarring. Not surprisingly, it has been considered some 9 million instances and bought 1.5 million “likes.”

Friedman notes that it is theoretically potential – however unlikely – that slugging may enhance zits, provided that zits principally is a illness of barrier disruption. “The concept right here is you’ve got disrupted pores and skin barrier all through the face no matter whether or not you’ve got a pimple in that spot or not, so it is advisable restore it,” he mentioned. “That is the place I feel slugging is considerably heading in the right direction, as a result of by placing an occlusive agent on the pores and skin, you might be restoring the barrier component,” he mentioned. 

Nonetheless, making use of a thick, greasy ointment on the face may block pores and trigger a backup of oil and useless pores and skin cells, and it may entice micro organism, he mentioned. “Pores and skin barrier safety and restore is central to zits administration, however it is advisable do it in a protected method,” he mentioned. He famous that which means making use of an oil-free moisturizer to damp pores and skin.

Turegano mentioned she has seen slugging enhance zits, nevertheless it’s onerous to say which individuals with acne-prone pores and skin could be the very best candidates. Those that have used harsh merchandise to deal with zits after which had their zits worsen may doubtlessly profit, she mentioned. 

Even so, she mentioned, “I might be very cautious in anybody with zits.”

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