Slugging: The Key to Locking in Moisture

Slugging: The Key to Locking in Moisture

By Maren Stratte and Elizabeth G Stratte, MD


An age-old Korean beauty hack is taking Renew by storm.

Our goal from the start has been to get every single one of our patients on some form of retinol. Some are understandably hesitant. A lot of misinformation is spread about retinol use; some of the questions we are frequently asked are “Doesn’t it make you sunburn?”, “Won’t it make my skin peel?”, and “Can’t it thin your skin?”. 

Retinol will not cause sunburns, or thin your skin (retinol is the only topical that will actually strengthen the layers of the skin), but sometimes, peeling and purging is unavoidable. That’s where slugging comes in. Slugging, named because it looks like a slug ran over your face, refers to applying a petroleum based product after your skincare routine to lock in your active products, create a buffer between the skin and your pillow, and add extra moisture. Products like vaseline and Vanicream Ointment create an impermeable barrier that locks in moisture and prevents water loss from the skin.

Who is slugging good for?

The only type of skin that is not recommended for slugging is acneic, or very oily skin. If your skin gets dry during the winter, this is the perfect time to give slugging a try!

How do I slug?

We slug a little bit differently. One way to do it is to apply it to freshly cleaned skin with no other products. This is a great way to repair compromised, dry or irritated skin. The way WE do it is adding it to the end of your skincare routine. 

Dr. Stratte slugs every night! After doing her skincare routine as normal, she applies a layer of Vanicream Ointment (formerly known as Vaniply). We believe that in order to get benefits of regular retinol use, it’s important to use your retinol after your moisturizer, so when you add in slugging, your routine would go moisturizer, retinol, then ointment. Take it up a notch by spritzing with a hydrating spray, like Avène Thermal Spring Water!

Let us know if you’ve tried slugging! Or other ways to keep your skin hydrated this time of year!

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