Dec. 6, 2022 – They’ve been round for some time and present no indicators of going away: Videos 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.”

Videos 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 School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and William D. James, MD, a professor of dermatology on the University of Pennsylvania, in a just lately published examine within the journal Cutis. 

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

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

UnlikemanyTikToktrends, slugging is probably not fully dangerous, say dermatologists. 

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

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

At the time, she says, she was conscious that “placing petroleum jelly in your face was not a standard factor.” But, given its historical past of being utilized in dermatology, she gave it a try 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’s vital for them to be there “to have interaction and empower the general public to grow to be a greater shopper of data 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 Center in Boston, and an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

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 talk about the dangers and advantages, whereas “influencers” hardly ever posted concerning the dangers, in response to the examine published in Clinics in Dermatology.

Trapping Moisture 

Slugging is usually secure 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,” stated 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 advisable a “seal and lure” plan for dry pores and skin or eczema. It includes a brief, lukewarm bathe, adopted by moisturizing with a petrolatum-based ointment immediately, says McGee. 

This might be secure for the face, however “different variables have to be thought of,” together with use of different topical medicines and different skincare practices, she says.

The idea of double-layering a moisturizer and an occlusive agent might be helpful however extra sometimes for the palms and ft, the place the pores and skin might be severely dry and cracked, says Adam Friedman, MD, a professor and chair of dermatology on the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC. “I might not suggest that on the face,” he says.

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

Muneeb Shah, DO, who practices in Mooresville, NC, is likely one of the hottest dermatologists on TikTok and has greater than 17 million followers. He additionally warned in a February video about potential downsides. “Be cautious after utilizing retinol or exfoliating acids as a result of it could really irritate your pores and skin extra,” he says within the video.

“Slugging is superior for some folks however not for others, and never for each evening,” Whitney Bowe, MD, says on a TikTok video she posted in July. She advisable it for eczema or actually dry pores and skin. Bowe, who practices with Advanced Dermatology in New York City, suggested these with acne-prone pores and skin to “skip this development.”

On a webpage aimed toward most of the people, the American Academy of Dermatology additionally cautioned: “Avoid placing petroleum jelly in your face if you’re acne-prone, as this will likely trigger breakouts in some folks.”

Acne Cure or Pore Clogger?

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

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

Friedman notes that it is theoretically potential – however not going – that slugging might enhance zits, on condition that zits mainly is a illness of barrier disruption. “The thought right here is you’ve disrupted pores and skin barrier all through the face no matter whether or not you’ve a pimple in that spot or not, so it is advisable to restore it,” he stated. “That’s 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 stated. 

However, making use of a thick, greasy ointment on the face might block pores and trigger a backup of oil and useless pores and skin cells, and it might lure micro organism, he stated. “Skin barrier safety and restore is central to zits administration, however it is advisable to do it in a secure approach,” he stated. He famous that meaning making use of an oil-free moisturizer to damp pores and skin.

Turegano stated she has seen slugging enhance zits, nevertheless it’s arduous to say which individuals with acne-prone pores and skin could be one of the best candidates. Those who’ve used harsh merchandise to deal with zits after which had their zits worsen might doubtlessly profit, she stated. 

Even so, she stated, “I’d be very cautious in anybody with zits.”

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