Between hats, sunglasses, and the occasional mask, does anyone else feel like their face is actually more covered than the rest of your skin each summer? It’s a natural inclination to pay a bit more attention to how your body is both looking and feeling when the temperature spikes, coaxing everyone into putting a little more on display.
Just look at TikTok—my barometer for absolutely everything—where body-centric skincare trends like strategic fake tanning and glass body skin are blowing up right now. But if body skin is just an extension of our faces, it’s a serious focus on hydration that can make the biggest difference. Body slugging takes the same moisture-retaining technique that won over the internet and applies it to the neck-down for supple, smooth skin with noticeable shine.
If the idea of slathering your entire body in petroleum jelly sounds… uncomfy, you’re definitely not alone. As a slugging stan myself, this was one trend I was eager to learn more about, as well as some non-disgusting ways to get the same effect. Ahead, the real deal on body slugging, straight from the medical experts.
What Is Body Slugging?
Body slugging is, to put it simply, slugging but all over. If you’re unfamiliar with slugging as a whole, it's the act of layering an occlusive product (like Vaseline) over moisturizer to essentially lock in hydration and maintain your skin’s all-important lipid barrier. “By creating this occlusive seal, water loss across the epidermis is minimal, and skin's lipid barrier has time to repair itself,” explains Dr. Azza Halim, a board-certified multi-specialist physician with an extensive background in anti-aging treatments and regenerative medicine. Slugging has been a K-beauty staple for years, though it’s only relatively recently gained widespread popularity in the U.S. (by name, anyway).
"Before slugging was called 'slugging', dermatologists were advising their eczema-prone patients to do this on their skin, especially the body," says Dr. Fatima Fahs, a Michigan-based board-certified dermatologist and the creator of Dermy Doc Box. "Occlusive emollients help create a seal and trap moisture underneath them, so it's a great way to hydrate the skin." That goes for below the neck, too.
How To Body Slug
It's relatively established that body slugging is a great way to stay hydrated, especially during a moisture-killing summer of chlorine, salt water, sun exposure, and long nights out. But there's one very clear problem—in what world is it feasible to get in bed covered in goo? Personally, I cannot afford the sheer amount of Vaseline it would take to coat my body on a semi-regular basis.
Fortunately, suffering through stickiness isn't the only way to get the slugging effect. Dr. Fahs suggests a spray-on version of your favorite occlusive, recommending the Aquaphor Ointment Body Spray ($11). The formula is thinner and dispenses as a mist, but is still an effective top coat—and the continuous spray makes it easy to get hard-to-reach places like your back. If you like the thick, enveloping feel of classic petroleum jelly, Dr. Fahs says the Cetaphil Healing Ointment ($10) is thinner and easier to spread.
Of course, slugging isn't for everyone—face or body. If you're craving some extra moisture and don't want to get all slugged upl, Dr. Fahs suggests looking out for products that contain ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, or shea butter. "You can also opt for moisturizers with ingredients like urea and lactic acid to exfoliate the skin while also hydrating if you tend to be on the flakier side," she adds. Looks like this is another win for TikTok—slug on, all over.