The Benefits of Thumping (And How to Do It)

If you're a skincare TikTok user like us (and we admit we've tried chlorophyll water), you've probably noticed the word "slugging" a lot in your five-year plans lately. 

While the word doesn't sound too appetizing, users (including Martha Stewart) say the whipping has been a huge boon for their dry, aging skin. Some even swear by the practice as a cure for eczema. 

As with any skincare trend, just because a certain ingredient or product is trending doesn't mean it's the best choice for your complexion. But is it worth the fight? 

We've reached out to nationally board-certified dermatologists Dr. Anna Chacon, MD, and Nancy Samulitis, MD, PhD for comment on the trend. Read her thoughts below. 

What is beating? Slugging is a K-Beauty skincare routine that's been gaining popularity on Reddit and most recently TikTok, though it's more than 100 years old, according to Dr. Samolitis. The name literally means the stickiness of the practice -- slug-like. 

The steps are simple: After applying the final products of your afternoon skincare routine, apply a thin layer of an occlusive moisturizer, like B. Sweet Soothing Overnight Barrier Cream. Before bed (we'll explain these terms in more detail for you later). 

Most commonly, users will use petroleum jelly, which can be found in drugstore brands like petroleum jelly, but you're not limited to that. What do occlusive and emollient properties mean? 

Similar to moisturizers, you may have seen the terms "occlusive" and "emollient" in beauty blogs and skincare descriptions, and they usually refer to moisturizers or face oils. 

Technically, occlusion means "closed." In medicine, it refers to a bandage that prevents air from entering an open wound. It's also a good way to think about it from a skincare perspective; occlusive ingredients create a barrier on the skin's surface, preventing transepidermal water loss (TEW), essentially stopping dehydration. 

Emollients soften the skin, which is why many dry skin ingredients are described as such. Emollients are waxy, oily substances that include fatty acids, shea butter, coconut oil, and petroleum jelly. 

Occlusive and emollient properties go hand in hand; together they help keep the skin's moisture barrier smooth, supple and strong, better able to defend against external aggressors such as pollution and harsh climates that lead to dry skin, premature aging, inflammation, etc. ). 

The benefits of hitting and how to hit. Using an occluder and moisturizer before bed sounds like a win-win. According to Dr. Chacon is just that. "Tapping is particularly helpful because it helps prevent moisture loss and moisture loss from the skin. 

Examples where this can be used are dry skin, dehydrated/dry skin, eczematous dermatitis, and post-treatments such as laser treatments and peels." Because Smudging keeps our moisture barrier healthy, so it's also beneficial, as it reduces the appearance of fine lines as the crepe texture slows down. 

You can use the heavy hit as the last step in your daily skincare routine, on its own or after your moisturizer, depending on your preference. While many turn to petroleum jelly for its affordability (and despite its greasy appearance, it's non-comedogenic and skin-safe when properly refined), it has its downsides. 

Vaseline is thick, sticky, and uncomfortable. Difficult-to-remove stains are also more likely to remain on pillowcases. Thankfully, you're not limited to this. Ingredients like squalene (found in our rich moisturizer) have emollient and occlusive properties, so they can also be used for weight loss. Of course no stains. 

Should I swallow if I'm oily or acne-prone? We don't blame oily or acne-prone skin for swallowing—smearing oily goo all over your face doesn't seem like the best way to deal with pore problems. 

But like the misconception that oily skin shouldn't moisturize, these issues can also benefit from occlusive and emollient ingredients—as long as they're just right. It's even "helpful to use when taking strong acne treatments like retinoids, isotretinoin, and the like," adds Dr. Chacon. 

Using skin-friendly ingredients like marula oil, another occlusive emollient, is safe for all skin types when used in a balanced formula. You'll find it in our Antioxidant Oil Serum, an acne-targeting treatment that leaves skin soft, hydrated and radiant. 

While Dr. Chacon reminds us that everyone's skin is different, she and Dr. avoid applying petroleum jelly directly to acne-prone or oily skin. "Through this practice, acne-prone individuals are sure to experience increased clogged pores. 

Oil and dead skin cells are not shed from the surface, but are trapped under this locking barrier," explains Dr. Samolitis. "Also, if you use an active ingredient like retinol and cap it with petroleum jelly, you may experience more side effects, such as dryness and peeling, due to the increased penetration of the retinol." 

Another approach is topical treatments for dry patches. This is handy for combination skin types as well as those prone to redness and dry spots. The biggest tip from Dr. Samolitis, however, is simply to integrate barrier repair into your existing skin care routine. 

"I recommend not putting up a barrier on your skin, but maximizing the health of your own skin barrier! The way to do this is to avoid over-exfoliating with too many products or scrubbing. 

Use Moisturizers with ceramides. These ingredients act like glue, helping to hold skin cells together and seal the barrier naturally."
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