woman applying occlusive to face
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The Best Occlusives—Including Vaseline and Aquaphor—to Use for Slugging

Dermatologists reveal the best products to use while you slug.
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While it's been around since pre-social media days, slugging has gone viral in the beauty world during the last year—and it hasn't let up for good reason. If you aren't sure if this technique is actually for you, consider its benefits. "The whole idea with slugging is to create a thin film with occlusive agents like ointments, oils, and balms to reinforce the skin's moisture barrier and prevent trans-epidermal water loss," says Adeline Kikam, DO, MSc, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Brown Skin Derm. This will help boost your skin's moisture levels and ward off conditions like eczema and dryness. Always make sure you have freshly washed skin when applying occlusives (ingredients that act as protectives to seal the skin and lock in hydration) to slug. This way, you will avoid trapping dirt and excess oil that can cause or worsen breakouts, says Dr. Kikam.

As for the best occlusives to buy for your slugging routine? We tapped dermatologists to share their favorites, so can shop your way to more hydrated skin.

Shop the Best Occlusives for Slugging

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Credit: Courtesy of Target

Vaseline All-Over Body Balm Stick

$5.99, target.com

Dr. Kikam recommends choosing a 100 percent pure petroleum jelly, free of any additives that can potentially irritate skin, to slug. "This balm stick allows for a more convenient application that goes on much lighter than the thicker consistency found in the tub version," she says. 

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Aquaphor Healing Ointment

$19.84, amazon.com

Petrolatum-based, healing ointments are recommended occlusives for slugging. Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, says that these products, like Aquaphor, "include glycerin, lanolin, bisabolol, and mineral oil for additional hydrating, soothing, and barrier-supporting properties." 

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Credit: Courtesy of Dermstore

HydroPeptide Soothing Balm

$48, dermstore.com

While petrolatums and petrolatum-based ointments are suggested for slugging, Dr. King says that any occlusive can be used. Consider this three-in-one calming and hydrating balm for mature skin. The occlusive features extra virgin coconut, avocado, and olive oils that penetrate the skin—leaving the surface supple to the touch.

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Credit: Courtesy of Sephora

Skinfix Remedy+ 911 Ointment

$26, sephora.com

If you experience redness, dryness, dullness, and uneven texture, try this petrolatum-based product. The ointment is clinically proven to protect chapped, cracked, and irritated skin.

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Credit: Courtesy of Target

CeraVe Healing Ointment Skin Protectant

$19.99, target.com

"For those wanting a little more richness in their ointment, this formula combines petroleum jelly with a mix of emollients, like ceramides, and humectants, like hyaluronic acid, for added skin benefits beyond just being an occlusive product," Dr. King says. "These ingredients help replenish skin's moisture barrier and increase skin's hydration beyond just reducing trans-epidermal water loss."

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Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly

$4.49, riteaid.com

If you want to apply vaseline out of the tub, turn to this option. Formulated only with petroleum jelly, this occlusive is ideal for those with sensitive skin or possible allergies to common skin care ingredients found in other occlusives, Dr. King says.

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Credit: Courtesy of Dermstore

EltaMD Moisturizer

$19.50, dermstore.com

Both lightweight and highly moisturizing, this petrolatum-infused occlusive brings relief to those with dry, peeling, and flaking skin. The product is free of fragrance and locks in moisture to calm inflammatory conditions, such as rosacea, eczema, and even sunburn.

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Credit: Courtesy of Sephora

The INKEY List Rosehip Nourishing Night Oil

$11.99, sephora.com

If you are seeking a non-petroleum jelly option for slugging, you'll want to turn to this nourishing, lightweight rosehip oil, which boasts antioxidants and provides extra moisture; it's one of Dr. Kikam's go-tos, and contains 100 percent cold pressed, natural oil and omega-6 fatty acids that aid with rough texture.

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Credit: Courtesy of SkinCeuticals

SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm Moisturizing Ointment

$24, skinceuticals.com

This moisturizing balm is packed with soothing aloe vera to help heal severely damaged or sensitive complexions. Those with itchy skin will love this formula, as it provides quick relief and properties that are immensely hydrating.