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Health And Medical

TikTok ‘Slugging’ Trend Has People Coating Their Faces With Grease

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — To slug or never to slug? That is thequestion for an incredible number of TikTok users, who turn to the social media marketing giant for tips and info on what amounts to a DIY skincare phenomenon.

Slugging involves slathering some type of sealing agent — like Vaseline or another petroleum-based ointment — onto your skin.

What’s the issue with that? New research warns that most TikTok posts centered on the wrinkle-reducing practice are medically unreliable, hyping the huge benefits while downplaying the risks.

The purpose of slugging, explained study lead author Kyla Pagani, is “to greatly help moisturize and fortify the skin barrier,” for all those battling dryness, irritation or inflammation.

The theory isn’t medically unsound, stressed Pagani, who conducted her research while a medical student in the Department of Dermatology at the Beth Israel Deaconess INFIRMARY in Boston.

“I’ve heard some dermatologists speak very highly about any of it, frequently for addressing eczema on the hands,” she added. “It will be has benefits.”

But it addittionally has potential downsides, said Pagani, such as for example boosting the chances for acne. Sufficient reason for social media marketing sites like TikTok exerting this type of “strong influence on younger population,” she and her colleagues wished to see if that platform’s a lot more than 1 billion users will probably obtain the full picture of what slugging really involves.

To achieve that, the analysis team analyzed this content found in the very best 49 English-language TikTok videos on slugging. Once the investigation premiered, those posts had collectively amassed a lot more than 26.5 million views and nearly 3.3 million “likes.”

However in the finish, only 37% of the videos were classified by investigators as educational. That meant they offered a reasonably full discussion of both potential pros of slugging — such as for example smoother and much more hydrated skin — and the potential cons, like the blocking of pores and acne.

The posting sources mattered a whole lot. For instance, the team discovered that nearly 88% of videos uploaded by healthcare providers were found to be educational and balanced. But that figure plummeted to just no more than 43% for posts shared by “influencers” centered on beauty.


Overall, the analysis authors discovered that about 6 in 10 posts highlighted only the upside of slugging, while only 2 in 10 mentioned possible risks.

“What we found had not been necessarily misinformation, but ordinarily a insufficient information,” Pagani said. “Most of the time, there is just no inclusion of risks.”

Beyond an elevated risk for facial acne among acne-prone patients, Pagani said addititionally there is the chance that any topical skin medication applied before slugging would essentially become trapped underneath petroleum ointments, and for that reason potentially absorbed deeper — and for longer intervals — than originally intended.

“Now, slugging is among the relatively harmless items that are available on TikTok,” Pagani acknowledged. “But even yet in the case of mostly benign beauty trends, the hope is that viewers are likely to get accurate information from reliable sources, information backed by science predicated on data and research. Because other trends or cosmetics may certainly become more potentially harmful than something similar to slugging.”

The findings were published recently in the journal Clinics in Dermatology.

It’s that broader issue that concerns Kelly Garrett, director of the institution of Communication at Ohio State University.

“It really is no wonder that folks end up searching for health information in these digital spaces,” said Garrett, who remarked that social media marketing is familiar, user friendly and will be an empowering solution to do research.

And doctors are not the only real purveyors of useful health information. “For instance, somebody who is coping with a cancer diagnosis might have important insights, too,” Garrett said.

However the problem, he noted, is that “on social media marketing, content creators’ goals aren’t always obvious.

“Posts by healthcare providers tend to be designed to inform, but other creators could be interested in providing entertainment, persuading consumers to get something, or simply generating traffic with their content,” Garrett said. “Consumers who misunderstand the creators goals can become misled concerning the content, too.”

Which means it’s critical that social media marketing users be familiar with the risks involved when looking for health information online, said Garrett, who was simply not mixed up in study.


“Information literacy” is what it’s about, he noted, and therefore those that turn to social media marketing for health information understand that they need to distinguish “between those creating a good faith effort to greatly help others navigate complex medical issues and those that are more worried about getting attention than about being right.”

More info

There’s more on slugging at the Cleveland Clinic.

SOURCES: Kyla Pagani, BS, medical student, University of Massachusetts T.H. Chan School of Medicine, North Worcester; Kelly Garrett, PhD, director, School of Communication, Ohio State University, Columbus; Clinics in Dermatology, Aug. 9, 2022

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