Vaseline (petroleum jelly or petrolatum) is made with a combination of waxes and mineral oils that form a jelly-like substance.
Since its discovery in 1859, people have used Vaseline to heal cuts and burns and moisturize dry skin. Its water-protective barrier allows it to retain moisture and heal the skin.
There are many forms of petroleum jelly, some of which may not be safe to apply to the face. However, Vaseline is purified, making it safe for facial application.
Can You Put Vaseline on Your Face Before Bed?
Going to bed with a face slathered in Vaseline is a common nighttime ritual that became a trend called “slugging.” The idea is to wake up in the morning with soft, plump skin.
However, you can’t just slather on the Vaseline, go to bed, and expect miracles to happen. Vaseline doesn’t absorb into the skin, so it can’t be used alone as a moisturizer.
For it to work, you would need to wash your face, apply moisturizing creams or lotions, and apply a thin layer of Vaseline as the final step before going to bed. That thin layer of Vaseline will lock in the moisture from the creams and lotions and allow the skin to absorb it more easily.
If you’ve ever woken up in the morning with a face that feels tight and dry, you’ve experienced transepidermal water loss (TEWL). TEWL occurs when water or moisture evaporates into the air through the skin, most often overnight.
According to the National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information, Vaseline reduces TEWL by more than 98%. Alternatives such as mineral oil, lanolin, and silicone only reduce TEWL by 20-30%.
What Does Sleeping with Vaseline on Your Face Do?
Because Vaseline acts as a protectant to seal in moisture, sleeping with it on your face will leave you waking up with soft, moisturized, hydrated, and glowing skin.
Before sleeping with Vaseline on your face, you should always wash your face with soap and water or a face wash. You want to open up the pores and rid them of germs and dirt; otherwise, you’ll lock them in once you apply Vaseline.
Skipping washing your face first could leave you with acne-riddled skin, which is the opposite of what you want.
Sleeping with Vaseline on your face if you have naturally dry skin could help you avoid constantly applying moisturizer all day, especially in the winter.
If you’re like most people with dry skin, applying moisturizer almost seems pointless because your skin won’t absorb it long enough to see any benefits.
Starting a routine of washing your face, moisturizing, and applying a thin layer of Vaseline every night before bed may make all the difference.
The National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information stated, “Vaseline has been proposed as the most effective treatment for dryness among the various occlusives.” You may finally be able to throw out the 20 bottles of moisturizer designed especially for dry skin that didn’t work.
Benefits of Vaseline on Your Face
Using Vaseline on your face at night, or anytime for that matter, has many benefits. If you’ve never tried it or have been on the fence about trying it, perhaps these benefits will entice you to give it a go:
Moisture retention is often why people use Vaseline on their faces and other areas of their bodies.
Even if you have skin that won’t normally retain any moisturizer you slather on, Vaseline will force your skin to absorb that moisture, which is the magic of its protectant qualities.
Applying Vaseline to your skin will speed up the healing process if you have any cuts, scrapes, or burns. Its protective barrier helps to heal and keeps out dirt and bacteria.
Protects and Heals Chapped Lips
Chapped lips hurt, so you must avoid eating certain foods that cause them to burn.
Using regular lip balms seems to take forever to help heal chapped lips. However, smearing a layer of Vaseline on your lips will help soothe and heal them.
You can also use Vaseline on your lips daily as a preventative step against getting chapped lips.
Chronic Skin Conditions
People with chronic skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis get outbreaks on their faces.
Applying a medicated ointment or moisturizer to the affected area followed by a small amount of Vaseline can soothe irritated skin, reduce redness, and relieve itchiness.
According to Life, applying Vaseline to the skin of people with psoriasis improved the skin barrier function, increased hydration, and decreased TEWL.
Easily remove makeup by smearing Vaseline across your eyelids and other facial areas.
The Vaseline will break down the makeup making it much easier to remove than simply washing your face with soap and water.
Is it Bad to Sleep with Vaseline on Your Face?
While sleeping with Vaseline on your face has many benefits, there are also some downsides to it you may want to be aware of.
Everyone’s skin reacts differently to things, so although Vaseline may work wonders on someone else, it may not give you the same result.
When in doubt, do a test by placing a small dab of Vaseline on your face near your hairline and see how your skin reacts to it overnight.
Increased Acne Breakouts
While Vaseline is marketed as non-comedogenic, which means it won’t block or clog pores, people sometimes experience acne breakouts after using Vaseline on their faces.
This could happen because they didn’t wash their face properly before applying Vaseline, and the dirt and oils on their face were trapped.
It could happen because their skin is sensitive and reacts badly to Vaseline.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology stated that Vaseline rarely causes allergic contact dermatitis and has never been reported to have caused contact anaphylaxis.
This means that it’s rare for Vaseline to irritate someone’s skin, and no one has ever been reported to have an allergic reaction from contact with Vaseline.
If you ever experience skin redness, soreness, itching, swelling, or inflammation after using Vaseline on your face, discontinue usage.
Not a Moisturizer
One downside to using Vaseline on your face is that it’s not a moisturizer, so it won’t hydrate your skin on its own. Vaseline must always be the last thing applied to the face after washing, rinsing, and applying moisturizers so that it can lock in the hydration from the other agents.
Locks in Everything
Vaseline locks in whatever is on your skin underneath it. If you have any dirt or grime on your face, Vaseline will seal it in and could cause your skin to break out.
Feels Slimy and Heavy
Vaseline is thick and has a greasy, slimy texture. Even applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to your face can leave your face feeling heavy.
Because it’s oil-based, it could leave your pillow and bed sheets covered in grease stains if you sleep with Vaseline on your face.
Applying Vaseline in or around the nose can cause exogenous lipoid pneumonia.
According to the American College of Chest Physicians “, Exogenous lipoid pneumonia results from the long-term aspiration of oil-based substances,” specifically Vaseline.
Vaseline should never be applied inside the nose. Long-term intranasal use of Vaseline puts you at a high risk of developing exogenous lipoid pneumonia.
While there is still a risk when using Vaseline around the nose, the risk is much lower.