Once your boxing trainer gives you last-minute instructions before you square off against an opponent, the cutman in your corner will often apply a few dabs of Vaseline in select areas of your face to protect you from punches. The substance won't lessen the pain of power punches, but plays a vital role in preventing some shots from causing damage to your face. Vaseline's slippery quality increases the likelihood of punches slipping off your face rather than landing square. Using the substance is legal and a valuable way to protect yourself.
Having several dabs of Vaseline or another type of petroleum jelly on your face during a boxing match might not do wonders for your appearance, but it can boost your longevity in the ring by protecting your face. When you have a dry face and are hit with a punch, your opponent's leather gloves can leave a burning feeling on your skin. With Vaseline on your face, however, the punch is more likely to slide off your face, prevent burns and limit the chances of sustaining a cut.
Many boxers like slightly different applications of Vaseline, but most request it for their nose, lips, cheekbones, jawbone and beneath their eyebrows. Trainers or cutmen typically apply the substance by dabbing it in the desired location with their finger or cotton swabs, and re-apply the Vaseline between each round as needed.
Beyond helping lessen the sting from some punches, Vaseline can occasionally help control the amount a boxer bleeds during a fight. Vaseline itself doesn't typically prevent a cut from bleeding, but trainers and cutmen often mix a coagulant with the Vaseline and apply it to a cut. The coagulant slows the bleeding while the Vaseline protects the affected area. Placing a dab of Vaseline inside a boxer's bloody nose can limit the amount of blood that runs, but repeated punches will often dislodge the Vaseline and cause the nose to continue bleeding.
Virtually all governing bodies in boxing allow fighters to have Vaseline on their faces during bouts, although a referee has the discretion to instruct your corner to remove an excess deposit of the substance. Although you might be tempted to use as much Vaseline as you're able, doing so isn't without its risks. Your opponent's gloves can pick up moderate amounts of Vaseline and if your opponent hits you in the eye with a Vaseline-covered glove, the substance can negatively affect your vision and cause irritation.