During my childhood, my sisters and I would gather around the backyard and collect snails to my mother’s disapproval. She would constantly berate our fascination for these slimy bugs, telling us that they’re “disgusting” and would lead to skin infections and n blindness (where my mother got her scientific education from, I have no clue). Fast forward to the present, and snails are not only proven to be totally safe—they actually have quite a few health benefit. Not only are snails a great, low-fat addition to your diet, but they can help your skin, too.
How? The secret is in the slime—or snail mucin, to be exact.
What Is Snail Mucin?
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Snail mucin—more commonly referred to as “snail slime”—is essentially the secretion a snail creates in order to move around. This thick goo is also known for its bountiful content of skin-nourishing compounds like antioxidants, hyaluronic, acid, and more, which is why it’s been used for centuries as a skincare essential.
“Snail mucin’s skin benefits comes from its glycoproteins, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and vitamins,” says Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu, cosmetic chemists behind Chemist Confessions. “These ingredients all individually have long documented skin benefits mostly in moisturization.”
Does Snail Mucin Really Work?
As with most skincare ingredients, there is no “yes” or “no” answer—it all really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe notes that, due to its high potency of hyaluronic acid, snail mucin can help lock in moisture. Dr. Rowe also says snail mucin can be a great additive for wound healing and combating wrinkles.
“There is no substitute for neuromodulators that prevent you from moving the muscle and creating those fine lines, however, these can definitely help to supplement and extend a more youthful look in conjunction with each other,” says Dr. Rowe.
The Chemist Confessions duo, on the other hand, is reluctant to say that snail mucin is an anti-aging wonder, due to lack of studies around the ingredient. “There are a few studies that show snail mucin works well with ingredients like honey to speed up wound healing process,” they explain. “As far as anti-aging benefits, the studies done are usually with fairly small sample sizes and in conjunction with ingredients that already have well established skin benefits. So, to sum up, snail mucin is a good hydrating ingredient, but any anti-aging claims are definitely a stretch.”
Is Snail Mucin Ethical?
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센스있는 사람들의 에센스 '스네일비 하이콘텐트 에센스' 벤튼이 말해주는 스킨케어의 정답! 올인원 기능성 멀티케어! 화학성분에 민감한 피부 칙칙하고 기미가 있는 피부 피부 건조와 유수분 불균형으로 고생하는 피부 피부고민/좁쌀/흔적에 의해 색소 침착이 된 피부 ↓ ↓ 달팽이 점액과 봉독으로 시너지를 극대화 했습니다! 미백과 주름개선이 되는 2중 기능성 제품 입니다! #벤튼 #벤튼화장품 #benton #bentoncosmetic #kbeauty #화장품 #천연화장품 #스네일비하이콘텐츠에센스 #SNAILBEEHIGHCONTENTESSENC #에센스 #달팽이점액 #스네일비 #봉독 #피부진정 #피부고민 #좁쌀여드름 #여드름 #색소침착 #스트레스 #민감성화장품 #저자극 #약산성 #피부트러블 #촉촉피부 #뷰티스타그램 #내피부 #애기피부 #겨울피부관리 #겨울철피부관리 #환절기피부관리
One of the downsides to animal-derived ingredients is that many of them are not cruelty-free. While there are some spas that allow you to let the snails crawl directly across your face, you’d have to travel all the way to Thailand to get that type of treatment. So, many of us opt for snail mucin-infused skin creams and serums to use in the inexpensive comfort of our own homes.
As an investigative report by Racked showed, many brands like to stay mum on the specifics of their extraction process, making us wonder what these poor snails are going through in the name of beauty. But, according to an in-depth piece from CNN’s Great Big Story, the snail mucin extraction process has actually come a long way.
Decades ago, the snail mucin process involved killing the snails. Now, many cosmetic labs and companies are using other alternatives to harvest snail mucin without causing harm. Some tactics include steam baths, which act as a pleasing stimulant for the snails; or simply leaving them in a dark room and allowing them to slither across a mesh lining.
Overall, Dr. Row recommends doing your research on a brand before making a purchase. ”You should always know where your natural products are coming from and the quality of the slime,” he says. “There are different snail farms and manufactures for these products.”
Plus, our vegan friends won’t have to miss out on the benefits of snail slime. Since snail mucin naturally contains a variety of skincare ingredients that nam be man-made or derived from plant sources, there are many synthetic snail slime formulas that can be found online.
If you want to give your skin a hydrating treatment, give these snail mucin-infused products a try.
Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule
This best-selling ampoule is one of the richest snail-infused formulas you’ll find on the market. Crafted with 80% snail filtrate, along with an added boost of hyaluronic acid, your complexion will see plumper and fuller days almost instantly.
Missha Super Aqua Snail Sleeping Mask
Is your skin lacking in luster? Bring back its dewy glow with this snail slime-infused overnight mask. Catch up on your beauty sleep while you give your pores an intense boost of hydration so you can wake up with fresh and radiant skin.
Volition Beauty Helix AM/PM Eye Gel
Your undereyes are one of the most fragile areas of your skin, which is why they need some extra TLC. Enter: this snail slime eye gel. It’s fast-absorbing, leaves a cooling feel on your skin, and eases puffiness and dryness.
SMD Cosmetics Saromae Snail Secretion Cream
Containing a whopping concentration 64% snail mucin extract, this face cream is perfect for anyone with extremely dry skin. Its lightweight feel won’t leave any greasiness or oily residue on your skin, and it contains licorice root to give your skin a bright luminance.
Peach & Lily Wish Formula – I’m Pro Ampoule Pad
On the go? Give your complexion a quick treatment while you await your commute with these single-use pads. They may be tiny, but they’re jam-packed with macadamia oil, snail mucin, and soothing honey extract to give your skin a spa-fresh feel in seconds.
TONYMOLY Timeless Ferment Snail Cleansing Gel
If your cleanser tends to leave your skin tight and dry, then switch to a more quenching cleanser like this one from K-Beauty favorite TONYMOLY. It’s fortified with 10,000 mg of fermented snail mucus to cleanse your pores of any impurities while leaving it soft and fully moisturized.
Benton Snail Bee High Content Skin
The power of a good toner is heavily underrated. Toners are basically your last line of cleansing defense, but many of them can leave your skin begging for moisture. This toner gets rid of any pesky gunk in your skin while swapping alcohol with your favorite snail derivative to give some added hydration.
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
If your skin is in desperate need for an added step of hydration, a good essence is a great place to start. This option is an impressive 96% snail mucin extract, so you know you’ll be getting an intensive dose of hydration within just one use.