When I think of snails, the first things that come to mind are garlic herb butter, baguettes, and Chardonnay, and the next is the slime. You know, the stuff the snails leave a trail of in their wake. The same stuff that’s been a K-beauty skin-care staple for several years and has now even made its way to the big-box stores. I’ll put escargots in my face any chance I get, so as a woman of the world, why on earth haven’t I smeared their slime on my face yet?
After all, incorporating snails in skin care is nothing new. Back around 400 B.C. in ancient Greece,Hippocrates reportedly prescribed crushed snail shells in an ointment to treat inflammation, notes a paper published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The idea was reborn in the ’80s, the Associated Pressreported, when workers on a Chilean snail farm began observing their hands were softer and plumper hands after handling the gooey creatures. As with the eureka moment described byChatelainein 2016regarding red grapes and anti-aging at French vineyards,the seeds of a beauty trend were planted.
“Historically many societies, especially ancient ones and more recently France, have used live snails as anti-aging 'devices,” says Gregory Bays Brown, MD, a plastic surgeon in New York City and the founder of theRéViveskin-care line.
Today's skin-care companies are hot on the trail. In the early 2000s snail mucin, also known as snail oil, snail serum, snail filtrate, snail slime, or just “the slime,” began popping up in Korean beauty products, and as that market began to expand globally, it started picking up a following in the West. For the uninitiated: Yes, snail mucin is the actual mucus snails secrete to protect themselves from cuts and scrapes as they slither through the world. Apparently, the gross factor hasn’t kept beauty lovers at bay.
K-beauty brands like Cosrx, Missha, and Mizon sell wildly popular sheet masks, creams, and bottles of straight-up slime that tout miraculous benefits, from smoothing fine lines and wrinkles to reducing the appearance of acne scarring and hyperpigmentation to giving you that supple, dewy glow that has become the bar for skin-care influencers, coveted by every beauty fan with a pulse.
Snail farming in Italy has increased 325 percent in the last two decades, largely due to cosmetic demands, theGuardian reported in February 2017. What’s the mix in snail trails that makes it a veritable fountain of youth? “Snail mucin is packed with nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial and copper peptides, and proteoglycans,” says the New York City–based aesthetician Charlotte Cho, thecofounder of the K-beauty blog Soko Glam. “The hyaluronic acid helps in the anti-aging process as it hydrates the skin, and antimicrobial peptides have been known to help reduce acne and treat hyperpigmentation,” says Cho, whose New York City brick-and-mortar pop up, Soko House, opened recently to legions of snail slime devotees lining up around the block to snag the stuff in real life.
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Many K-beauty lovers and millennials are doing the same, and why wouldn’t they? The slime itself and the top slime-containing products are fairly cheap (TheSuper Aqua Cell Renew Hydro-Gel Mask will set you back $9, and Mizon’s All-In-One Snail Repair Creamis about $19).
But even though the wonder goo is accessible to the masses, the Park Avenue elite hasn’t turned up its nose at it. For example, the New York City plastic surgeon MatthewSchulman, MD, has created a buzz and snagged press attention with his $375 “EscarGlow Facial,” which injects snail mucin directly into your pores via microneedling.
And while high-end brands with steep price tags don’t seem to count the slime as a core ingredient, and understandably so, because it’s readily available on the cheap, they haven’t discounted the mollusk altogether. Instead, they’ve opted for a pricier bit of snail juice, cone snail venom, which is a toxin so potent that it disables fishes swimming near it and rivals the anti-aging effects of Botox, according to an article published in November 2018 in StatPearls.(And if you’ve got around $600 to spend on a single product, you can find it in the coveted Intensité Line Erasing Serum by RéVive.)
Plus, because mucin is an animal growth factor that just needs a touch of pasteurization to be application-ready, per a study published in in February 2019 in theJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, it’s clean, sustainable, and supposedly a miracle worker.
Refinery29, a beloved source for millennials looking to stave off wrinkles, hails snail mucin as a cure for acne scarring. While that seems like a stretch, I’d for sure blow $20 on a bottle of slime on the possibility before shelling out a couple grand on lasers, especially with no downtime or side effects to consider. Drew Barrymore and Katie Holmes are fans, notes The Hollywood Reporter.
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And because I’m not a vegan, I really have no excuse to be a couple of years late to this trend. My mucus of choice was, of course, what K-beauty lovers consider the holy grail: the Corsx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, which is 96 percent pure mucin. Because it was sold out on Soko Glam (which happens often due to demand), the lovely Cathy in the company’s NYC office sent me over a bottle she had stashed, and I got to work. (For those of you who must have it pronto, you can find it from third-party sellers online.) Here’s how things went down.
What My Skin Was Like Before Snail Mucin
What appealed to me most about the idea of slapping snail mucus all over my face and neck — aside from staying true to my inner beauty warrior, and the fact that I’m getting paid to — was the hydration potential.
Even though I’m a product junkie, I really can’t use too many or my skin freaks out. I have sensitive, temperamental skin that likes to punish me for every misstep.
Eat a pint of ice cream? It’s not my waistline that’s unforgiving. it’s my face (hello, cystic acne breakout). Too lazy to exfoliate? Here come the comedones (small, flesh-colored bumps on the forehead or chin).
In the height of summer, my face can look primed for a skillet, and when I try to balance the sebum with even a slightly alkaline product, it will start flaking and cracking by the next day. (FYI: Sebum is an oil that when overproduced contributes to acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.)
My skin doesn’t let me get away with much, and because of that, I shamefully admit that I don’t double-cleanse or let any oil touch my face. Even oil-free moisturizer in the summer can be too greasy, but without something, my face is dehydrated yet also greasy.
A light hyaluronic acid serum is usually my best bet. But the good ones can be pricey and a crapshoot, too, because heftier HA molecules are often too large to penetrate the skin.
Cho says the naturally occurring hyaluronic acid in the slime has a small molecular weight, making it absorbable, and along with the other smorgasbord of good-for-your-skin stuff, it’s supposed to make your skin feel soft and supple, sealing in moisture safely and being suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone skin that congests easily. I’m sold.
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Me and Snail Mucin: Our First Meeting
Cho, who enjoys mini-celebrity from her K-beauty expertise, says you should apply mucin wherever you would use an essence, a type of product common in K-beauty and increasingly popular in the West, as fans of the Japanese skin-care line SK-II will attest.
So after cleansing and toning and applying my vitamin C serum, I was armed and ready. Inside the bottle, the snail mucin looks like a slightly goopy, clear serum and seems that way when you first pump a nickel-size portion into your hand. But as soon as you dab your fingers in to apply, there’s no mistaking it: This is an animal’s mucus, folks.
The consistency is liquid enough to drip off my fingers but viscous enough to take its time landing. Think thinned-out egg whites or chia seed sludge. There’s nothing luxurious going on here, which was a bit of a setback for me.
I imagined it would harden on my face or leave some sort of chalky film, but after working it in for a few seconds longer than your average serum, to my surprise the slime soaked in quite nicely. Not that I’d have time to do this moving forward, but the first time, I waited around a bit before the next step in my routine, which would be moisturizer, and behold: Ten minutes later, my face felt so soft, that I skipped the moisturizer altogether and went right to sunscreen instead. Things were off to a great start.
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Me and Snail Mucin: A Match That Doesn’t Get Boring
I’m not going to lie, in the next week or so, I felt like I’d struck liquid gold. With no side effects whatsoever besides instant softness, I was slathering the stuff all over my hands, chest, and neck. And I started skipping my moisturizer a lot more regularly and feeling okay about it.
That said, because I have oily, sensitive skin that doesn’t like being over- or under-handled, I typically skip moisturizer a lot in the summer, especially under makeup. All those layers in the heat seem to hasten the formation of an oil slick on my face. But skipping moisturizer can also add up to dehydrated yet shiny skin, and that’s even worse.
The slime was serving double duty for me, and what's better than a skin-care multitasker?I also started using it at night after my Retin-A Micro, which I amp up to a .06 percent in summer months for rapid-fire sloughing, while carefully treading the line between overly sebaceous and parched and cracking. (The things we do for cell turnover.)
But I started noticing fewer side effects, less dryness and flaking, less tautness below the corners of my mouth, allowing me to handle the Retin-A Micro every night instead of every other, as recommended by dermatologists. I considered buying stock in an Italian snail farm. Was this my cheap and cheerful secret to dewy skin?
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Me and Snail Mucin: How Serious Is Serious?
I was coming up on a month of sheer bliss — waking up to softer, smoother skin, fewer breakouts, less summer sebum production, a streamlined morning routine (aka more sleep), and a ton of savings on considerably pricier moisturizer — and things seemed too good to be true. I mean, seriously. There has to be a catch, I thought.I did some digging to make sure no snails were harmed in the process, and all accounts seemed to confirm that.
PETA disapproves of using snail mucinon the grounds that keeping the snails in captivity is cruel. Yet most reports, such as one from Reuters, say these snails are fed only delicious, organic food and pampered as if they’re at a five-star resort — because stress-free snails produce higher-quality mucus.
I decided it was time for a deeper background check and looked for the research. But studies are limited. According to a small study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 25 women who used a serum containing 40 percent snail mucin for 12 weeks noticed fewer fine lines and wrinkles, even two weeks after they stopped using the product. But according to a March 2018 article in The Ringer, that study was funded by a French pharmaceutical company calledBiopelle, which also happens to sell slime-laden products. Back to the drawing board.
According Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City — who has lectured on this topic before at the American Academy of Dermatology — there’s no downside, but we need more data before we know whether the ingredient is better than a good ol’ jar of Olay. “Snail slime has been shown to have antioxidant properties, as well as the ability to stimulate collagen production and enhance wound healing,” says Dr.Zeichner.
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There are some caveats, though: Theconsistency is far from cosmetically appealing, but with all the benefits, I could get past that.
Then I had a rude awakening.
I went away for a week, and the first thing I packed was my slime, of course. Several days later, I started breaking out, and that wasn’t all — my skin was looking greasier and muddier.
Was it the change of water, altitude, hormones? I racked my brain until it hit me. I was too attached to my snail mucin to leave it at home, but what I had forgotten was my Retin-A Micro. Exfoliation is the skeleton key to great skin, after all.
Plus, as a skin-care lover in the United States, it’s hard not to know that if there’s one thing doctors and most aestheticians agree on, it’s that topical retinoids and retinols are the closest thing to a skin-care miracle worker out there, from keeping acne at bay to reversing fine lines to building collagen and truly transforming skin.
Was it the slime making my skin gorgeous this last month? Or was the secret to my glow part and parcel of my unfaltering commitment to the slime, which increased regular hydration and in turn allowed me to increase my Retin-A usage for maximum benefits?
The jury is still out, but either way, I’m not breaking up with my snail mucin just yet. At least not until something better comes along.
How long does snail mucin take to work on acne scars? ›
Cosrx snail mucin is non comedogenic and has soothing and healing properties which helps calm redness, prevent new breakouts and also fade pigmentation, acne scarring, dark spots and marks. It does calm skin irritations and redness in 2-3 days.How often should you use snail mucin on face? ›
Generally speaking, you can use snail mucin once or twice per day. Works Well With: It's often combined with antioxidants and retinol, as well as common skincare staples such as vitamin C, glycolic acid, and other moisturizing ingredients.Does snail slime lighten skin? ›
This multi-tasking cream hydrates, brightens hyperpigmentation, diminishes fine lines and wrinkles and even helps to heal blemishes. Plus, it's a K-beauty favorite so you know it's good.Is snail slime good for your face? ›
As a natural source of collagen, snail slime (or snail mucin or) is extremely effective on stretch marks and wrinkles. It also promotes the healing of skin lesions like burns or acne.How long does it take to see results from snail mucin? ›
According to a small study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 25 women who used a serum containing 40 percent snail mucin for 12 weeks noticed fewer fine lines and wrinkles, even two weeks after they stopped using the product.How long does snail serum take to work? ›
Snail slime contains very little or no oil. The effect takes 2-4 weeks. Snail has the ability to kill bacteria that causes acne in your skin. Your skin will remain clear if you use it consistently.What are the side effects of snail mucin? ›
Snail mucin is well tolerated and there are no negative side effects to note.Does snail mucin tighten skin? ›
All in all, snail mucin is known for hydrating, repairing skin damage, fighting blemishes, even skin tone, fading acne scars or pigmentation, firm and tighten the skin, and boost elastin and collagen production to slow the signs of ageing to a snail's pace.Does snail mucin fade dark spots? ›
Glycolic acid, an AHA present in snail mucin, has been shown to help unclog pores, improve skin texture, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, boost collagen production, and fade dark spots (aka hyperpigmentation).Can snails make your skin look younger? ›
The glycolic acid in snail mucin helps your body produce collagen and elastin, which even out skin tone and smooth its surface. Studies have shown that snail essence creams can improve eye wrinkles and skin texture just after 12 weeks.
Does snail slime remove acne scars? ›
Allantoin repairs and regenerates
It is here that allantoin, one of the key active ingredients in snail slime, plays a major role. It repairs the damage caused by acne – and in particular improves the appearance of scars that it tends to leave behind – by simulating the renewal of skin cells.
Snail filtrate—Korea's most popular skincare ingredient—contains collagen and peptides which effectively reduces wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness around your eyes. For best results, apply a small amount of the cream around the orbital area—patting gently with the pads of your ring fingers until absorbed.Can you get sick from snail slime? ›
People can be infected when they deliberately or accidentally eat a raw snail or slug that contains the lung worm larvae or if they eat unwashed lettuce or other raw leafy vegetables that have been contaminated by the slime of infected snails or slugs.Does snail slime cause acne? ›
Some of these ingredients are also used for building collagen in the skin (essential for repair, regeneration and plump skin). It's also worth mentioning that snail mucin doesn't clog pores and shouldn't cause breakouts.Does snail mucin darken skin? ›
Snail mucin is an absolute star ingredient for fading acne scars and hyperpigmentation. It's also super hydrating, which is important for your skin barrier. This product is definitely one of the biggest credits to brightening my skin and fading hyperpigmentation.Does snail mucin actually work? ›
“It really works,” says Dr. Peterson. “Because it contains allantoin, hyaluronic acid, and glycolic acid—which all have beneficial effects on aging skin—it is a very exciting new addition to the cosmetic space.” Here are the top reasons snail mucin isn't just a beauty trend; it's a skin care staple.How many pumps of snail mucin should I use? ›
Use it once or twice a day on clean skin, applying after any thinner layers and before any thicker layers like serum or cream. Use one to two pumps if applying on face only, three or four pumps if applying to face, neck, and upper chest.Should I moisturize after snail mucin? ›
“Put it on after your active products, like a vitamin C serum, and before your moisturizer,” Ingleton says. “Mucin is heavier and gives a sticky application, so it is perfect to hold and lock in that hydration from serums and moisturizer,” Ford adds.What is the effect of snail slime on skin? ›
To improve your skin, rub slime from garden snails on your face. The beauty industry claims snail mucin (ie slime) has moisturising and collagen-boosting properties – model Emily Ratajkowski is said to be a fan. The jury's out on the actual science, but some users on TikTok have been getting it direct from the source.What are the benefits of snail serum on face? ›
The claimed benefits of snail extract range from fixing sunspots to smoothing out creases and wrinkles and even halting acne, supposedly due to the mucus' ability in promoting the production of elastin and collagen in users' skin.
Is snail mucin anti-aging? ›
4 Snail Mucin Benefits
1. Antiaging properties: Snail mucin contains glycolic acid, a chemical exfoliant that speeds skin-cell turnover and promotes collagen production, reducing the appearance of fine lines.
No, snail mucin and hyaluronic acid are not the same. Snail mucin is the secretion that comes from snails. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance produced by the human body. However, snail mucin does contain hyaluronic acid which helps in moisturizing the skin.Does snail mucin shrink pores? ›
PROS: it's delicate; effective (smoothes and evens skin texture, hydrates, regulates sebum, shrinks pores);Does snail mucin go on wet skin? ›
Trust me, it works the best when your face is damp. If you apply after your skin has dried out, you'll feel like it's just sitting over your face. ALWAYS DAMP! Applying skincare on damp skin also ensures better penetration and that your skin faces less water loss.How long does snail mucin purge last? ›
This active ingredient quickens the cell turnover rate, therefore making hidden pimples waiting underneath the skin's surface pop out faster than it normally would. Skin purging reactions can last up to a maximum of one month.Does snail mucin remove blackheads? ›
The daily use of cream with snail slime or snail mucus has more than beneficial on the disappearance of blackheads (in addition to help in the reduction of several major skin problems like acne, scars, etc…)Do snails hurt your skin? ›
Step into the water to bathe or wash your clothes, and those larvae can penetrate your skin by degrading its proteins. They won't leave a wound. But they will leave you with a terrible illness called bilharzia or schistosomiasis.
Snail slime is naturally composed of Allantoin, Collagen, Elastin, Glycolic Acid, Vitamins A and C and Antibiotic Peptides. These active ingredients moisturize, firm the skin and fight against imperfections and skin aging.Does snail mucin help Eyebags? ›
"It also contains anti-microbial properties to ward off bacteria." Its status as a hydration hero, then, is what makes snail mucin so effective for treating under-eye bags.Does snail mucus help scars? ›
Snail mucin has some amazing regenerating properties that are truly effective regarding scars! When applied on a daily basis, it is capable of diminishing and even making scars disappear : accidental wounds and scars.
What are the dangers of snail? ›
Freshwater snails carry a parasitic disease called schistosomiasis, which infects nearly 250 million people, mostly in Asia, Africa and South America. “It's one of the world's most deadly parasites,” says Susanne Sokolow, a disease ecologist at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station.What is snail poisoning? ›
What is metaldehyde poisoning? Poisoning occurs when pets eat metaldehyde-containing slug/snail bait off the ground or from the storage container. Dogs, cats, birds, and other wildlife can all be affected by metaldehyde. Metaldehyde may cause signs of poisoning even when very small amounts are ingested.Does snail slime expire? ›
Slime extract is produced in liquid form, a preservative of citric acid is used, therefore the slime has a shelf life of around 18 months out of the fridge and it doesn't encounter rapid degenerative processes.What are the bad reviews of snail mucin? ›
The Bad: It can cause whiteheads and feel a bit heavy
The Snail Mucin Essence is not so much of an anti-acne product as it is an anti-inflammatory hydrator. In fact, it can cause white heads if you use too much too often, or if it doesn't suit your skin, because it's really sticky.
Prolonged scrubbing with soap had no effect on the slug slime on her hands. No kidding -- the stuff was stuck tight. I had to go in there with a dry washcloth, physically pick it off her skin, then scrub around each finger and nail with witch hazel/tea tree oil cleansing pads, then go at her with a nail brush.Does snail mucin cause hair growth? ›
“The anti-inflammatory benefits in snail slime filtrate can help to soothe and nourish the scalp, promoting healthy hair growth.”Does snail mucin fade acne scars? ›
As you can see, snail mucin is helpful in every stage of acne development – from prevention and treatment to fading the hyperpigmented spots or scars that acne leaves behind. Snail mucin is a very gentle active with no known side effects when mixed with other ingredients.Does snail mucin remove acne scars? ›
It is here that allantoin, one of the key active ingredients in snail slime, plays a major role. It repairs the damage caused by acne – and in particular improves the appearance of scars that it tends to leave behind – by simulating the renewal of skin cells.Does snail mucin help pitted acne scars? ›
Snail mucin is known for hydrating, repairing skin damage, fighting blemishes, even skin tone, fading acne scars or pigmentation, firm and tighten the skin, and boost elastin and collagen production to slow the signs of ageing to a snail's pace.How long does it take to clear acne scars? ›
Advanced acne scars can take six months or more to fade, while mild to moderate scars may only require four to six weeks to heal. The type of treatment used to minimize your scars will affect your overall results, so be sure to consult with expert dermatologists, such as our team.
What fades acne scars? ›
"Microneedling, which uses tiny needles to stimulate your skin's healing process, works incredibly well to reduce indentation scarring and make your skin look smoother." Lastly, for discoloration scarring, a skin-brightening product containing 4% hydroquinone typically offers the best results.Does snail gel remove dark spots? ›
Celltone Snail Extract Gel 50ml assists with reducing the appearance of dark spots, stretch marks and facial wrinkles.Does snail mucin brighten dark spots? ›
Thanks to its exfoliating properties, snail mucin can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, scars, and even skin tone.How do I get rid of pitted scars on my face? ›
“Chemical peels, micro-needling radiofrequency and intradermal radiofrequency, fractional minimally ablative CO2 laser and dermal fillers are some of the recommended treatments for long-term reduction of acne scars,” she adds.How do you flatten pitted scars? ›
- Chemical peels. Chemical peels are a common treatment method. ...
- Fillers. Soft-tissue fillers are a common treatment specifically for rolling atrophic acne scars. ...
- Skin needling. ...
- Punch excision. ...
How long does it take for hyperpigmentation to fade? Once what's causing the dark spots or patches is found and stopped, fading can take time. A spot that is a few shades darker than your natural skin color will usually fade within 6 to 12 months. If the color lies deep in your skin, however, fading can take years.How do you make acne scars fade faster? ›
- Home skin care. Using sunscreen can help limit the contrast between unscarred skin and a scar. ...
- Soft tissue fillers. ...
- Steroid injection. ...
- Laser resurfacing. ...
- Other energy-based procedures. ...
- Dermabrasion. ...
- Chemical peel. ...
- Skin needling.
- Larger cysts and pustules crust over. Acne cysts are deep, pus filled bumps that are very noticeable. ...
- Nodules retreat. ...
- Reduction in 'redness' ...
- Fewer new spots appearing. ...
- Less severe spots/cysts. ...
- Skin appears less oily. ...
- Reduction in blackheads/whiteheads.