Have you ever imagined that those mollusks served with herb butter and chardonnay would help you turn back the aging clock? Well, it’s not exactly the creatures themselves – it’s the slime they secrete that truly matters. Snail slime beauty products are all the rage now. Before you turn away in disgust, it’s important that you know more about why they’re so craved:
1. Snail slime (or its cosmetic name, snail filtrate) is packed with nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein, proteoglycans, and antimicrobial and copper peptides, all of which are commonly used in beauty products and proven to be beneficial for the skin. These elements help to protect the snail’s skin from damage, infection, dryness and UV rays.
2. Snail slime contains 91-98% water. The slime is filtered multiple times to increase its concentration and ensure its purity. Some snail slime products claim to contain as much as 97% snail secretion filtrate. However, the consistency and quality of the snail mucus should also be taken into account when looking for a good product.
3. Cosmetic snail slime is normally harvested from lab-grown common garden snails or Cornu Aspersum (previously Helix Aspersa), which is considered an agricultural pest.
4. Snail mucin is best known for its anti-aging properties. It helps to stimulate the formation of collagen and elastin, protect skin from free radicals, soothe skin, repair damaged tissues and restore hydration. It can be used to treat dry skin, wrinkles and stretch marks, acne and rosacea, age spots, burns, scars, razor bumps and even flat warts.
5. Snail secretion filtrate is widely used in Korean beauty products such as serums, facial masks, moisturizers and fading creams. Most products are actually not as oozy and gooey as you may think. Most of them have a neutral look, smell and texture.
6. Snail spas are quite popular in Thailand, and have reached major beauty-conscious Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. During the spa session, living snails are put on the client’s face and left to slither around.
Image: Yoshikazu Tsuno/ AFP/ Getty Images
7. DIY snail spas or snail slime products are not encouraged. Remember, snails used at a responsible spa center or in beauty products are professionally grown and the snail slime is professionally purified, while those in your backyard garden are not.
8. This video in French shows how snail slime is harvested in a snail farm in Chile:
9. The use of snail slime for beauty dates back to ancient Greece, where famous physician Hippocrates reportedly prescribed crushed snails and sour milk to cure inflammation. The use of snail creams started recently when Chilean farmers who handled snails for the French market noticed their skin was visibly smoother.
10. It is recommended that you begin with a small amount of snail slime product on a specific area of the skin to check for allergies. Snail slime is, after all, something that your skin may not have encountered. You’re also advised to continue using the product for at least two weeks to realize its full benefits.