Why Snails Are A Popular Skincare Ingredient
There are always new rumors going around about what makeup and skincare products are made of.
Well then, it might be a classic case of “the boy who cried wolf” syndrome when you hear that snail mucin is working its way into many skincare products.
It might not sound pleasant, desirable, or even believable at first but it’s true, snail mucin is now being harvested and used in skincare products for a variety of purposes.
Incorporating this by product from our garden-dwelling friends may actually have many multipurpose benefits for your skin, and it’s not as scary as it sounds!
Read on for the slow and steady tale of how snail mucin worked its way into the skincare industry.
Is it what it sounds like?
In short, yes!
Snail mucin, or snail secretion filtrate, is the snail “slime” that you often see trailing behind them.
Snails produce this clear substance naturally to lubricate their soft bodies and allow them to glide across surfaces without being injured.
After their shell, it’s their best line of defense for protecting their bodies as it also protects them from harmful bacteria.
The discovery of snail mucin’s abilities were first found by accident!
Snail mucin was first discovered to have benefits for your skin after Chilean snail farmers noticed that their hands were soft and smooth after handling the snails all day.
One rumor that we haven’t been able to crack is that the secret of the snail supposedly dates back hundreds of years.
Rumor has it that ancient Romans let snails crawl across their face for its anti-aging properties.
In any case, snail mucin has made its way back to skincare in a much more refined way.
How is it sourced?
Clearly, snail mucin is not vegan, it comes straight from our little slimy friends.
Because this is a topical product, most brands only use escargot-worthy snails, meaning they are safe to eat!
The most popular snail species are the Roman snail, the garden snail or petit-gris (Helix aspersa), or the giant African snail (Achatina fulica).
Extraction methods vary from product to product.
In the past, snail mucin couldn’t be harvested without killing the snails.
Today, there are other methods to extract mucin in great quantities without harming them.
One of the most popular methods is the “net method”.
This is when nocturnal snails are placed on a mesh net in a warm, dark room.
They’re left to go about their business and glide across the net at their own pace.
Then, the snails are removed and the mucin that was caught in the mesh net can be harvested.
Another company in Italy created a special “steam bath” method that encourages snails to produce more mucin.
After the mucin is collected, it is processed to properly stabilize the product for cosmetic use.
What is it good for?
Just check out any skincare forum to hear all the glowing reviews for this unsuspecting skincare ingredient.
The main components of snail mucin are ingredients you’ve probably seen listed in many store-bought products.
If you read the composition of snail mucin without knowing what it was, you might think it really is a man-made product!
All in all, snail mucin is said to contain proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, antimicrobial peptides hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, zinc, iron, and copper peptides.
Hyaluronic and glycolic acids are foundational for many products and can be used on almost any skin type for many purposes from hydration, to acne fighting.
There are at least 70 enzymes that rely on zinc to perform, so getting a product that has traces of zinc can turn out to have whole-body benefits.
Given its unique and seemingly perfect formula for skincare, here are some of its purported benefits:
Lock in moisture:
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it grabs onto moisture and holds it so the skin can absorb it. The hyaluronic acid found in snail trails support’s your skin’s natural barrier to help keep your face hydrated.
Boost collagen production:
Glycolic acid works to stimulate collagen production in your skin to keep it looking plump, healthy, and young!
Retain your glow:
Copper peptides can accelerate tanning and work hand in hand with glycolic acid to gently exfoliate your skin, leaving you with a bright, refreshed, and healthy glow.
Fight wrinkles away:
Snail mucin is a common anti-aging ingredient as it helps to diminish fine lines and wrinkles through its collagen boosting abilities. It also encourages the production of more elastin to keep the skin firm and tight! One preliminary study found an improvement in fine lines after applying snail mucin every day for 8 weeks.
Rid your skin of acne:
The acids found in snail mucin are great acne fighters! They rid the skin of excess oil without stripping it. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease the size and redness of your acne.
Fading acne scars and pigmentation:
Yep, the list goes on! The glycolic acid found in snail mucin gently exfoliates your skin to get rid of damaged skin cells and clear the way for healthy ones. Its collagen boosting capabilities also work to heal acne scars. There are many products on the market that use snail mucin specifically to even skin tone and combat hyperpigmentation.
Before you try snail mucin for your skin, remember to test it out on a small portion before you commit. While there aren’t any confirmed side effects of using snail mucin, you may be allergic, so always check!
What your product looks and feels like depends on the formula.
Snail mucin can be used in creams as a moisturizer, as a cleanser, toner, or serum.
One hundred percent snail mucin is rarely ever found because not surprisingly, it feels slimy!
Others feel like a thin gel that dries quickly.
Many people love their snail mucin products and swear by them.
Still, they recognize that every skincare routine isn’t complete with just one product.
Some products supplement the mucin with other popular skincare ingredients.
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