Snail Slime for Skin: An Emerging Trend for Beauty

The science behind snail slime for the skin

Credits: Lifeforge at
Tammy Wu
Edited By:
Raja Sivamani , MD, MS, AP

Ever thought about slathering snail slime on your face? Snail mucus extract from the Helix aspersa Müller or Cryptomphalus aspersa has been found to be a popular ingredient used in many skin care products such as creams, toners, sheet masks, and even shampoo. The usage of snail extracts for the skin started a couple of centuries ago, and the study on the benefits of snail secretions started in 1980 when Chilean snail breeders noticed some healing properties when handling the snails. In the past few years there has been a rising trend in Asia, especially in South Korea, where many products are found to have snail slime extract as the main ingredient.

You may find it gross or weird to find such ingredients in your skin care product, but the mucus of the snail actually contains many beneficial ingredients for our skin such as antioxidantsantibiotic compoundsallantoin, collagen, elastin, and various vitamins including A, D, and E. Not only do these ingredients provide nutrients for your skin, but they are natural too! Snail extracts help to not only heal and soothe the skin, but they also have anti-aging and whitening properties which help with acne facial mottled discoloration.

There has been some clinical testing of the snail slime in people. A clinical test was done to test for the snail slime extract’s effectiveness on facial open burns and wounds. The application of a cream, containing snail slime extract, two times a day resulted in faster restoration, moisture control, and pain alleviation of the skin. Research in skin cells showed that snail extracts can trigger the skin’s cells to divide, an effect that may account for some of the slime’s ability to heal wounds.

Snail slime also appears to have anti-aging effects. As we age, our skin loses elasticity. UV rays from the sun damage our skin, which speeds up the aging process leading to wrinkles, dryness, roughness, loss of elasticity, and discoloration of the skin. One study with snail slime improved skin texture, moisture, and tone after applying products containing snail extract twice daily to the face.

Curious about how the snail slime is put into the products we use? The snail slime comes from the snails in snail farms. There are various methods used to extract the snail slime. The snails are typically first rinsed or placed in warm water and then they are agitated to secrete slime by rocking or spinning them. In some cases, the slime is physically collected as an extract from each snail. The slime, being mostly water based is then filtered for the final product.

Even with the current hype and some science behind snail mucus extract, it will be good to see more research about how snail extracts work and how well they can get into the skin.

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