Let’s Face Ingredients: Snail on the FacePosted on 22/10/2019
[By Biscuits & Makeup] Monday, 21 October 2019
We’ve been trained to associate snails with something disgusting, slimy and not an ingredient you think would improve the health of your skin. As of the last few years, snail mucin is more frequently appearing in Korean Skincare and its popularity as a core ingredient has been climbing up the ranks. It’s one of the best skincare ingredients for so many reasons!
These are not your ordinary snails that you commonly come across in your back yard.
“These are natural, contained snails that excrete a substance from their bodies that is collected and then purified to a clean and non-sticky form either as an essence or a lightweight liquid called snail mucin or snail secretion filtrate.”
This substance can be utilised by so many means of beauty, such as beauty treatments, cosmetics facial masks and now in Korean skincare products – and we can only imagine this is just the beginning. This article is going to convince you why snail mucin or snail essence is a must have for everyone, even if you’re not a fan of snails. So, let’s face ingredients: Snail Mucin.
Let’s answer your questions you’re itching to get answers for about “snail” on your face!
What is snail mucin? It sounds disgusting!
We can assure you, the name does not do justice for the various skincare benefits that lie in the molecules of snail mucin. When undisturbed, snails excrete a thin slime (similar to mucus) and leave a silvery trail as they travel across a surface. This slime acts as a protective covering against different harmful substances that lie on the surface the snail touches. Not only does it create a coating on surfaces, it also helps to fend off the sun’s UV rays and prevents the snail’s body from drying out.
How was snail mucin discovered and applied to skincare?
It all started with Doctor Rafael Abad Iglesias, a Spanish oncologist in the 1960s. He used common snails as a form of radiation therapy for killing cancer cells. Coincidently, he noticed the snails excreted a slime that had helped them quickly heal injured areas of their skin. This fascinated him and he began to apply to the snail slime on humans, thus discovering the huge potential of snail slime to restore the health of the human skin.
Over time, other scientists began to build on the research of snail slime on human skin and found miraculous benefits that came out of the purified form of snail mucin. This core ingredient was then paired with other skincare heroes such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid and various other components to extend and push the limits of snail mucin.
Since 2011, the Korean market reaped the benefits of snail mucin; applying this ingredient to various beauty therapies, treatments as well as products to allow Koreans to indulge in healthy, plump skin. To this present day, snail mucin is an ingredient most people find to be a blessing in a slime.
What benefits can snail mucin offer?
Glad you asked! Doctor Rafael Abad Iglesias saw the huge potential and advantages that snail mucin had on the skin; and so do we! Snail mucin already contains natural proteins, hyaluronic acid and glycoproteins. However, snail mucin also consists of a complex mix of:
- antioxidants (vitamins A, E and C),
- glycoprotein enzymes,
- hyaluronic acid,
- copper peptides,
- antimicrobial peptides, and
- metal ions
These vastly contribute to the improvement of the skin’s health. Hence, snail mucin offers the following skincare benefits:
- Due to the components found in snail mucin, it can heal the skin and coincides with majorly improving the appearance of the lesions or scarring. It can also help reduce damage to the skin, including that from the sun’s UV rays.
- It also has hydrating components (such as hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans) that help hydrate the stratum corneum (i.e. outermost layer of the skin). The level of effectiveness in maintaining that moisture in the skin is dependent on the concentration of the product and its viscosity. (Due to the adherent nature of snail mucin, it stays on the skin better than most other products even if it has a low viscosity.)
- After a few uses, it can make your skin smoother, more radiant and plumper.
- Snail mucin is known as the elixir of youth when it comes to skincare. It is nicknamed this term because it has the ability to exfoliate dead skin cells, smooth out fine lines and fade dark spots. It also promotes new cell and collagen regeneration. This is especially beneficial for those with acne or textured, problematic skin.
- Over time, it improves your skin’s outer barrier in addition to providing anti-aging and anti-flammatory properties.
How is snail mucin produced? Is it collected in a humane and ethical way?
Unlike other common skincare products, where it is plant-based or man-made (created in a laboratory), snail mucin is collected from a living creature. With the increasing popularity of snail mucin skincare, more snail mucin needs to be produced to meet the demands of the consumer. This may lead to cosmetic companies being unethical in their endeavour in extracting the snail’s slime.
Unfortunately there have been previous cases of companies using unethical practices; forcing snails to secrete the mucin and killing these innocent creatures in the process, or after. However currently, many skincare companies (including COSRX) use a very humane way of collecting snail mucin without hurting the snails. In this present time, we have a humane, cruelty-free and safe way of collecting snail mucin.
There is a mesh that is placed down in a surface that has micro-textures that collect the substance. The snails roam freely along this mesh, in a dark room. The mesh is not sharp nor harmful to the snails. They are fed and live a normal life. These mesh pieces are collected and the snail mucin is then extracted to be made into a product. There are a large population of farms that allow the safe production of snail mucin to happen.
Is snail mucin hygienic and safe to use?
Different companies collect snail mucin from two different kinds of snails. Some mucin products use slime extracted from the Cornu Aspersum which is also known as the little grey snail or the garden snail. Most South Korean Skincare companies, however, collect the snail mucin from Achatina Fulica, or also known as the giant African snail.
Rest assured, before snail mucin is used in any skincare product it is first filtered and then purified into a final product, suitable for use. It is completely safe to use and perfectly hygienic. The snail mucin collection process is very thorough and goes through countless tests before it’s ready to use in skincare.
What is the effectiveness of snail mucin on the skin?
Using products that contain snail mucin, it obviously depends on the concentrations and what the products is predominantly targeting. If snail mucin is the core ingredient, you can expect instant results. After applying the product onto your skin, you’ll notice the product has partially improved the hydration levels of your skin. Your skin also feels instantly softer from the first use.
After a few weeks or months, your skin consistently feels smoother, softer and plumper. It is able to hold on its own. You’ll find that you have less breakouts (not including hormonal) and have less textured skin. You’ll develop that “glass-like” glowy skin that everyone dreams of. If you have acne scars, it takes a little bit more patience for you to notice lightening of the dark pigmentation or spots however it’ll definitely do the job. If you combine snail mucin with Vitamin C, the process will be even quicker!
At Let’s Face It, we’ve already jumped on the snail band wagon! We have some amazing brands that utilise snail essence or snail mucin in their products. Some of our Korean Skincare Snail Mucin products that are cult-favourites and are the most effective products in the market (as of date) include:
- COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
- MISSHA Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream
- BENTON Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream
- BENTON Snail Bee Ultimate Serum
- IUNIK Black Snail Restore Serum
Snail mucin is a unique skincare ingredient. Whilst strange, its various benefits for the skin and visible results give it a reputable name; especially within the Korean beauty market. We highly recommend trying it out for yourself and snail’ing that smooth, dewy glow 😉.
If you have any more questions for us to answer about snail mucin, definitely send us a DM on our Instagram or post a comment below!
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