If you keep up on skincare trends, you’ve probably heard about snail slime products before. More formally referred to as “snail mucin,” snail slime or snail mucus — whatever you want to call it — has been reported to help with all kinds of skin worries, from aging to acne. But what is it really?
Does snail mucus actually help alleviate your skin woes? And what really is it — actual snail slime harvested from actual snails? Or is it something else? Are there any potential side effects?
To help you determine if snail mucin skincare products are right for your skincare routine, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about this popular product, as well as recommending a few popular snail mucin solutions.
What is Snail Mucin?
First things first — what exactly is it? Before you can get to slathering South Korean-derived snail mucus-filled face creams, serums and masks all over your nose and cheeks, it would probably be nice to know what exactly the snail mucin is.
If you had your doubts on whether or not the slimy material actually came from real snails, the answer is yes — and the snail slime business is so big that there are actual snail farmers dedicated to the industry, according to an article from The Outline. The publication goes on to detail how exactly the snail slime, which is essentially just a mucus that the snail secretes as it goes about its daily life, is harvested.
Apparently, snail farmers work with a lab to harvest the slime. Labs put the snails into a “special machine” that encourages slime production. From there, farmers take the snails back to the farm to “regenerate” and recoup from the process that farmers are careful to say doesn’t actually harm the snails. Still, the so-called regeneration process takes about two months before they’re back up to producing more slime again.
Some labs say they put the snails in a dark room over a mesh screen and harvest the slime from beneath them; others use chemical processes. Most are, again, adamant that the process does not harm the snails, though PETA warns that the snail farming process, in general, can severely stress and agitate the animals.
Whatever your take on the industry, if you’re worried about the sustainability of snail farming and how it impacts the snails, you’ll want to do your research on the individual manufacturer of any particular beauty product you might be questioning, as there are quite a few methods of snail mucin extraction.
What Does Snail Mucus Do for Your Skin?
So why is using snail mucus (however it’s harvested) all the rage? Snail mucin actually contains a lot of the elements that you might already be incorporating into your skincare routine, such as glycolic acid, peptides, antioxidants and enzymes. The result is a product that helps to repair skin cells, whatever kind of skin worries you’re dealing with.
The antimicrobial properties help to prevent acne without stripping your skin of moisture, like some other acne products do. All those skin-repairing properties help to reduce skin redness, the appearance of acne scars and other damage. The acids in snail mucin also help to reduce wrinkle appearance and size.
Dr. Anna Chacon, a board-certified dermatologist with My Psoriasis Team, chimed in on the topic. “Using snail mucus as a topical treatment is nothing new. Its uses date back to Ancient Greece when crushed snails were used to treat inflammatory conditions.” She also adds that there are no particular side effects that she is aware of, other than unique allergies and skin sensitivity.
But does it really work?
A lot of skincare products claim to offer anti-aging, skin-repairing and other properties. However, some just don’t live up to their promises. So, does snail mucus actually work? Luckily, that’s a question that a lot of skincare experts have asked, and they’ve put snail mucus products to the test, so you don’t have to.
According to one writer at Everyday Health, her sensitive, oily skin responded well to a snail mucin serum. She had no side effects and enjoyed softer, more balanced skin, with fewer breakouts, less sebum production and the need for fewer skincare products overall.
A TeenVogue writer reported much the same, saying that, after using a snail mucin essence, their skin had never been better and was more visibly hydrated and blemish-free.
How to Use Snail Mucin
Are you ready to give this supposed miracle skincare product a try? Here’s how.
Snail mucin products are typically suitable for all skin types, though those with dry skin may notice the hydrating benefits more so than someone with oily skin. It’s also pretty safe for sensitive skin that breaks out easily.
Snail mucin usually comes as a serum or essence and is combined with other skin-benefitting ingredients, such as acids, retinol, Vitamin C and nutrients. Most of these serums and essences can be used at least once per day.
Are there any side effects to using snail mucin?
Since snail mucin is a relatively new product, there’s not much known about any side effects, at least not any long-term ones. In general, it’s considered safe to use. However, that said, if you’re combining your snail mucin with any dermatologist-prescribed treatment, you may want to check with them before adding a new product to your regimen (and not just a snail mucin product, but any product). Additionally, if you know that you’re particularly sensitive to just about every skincare product out there, do yourself a favor and apply a test patch of a new product to your arm first, before slathering it all over your face.
Best Snail Mucin Products
Ready to get shopping? Here are some of the best skincare products that contain snail mucin.
This moisturizing cream from SeoulCeuticals is praised by users with all kinds of skin ailments, from acne to eczema, wrinkles to redness.
While some snail mucin products only contain a small amount of snail mucin, with the rest of the product taken up by other beneficial ingredients, or even filler, this particular cream contains nearly 98% snail mucin extract. Other ingredients include shea butter, aloe, jojoba oil and Vitamin E.
Mizon’s snail slime skin repair cream also boasts a high concentration of snail mucin extra, up to 92%. It’s also not a heavy moisturizer, making it more ideal for those with oily or combination skin.
Benefits include firming and tone correcting for hyperpigmentation. Raving reviewers say it also helps with cystic acne and dark spots.
If you’d prefer a cleanser to a cream, and if you’re shopping for skincare on a budget, you might want to try Mizon’s cleanser versus the brand’s repair cream.
Users report the cream thoroughly cleanses skin without stripping it of its natural moisture, but it still manages to clear away acne. Even though you get a lot of cleanser for the price, users also say that the cleanser goes a long way, making your new snail-based skincare routine even more affordable and budget-friendly.
Related: Why is Retinol Serum So Popular?
This Power Essence from Cosrx is one of the most popular snail mucin-based skincare products out there. Primarily geared at those looking to fight signs of aging or overly large pores, the snail mucin is combined with panthenol for better skin-repairing action and hydration.
If you’ve never used an essence before, it’s a relatively easy product to add into your skincare routine. Just use it following your toner and then, afterward, apply your favorite moisturizer or another serum.
Luminositie anti-aging cream and moisturizer earns rave reviews for its wrinkle-fighting properties and extreme moisture. The brand says the product can help increase skin’s elastin production while protecting your skin from further damage, such as damage caused by free radicals and UV light, while also encouraging moisture retention.
If you’ve tried a lot of skincare products out there, maybe even some snail slime-based products, and you haven’t quite found the perfect fit for your face just yet, and you’re ready to drop some big bucks on a potential solution, you might want to try this option from Biopelle.
You get ten tiny, single doses of serum in one box, and one purchase provides you with a quick hit of extreme benefits for the fastest results possible. Sure, the serum might be more than $100, compared to the normal serum cost of around $20, but you get what you pay for. In fact, the repairing ingredients in this serum are so strong that some even use the serum to speed along the healing process following skin procedures.
YEOUTH moisturizer combines the power of snail slime with the powers of hyaluronic acid, green tea and peptides. Altogether, the result is a moisturizer that helps your skin to retain hydration, produce more elastin and repair damage caused by free radicals.
But what if you prefer to get all of your skincare benefits from face masks? In that case, you may want to try these snail jelly face masks that come in an affordable 10-pack for $25. Just remove the sheet mask from its packaging, adhere it to your face, sit back and relax. In 10 minutes, you’ll be able to see the snail slime benefits in action.
Reviewers report intense hydration, lessened fine lines and brighter complexions. Some even take the formula from the mask and use it on their necks and chests for benefits beyond the face.
This Benton essence combines two highly touted Korean skincare ingredients — snail mucin and bee venom. Yes, bee venom.
You already know what the snail mucin can do, so what’s the deal with the bee venom? Bee venom can help boost blood circulation in your face, which in turn helps to fill out fine lines, reducing the size and appearance of wrinkles. So, combined with the snail mucin, the bee venom helps round out (quite literally) a full anti-aging solution.
Snail Mucin Benefits Without the Snail
So you love the idea of reaping all of those snail mucin skin benefits, but you don’t care for the whole harvesting snail mucin thing, or you just don’t like the idea of putting an animal’s secretions all over your pores. Whatever the reason, if you want similar benefits without the snail, you can find them with a few copycats.
Cosrx makes a balancing essence without snail mucin, the brand’s Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence. Similar to the snail mucin variant, this essence also helps to enhance your complexion and hydrate while fading discoloration. It’s also reportedly lighter and more breathable than snail mucin products (in case you tried the snail mucin essence and found it a little too slimy and thick for your liking). The primary ingredient is galactomyces, a type of nutrient-dense yeast that’s made from fermented sake.
Another potential alternative is Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Concentrate. While it is pricey, the benefits are noticeable, with the peptide-based formula reducing discoloration and wrinkles. Other ingredients include Vitamins C and E, as well as green tea.
Is Snail Mucin Your New Best Beauty Find?
Ready to see the benefits of snail mucin for yourself? If you could use a little hydration action, as well as some skin repairing solutions, you might just find snail mucin is the answer to your skincare prayers. And, if you can’t stand the thought of putting snail goop on your face, you can always lean on one of the other options that mimic the same results.
You might also be interested in: Does Vegan Collagen Really Work? 7 Supplements For Healthy, Radiant Skin
Our Favorite Snail Mucin Picks:
- SeoulCeuticals Korean Skin Care Snail Repair Cream
- Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream
- Mizon Snail Foam Cleanser
- Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
- Luminositie Snail Essence Renewal
- Biopelle Tensage Intensive Anti-Aging Skin Serum 40
- YEOUTH Day Night Moisturizer
- SEKDERM Snail Jelly Face Mask
- Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence