Snail slimed, that is.
In my exploration of the wonderful world of Korean skincare secrets, I’ve come across some very unusual ingredients, including bee venom, salmon eggs, donkey milk and pig collagen. So, I wasn’t terribly surprised to learn that snail slime is a common ingredient in many popular Korean beauty products.
Snail Slime, or “snail secretion filtrate” as it’s known in the beauty biz, is snail mucus that’s been sterilized and filtered. The slime is most often taken from the cornu aspersum species (also known as an ordinary garden snail) which are both ubiquitous and prolific mucus-producers, which adds to their attraction for product developers.
Contemporary Korean skincare researchers are not the first to use snail mucus for medicinal purposes. Apparently, the Ancient Greeks used it to treat stomach ulcers and certain African tribes have used it to treat burns.
Beauty experts claim snail secretion filtrate is a powerful, prophylactic weapon against damaging free radicals and premature aging. Naturally rich in proteins, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants collagen and elastin, products boasting the slime as a top ingredient promise to do everything from treat acne, repair sun damage and scars by promoting skin cell regeneration, and plump and thicken the skin by giving it the moisture and nourishment aging skin usually lacks*.
(*See more benefits below. Also, if you’re not already familiar with hyaluronic acid, the data to support it’s function in anti-aging products is well documented. Check out this NYT article from last year.)
What does this mean for you and me? According to Charlotte Cho, the founder of SokoGlam.com, “Snail mucin has been very popular in Korea because many have experienced softer, smoother, hydrated skin with less visible acne scarring with continued use of snail mucin products.”
I’ve decided to put the hype to the test. I’ve purchased the Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule and the All in One Snail Repair Cream, both by Mizon and available on Amazon for the fantastically-low price of $12 and $13 respectively. Let’s see if the juice is worth the squeeze! Stay tuned.
Want to learn more?
See this article on snail products from The Coveteur and this one published in British Vogue from November last year. For more product recommendations, check out Soko Glam and Peach and Lily.
*Additional benefits: Glycoprotein enzymes (which are also found in human respiratory and digestive tracts and have notable water-holding capacity), proteoglycans (which play an important role in the “filler” substance between cells) and antimicrobial peptides (which kill certain types of bacteria on the skin).