If you are skeptical about applying a slimy ingredient to your face, let me tell you, you aren't alone. With its overnight rise to frame, thanks to loyalists on social media, snail mucin is one ingredient that has proven its worth and is here to stay. But before you believe all the claims concerning its use, let's understand what it truly is and whether there is any scientific evidence behind the claims made on its behalf.
Snail mucin contains proteins that help with hydration, lubrication, and other functions.
Snail mucin filtrate can improve skin roughness, brightness, elasticity, and pigmentation.
Different formulations of snail mucin can be used based on individual needs and preferences.
There is limited research on snail mucin filtrate's long-term benefits or limitations; however, current evidence is promising, and most individuals will tolerate it well.
What is snail mucin?
Mucins are proteins that animals secrete for hydration, adhesion, lubrication, and other functions. Snails specifically produce mucins in their mucous for a wide range of functions such as microbial protection, adhesion, and lubrication. See a snail crawl slowly along a surface; you'll understand what I'm talking about.
How is snail mucin obtained?
The first thought that comes to mind is the possibility of hurting or killing the snails to extract the mucin, but that is not entirely true. One of the most common ways for commercial mucin production is the extraction and isolation from snails placed in a dark room, which promotes greater mucin production. However, this might only produce substantial yields if a lot of animals can be used for this purpose and the debate of whether invasive methods for extraction are being used is still a matter of discussion.
Snail mucin in skincare
A randomized clinical trial studied the effect of snail mucin extract on 50 women for three months and found greater improvement in skin roughness, skin brightness, elasticity, and mottled pigmentation compared to those treated with a placebo.
Another study found that snail mucin improved skin hydration and helped restore the skin barrier after a session of ablative fractional carbon dioxide laser resurfacing treatment. While these studies seem promising, one must remember that many variables are considered, and not all studies conducted are equal.
Since snail mucin filtrate contains antioxidants and hydrating compounds, it can benefit those with dry skin types. There is no known side effect to applying topical snail mucin products, and there is no reason why you shouldn't try it out for yourself. However, if you have sensitive skin, perform a patch test and consult your doctor before trying any new product.
Which is the best snail mucin formulation?
All formulations have snail mucin extract or filtrate as the prime ingredient. Choosing the one that best suits your needs is a matter of personal preference.
- Serum. Has a great consistency and will contain a relatively more significant concentration of the snail mucin.
- Essence. More watery and light in texture. It is excellent for those with oily or sensitive skin types looking to lock moisture into the skin.
- Cream. Thicker in consistency and will be ideal for those with dry skin. Depending on the product, it may contain other active ingredients that may help address other specific skin concerns.
Snail mucin in your routine: Do this for optimal results
Applying a product containing snail mucin will only work well if you pair it with the right ingredients. Here is a small checklist to keep in mind to maximize the benefits of using snail mucin in your skincare routine.
- Cleanse. Cleanse your face well to remove any makeup or impurities that the skin may have accumulated throughout the day.
- Moisturize. The step after cleansing is crucial. You can either keep your face moist after the cleanse or spray a hydrating face mist to keep the skin moist.
- Apply the mucin. Apply the product containing snail mucin, gently dabbing it over damp skin.
- Let it dry. Continue with any other products once the skin dries.
Snail mucin can be used on all skin types and is well tolerated by most individuals.
Snail mucin for other conditions
If you wonder if snail mucin's benefits are limited only to skincare, think again. Snail mucin has been used in wound healing agents, surgical glues, and to combat gastric ulcers.
Did you know that snail mucus can help wound healing and has become an important resource in wound research? A study showed the ability of mucins extracted from garden snails to regenerate and heal the skin after acute radiodermatitis, a common side effect of radiotherapy. Garden snail mucus is reportedly high in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and reduce inflammation.
There is also some early research that suggests that snail mucin can help combat melanoma cells and could potentially help treat skin cancer.
Although there is limited research on the long-term benefits or limitations of using snail mucin filtrate, current evidence supports its role in moisturization, skin healing, and regeneration. In general, snail mucin can be used on all skin types, and unless you're allergic to the ingredient or vegan, this slimy ingredient can be safely used by most.
- Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Radiation dermatitis: clinical presentation, pathophysiology, and treatment 2006.
- The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. Efficacy and Safety of a New Cosmeceutical Regimen Based on the Combination of Snail Secretion Filtrate and Snail Egg Extract to Improve Signs of Skin Aging.
- Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology. Advancing Discovery of Snail Mucins Function and Application.
- Skin pharmacology and physiology. Snail Soothing and Repairing Cream Improves Skin Hydration after Ablative Fractional CO2 Laser: A Split-Face Randomized Double-Blinded Placebo-Controlled Trial.
- Veterinary sciences. Protective Effect of Snail Secretion Filtrate in an Experimental Model of Excisional Wounds in Mice.