If you are into K-beauty, you must have heard about the very popular snail mucin.
Snail mucin, or snail slime, is a staple in Korean skin care and is said to be super hydrating, anti-aging, and soothing. Not only that, it has been used by Greek beauties over the centuries to curb dry skin and premature aging1!
However, with the rising popularity, it does raise some concerns, especially if it is cruelty-free.
If you are trying to figure out if it’s effective, or how it can improve your skin, you have come to the right spot my friend. Let’s get started!
What Is Snail Mucin?
First things first, let’s have a glance at what snail mucin is.
It is basically snail secretion or a trail of slime left behind when a snail crawls. It protects the snail from its surroundings and also helps to move around more easily while sticking firmly to the ground.
If you are wondering who came up with the idea of using snail slime on their skin, it dates back to the 1900s when Chilean workers on a snail farm likened the extra softness of their hands to these garden friends2.
Snail mucin or snail secretion filtrate (SSF) is one of the most common ingredients used in skincare products due to its hydrating, healing, and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Scroll down to learn all about the ingredients of this magical elixir.
Ingredients Of Snail Mucin?
Hyaluronic acid is known for its hydrating properties and is a popular ingredient in skin care products. Glycolic acid not only stimulates collagen but also effectively removes dead skin cells. And when zinc is involved, you know it’s amazing for the skin (antimicrobial, hydrating, and soothing).
How Is It Sourced?
Snail mucin is sourced via snails, so any chances of it being vegan go down the drain.
They have snails walk over glass or mesh nets in dark rooms, and then the slime is extracted through those surfaces. The snails are usually kept in green farms, to avoid contamination of the mucin collected. This process does not hurt or harm the snails5.
This is as cruelty-free as it gets and much better than the earlier practice of killing snails.
Are Snails Killed For Snail Mucin?
Not anymore. The way the snail mucin is extracted now does not hurt or harm the snails and is considered ethical.
Benefits Of Snail Mucin According To Dermatologists & Current Research
The effectiveness of snail mucin can be gauged by these benefits, which are backed by dermatologists and current research.
Deep Skin Hydration
Snail mucin is full of hyaluronic acid, which means that it helps protect the skin barrier and keeps the moisture locked in. Though it is suitable for all skin types, people with dry skin can really benefit from it6.
Hyaluronic acid has been known to hydrate, plump, and rejuvenate the skin while reducing fine wrinkles.
Boosts Collagen Production
Since snail mucin is rich in protein and collagen-boosting agents such as glycolic acid and copper peptides, it helps increase collagen and elastin7. Both these proteins are great for maintaining skin health and elasticity.
Acne and Acne scars
Snail mucin has anti-inflammatory properties and can help you manage your acne.
When you incorporate snail mucin in your skincare routine, it helps to protect the skin against infections (think of it as a protective barrier for the skin). The exfoliative glycolic acid also helps fade the acne scars.
A study shows that the anti-bacterial properties of snail mucin fight against acne-causing bacteria.
However, since snail mucin is a relatively new skincare ingredient, more research is needed to support it8.
Many studies show that snail mucin can help improve wound healing and soothe the skin. Hence, it is a great ingredient for people with rosacea, sensitive skin, sunburn, or inflammatory skin conditions9,10.
The garden snail’s mucin has been researched to facilitate wound healing in people with radiodermatitis, which usually happens after radiotherapy11.
Sun Damage & Photo Aging
Snail mucin may help reduce skin damage and improve the overall health of the skin. According to this research, snail mucin improved the appearance of fine lines and minor creases over the span of 3 months12.
Fights Premature Aging
This clinical study shows that using snail mucin improves barrier function, rough patches, skin elasticity, and firmness all the while reducing transepidermal water loss.
While more research is needed to confirm this, snail mucin is a popular anti-aging ingredient in Korean skincare13.
Scientists are researching the anti-tumor properties of snail mucin. This study shows that snail mucin reduces melanin and tyrosinase activity, and might have a role in reducing the metastasis (spread) of melanoma (a serious skin cancer)14,15.
As this is in the primal phase (in a petri dish16), snail mucin should not be thought of as a treatment option for melanoma.
Does Snail Mucin Help Rosacea?
Yes, snail mucin can help manage rosacea17,18, which is characterized by redness, flushing, tiny red bumps (that are often confused with acne), inflammation, and visible blood vessels on the face. It may also occur on the scalp, neck, chest, and ears.
Being an inflammatory disorder, rosacea is a chronic skin condition that can be easily triggered by various stimuli such as stress, sunlight, hairspray, environmental triggers, alcohol, and others.
How Is Snail Mucin Good For Rosacea?
If you have rosacea-prone skin, you might be wondering if using snail mucin can help your skin.
Since snail mucin is hydrating, healing, and anti-inflammatory, it can alleviate your symptoms of rosacea. Rosacea tends to also dry out the skin and cause irritation.
Using snail mucin for rosacea will soothe and moisturize the skin, boost the skin barrier, and reduce redness and inflammation.
However, since the research on snail mucin and rosacea is limited, it is best to consult your healthcare provider before using it for symptoms caused by rosacea.
Is Snail Mucin Good For Sunburn?
Yes, snail mucin is great for sunburn.
Snail mucin helps reduce sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and redness.
Due to its restorative properties, using snail mucin can soothe (thanks to allantoin) as well as repair the skin (thanks to glycoproteins)19.
Is Snail Mucin Good For Stretch Marks?
Yes! As you know by now, snail mucin promotes wound healing and skin restoration.
Hence, it is a great skincare ingredient to put on your stretch marks. It will moisturize the skin, gently exfoliate the dead skin cells, and boost collagen, which will improve the appearance of stretch marks.
Potential Side Effects
Though snail mucin is generally considered safe to use for all skin types, here are some potential side effects that you should keep in mind:
- Allergic reaction: Some individuals might be allergic to snail mucin. Whether you have a known allergy to mollusks or not, it is always a good idea to perform an elbow patch test before using any product, to rule out any hypersensitivity.
- Insufficient scientific research: Since snail mucin is a relatively new ingredient, it has limited research to support it.
- Acne exacerbation: Though it has antimicrobial properties, a few people who are prone to breakouts have reported that using snail mucin worsened their acne associated with rosacea flare-ups.
How To Include Snail Mucin In Your Skincare Routine?
When you think of snail mucin, you are bound to think of COSRX snail mucin products, which are taking the world by storm.
Snail mucin products such as essences, serums, sheet masks, and creams layer perfectly and can be a great addition to your morning or evening skincare routines, according to your skin issues and concerns.
- Start with a cleansed face and toned face. If you are looking for ultimate hydration, you can use a snail mucin serum or cream.
- Snail mucin essence, one of the most popular snail mucin products, absorbs easily into the skin while sealing the goodness of your toner. Remember to use your products from lightest to heaviest and in the right order to reap the most benefits.
- Use a snail mucin serum to fight signs of aging and heal your skin. Finish with a good moisturizer.
- You can use snail mucin as a protective buffer before using actives such as tretinoin etc. Some individuals love to use the sandwich technique (snail mucin- tretinoin – snail mucin).
- Once a week, pamper your skin with a snail mucin sheet mask to keep your skin hydrated, plump, and loved.
- It is better to use snail mucin on damp skin for maximum penetration and benefits.
Who Should Avoid Snail Mucin?
- If you have a known allergy to snails or mollusks, you should definitely avoid snail mucin.
- If you have extra sensitive skin, it is best to perform a patch test before applying snail mucin on your face, to avoid any allergic reaction (redness, swelling, inflammation).
- If you practice the vegan lifestyle, you can choose alternatives such as Cica (Centella Asiatica) for soothing any skin irritation while deeply hydrating it.
Is Snail Mucin Safe For Pregnancy?
Yes, snail mucin is safe for pregnancy.
However, since there is room for more research, it is best to consult your healthcare provider before incorporating it into your beauty routine.
Final Verdict: Should You Start Using Snail Mucin?
Snail mucin is a hydrating, healing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging skincare product with its popularity on the rise. From adding intensive hydration to repairing wounds and acne scars to healing sunburns to reducing irritation and rosacea symptoms, snail mucin can work wonders for your skin.
Though there is limited scientific research about its benefits, most users rave about snail mucin products (available as essence, serum, ampoule, cream, and sheet mask).
However, it is best to consult your healthcare professional before you start using a product containing snail mucin.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.
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