You’ve probably seen snail mucin since you were old enough to say “snail.” It’s the slimy trail snails leave behind them as they travel from Point A to Point B, going about their happy snail lives.
Snail mucin, also called snail secretion filtrate, helps them move around, hang upside down when the need presents itself, and protects them from germs. This gooey concoction is rich in hyaluronic acid, glycoproteins and other nutrients that, when used in skincare products, can help keep skin glowing.
Is snail mucin good for the skin? Yes. Is it approved by the FDA? No. But neither are a bunch of other ingredients that aren’t harmful, and we love using. While many people sing the accolades of snail mucin, scientific studies on its actual efficacy are still pretty limited.
People with allergies to shellfish or snails should use caution when deciding whether to use products containing this ingredient.
Here’s a guide that hopefully demystifies snail mucin in skin care products.
What Does Snail Mucin Do?
Although snail mucin seems to be a buzzy skincare ingredient of the moment, it’s really nothing new. The Ancient Greeks and Romans recognized snails had healing properties and used their mucin to treat skin ailments, wounds and inflammation. Physicians during the Renaissance Era prescribed snail mucin-based remedies for certain skin conditions, burns and scars.
According to The Associated Press, in the 1980s, workers on a Chilean snail farm that was breeding snails as exports to food markets noticed how unusually soft their hands felt and that minor cuts were healing quickly without leaving scars. Today, snail mucin is part of the K-beauty trend and has become a relatively common ingredient found in many skincare brands.
So, what’s in snail mucin that makes it so great?
For starters, it contains hyaluronic acid to help improve the hydration of your skin. It has glycoprotein proteins that help repair and regenerate skin cells, promoting faster healing, while peptides support collagen and elastin production, leading to firmer, more youthful-looking skin. Its antioxidants protect your skin from environmental damage and premature aging as the proteins and vitamins, including vitamins A and C, help nourish and revitalize the skin, promoting a healthier complexion. Snail mucin also has allantoin, making it effective in calming irritation and redness.
How Is Snail Mucin Collected?
The first thing I did before buying a product with snail mucin was to find out whether snails are killed or hurt for their mucin. I was relieved to know most aren’t, but I haven’t found an organization that factually checks brand claims.
There are different ways to collect snail mucin. Some are friendlier than others. Snails are typically bred and raised in controlled environments called snail farms. Most of them aren’t in the U.S., and most of those breed snails as a delicacy.
But the ones that breed them for mucin give snails optimal conditions for them to thrive, including the perfect temperature, humidity and food. To collect snail mucin, the snails are stimulated, like with a gentle massage or mild electric currents, which encourages snails to naturally produce and release their mucin. Then, their mucin is collected from special surfaces as they move and groove across them for about 30 minutes. Snail mucin is filtered and purified to maintain its purity and effectiveness for use in skin care products.
5 Best Snail Mucin Products
There are many brands offering snail mucin skin care products, but these brands have some of the best reviews for quality snail mucin products and prioritize ethical and sustainable practices when sourcing their snail mucin.
1. Cosrx Snail Mucin
Probably the most popular brand for snail mucin, Cosrx is a South Korean skincare brand. It has won the Elle Editors’ Choice Award in 2023.
The Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is like a multivitamin for your skin. It has 96% snail mucin to nourish, repair, and plump with moisture. I’ve been using the products for about a month, and while I haven’t seen a dramatic difference yet, my skin is smooth like velvet. Cosrx has a plethora of info through their website.
How To Use Cosrx Snail Mucin
After cleaning your face and using a toner (if you do), apply a small amount to your hands and pat the product onto your face, using your fingertips to aid absorption. It absorbs really quickly. Then, follow up with a moisturizer. You can use it both in the morning and at night. The brand recommends using all of the product within 12 months after it’s opened.
2. Peach Slices Snail Rescue Intensive Serum
The Peach Slices Snail Rescue Intensive Serum is made with 95% snail mucin and pine bark extract that gives you a concentrated dose to even out your skin tone while brightening and boosting hydration. The clean, cruelty-free formula is Leaping Bunny certified.
3. Seoul Ceuticals Snail Repair Cream Moisturizer
With a higher concentration (97.5%) than other snail mucin creams, this advanced product delivers a brighter, more youthful complexion. Visible results are noticeable within days of regular use, according to the cruelty-free brand. And further says, “Snail mucin cream is ethically harvested in a cruelty-free environment. Our snails live and move about in an organic fashion just as they would in the wild.”
You can shop Seoul Ceuticals products at Amazon and through their website.
4. TonyMoly 24K Snail Hydrating Serum Mist
TonyMoly has a complete line of products with snail mucin. The 24K Snail mist has over 90% snail secretions to deliver hydration and nourishment to your skin. This cruelty-free formula helps hydrate and plump, improve your skin’s texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while the Colloidal Gold delivers oxygen to damaged cells, which helps speed up the healing process.
5. Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream
This potent repairing and hydrating cream features a star ingredient: 70% snail mucin extract. This cruelty-free, gel-cream moisturizer will help hydrate, brighten, and reduce signs of aging and skin damage. The deep-sea water and baobab tree extract work together to ensure long-lasting moisture retention.
With any beauty product, do your own research and read reviews to find the right one for your skin type.
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