Snail Mucin: Everything You Need to Know About the Buzzy In…


If you’ve been on TikTok recently and your algorithm is anything like mine, chances are you’ve been served some beauty videos about snail mucin. While slimy mucus seems like the biggest skin care trend of the moment, you may be surprised to know that using snail secretions in beauty products isn’t a new phenomenon: Snail mucin has been used for decades in K-beauty for its rejuvenating properties. However, more products than ever before are being formulated with the collagen-boosting ingredient.

To get the scoop on all things snails, we spoke to dermatologist Nazanin Saedi, MD, FAA, and Santiago Larraín Allendes, the CEO of Caracol Natural Skincare, whose products are made with snail secretions. Dr. Saedi notes that while more research is definitely needed, there’s no doubt that snail mucin can offer you impressive skin benefits. “Snails have actually been used for hydration and healing for centuries,” she says.

Ahead, Dr. Asedi and Larraín Allendes share why you should add this slimy ingredient to your routine.

What is snail mucin?

If you’ve ever encountered a snail, chances are you know exactly what snail mucin is. “Snail mucin is the slimy substance that a snail releases to protect itself when it’s under stress,” says Dr. Saedi. As for what it feels like, Larraín Allendes says that it’s a “viscous liquid useful for skin care,” adding that snail mucin is rich in many key skin care ingredients such as allantoin, collagen, elastin, proteins, peptides, antioxidant enzymes, polyphenols, glycolic acid, vitamins, sugars, lactic acid, and more.

Are snails harmed for snail mucin?

No, snails are not harmed or killed in this process. Regarding the extraction process, Larraín Allendes says, “Today’s cruelty-free methods allow the snails to move on and live happily after harvesting.” Extraction methods will differ, but per K-beauty brand COSRX ’s research and development team, “Snails are placed over a mesh net in a dark and quiet room. As nocturnal creatures, this provides them with a comfortable space to freely roam about. After about an hour, the snails are transferred back to their homes while the mucin is collected and processed for use.” The net collects the mucin as they roam, and after the snails are safely back in their usual environment, the left-behind mucin is retrieved for use in products.

Larraín Allendes adds that in his own experience of collecting snail mucin, the snails actually “love the food used to prepare them for extraction–it hardens their shells and improves their healing mechanisms.”

What does snail mucin do for the skin?

Because it’s made up of so many beneficial ingredients, there’s a whole lot that snail mucin can do for skin. “Small studies have shown that it helps hydrate dry skin and strengthen the skin barrier, stimulates collagen production to improve the appearance of aging skin, and can also help with wound healing,” says Dr. Saedi.

Larraín Allendes refers to snail secretion as “skin food” since it helps rejuvenate the skin, citing the types of snail products on that market and their benefits, which include regeneration, hydration, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) prevention, and reduction of redness, stinging, dryness, and inflammation. “Snail mucin has protective properties and also contains ingredients that help repair and hydrate the skin,” he says.

Who should be using snail mucin on their skin?

“It is suitable for all skin types,” says Larraín Allendes. “As with other natural products, very few people are allergic to it.” He recommends that people who have had negative experiences with skin care in the past or who have a history of allergies in general should patch-test on their forearm before applying to the face. Dr. Saedi agrees that it can be a beneficial ingredient for all skin types but adds that it can be iffy for those with sensitive skinl, depending on the product, so always proceed with caution.

What’s the best way to use snail mucin for skin?

Dr. Saedi says to look for serums and moisturizers to “hydrate and repair your skin as you sleep.” She recommends Biopelle Tensage Intensive Serum 40, which “has growth factor benefits that help repair, protect, and hydrate the skin.” Results include an improvement in skin’s texture, fine lines, and wrinkles, plus a reduction in signs of photo damage. She says that a great time to incorporate snail mucin into your routine is “after a cosmetic laser procedure, since it hydrates the skin and will also help boost wound healing.”

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