For many people, snails and skincare are two things that do not seem to go hand in hand. But snails—and more specifically the slimy trail they leave behind called snail mucin—have long been used by many cultures to improve the skin.
Immunocologie’s Karen Ballou says she came across snail mucin when studying different cultural skin-repair ingredients. “What I found is it has been used in the Asian cultures for centuries and is packed with nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial and copper peptides, and proteoglycans, which are all very good for skin rejuvenation and repair and natural collagen stimulation,” she says “In studying ingredients for skin repair, snail mucin made sense given the nature of my formulations, which are made with the most effective, clean, naturally sourced ingredients that will repair and transform the skin.”
According to Carolyn Wehner, director of marketing for Biopelle, scientists observed that the Cryptomphalus aspersa snail produces a secretion called SCA that protects and repairs its own skin from burns and injury in under 48 hours. “This amazing healing power was first shown to be clinically effective on humans with cases of radiation dermatitis following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, whereby the burn victims experienced rapid recovery with the Cryptomphalus aspersa snail secretion,” she says. “This finding led scientists to harness the restorative properties of the snail secretion for anti-aging skincare benefits through SCA Biorepair Technology, found exclusively in Biopelle Tensage skincare products.”
Snail Mucin: Safe and Effective for Humans
For many, the thought of snails and skin immediately generates a rather unpalatable vision of slimy snails plopped on one’s face in the ultimate bizarre spa service. But snail mucin in skincare is rather scientific when it comes to extraction and formulation. Wehner says SCA, for example, is refined to pharmacological standards as a pure, contamination-free, biologically active fluid.
Plus, the benefits just can’t be beat. “Snail mucin is effective, because it is an all-in-one ingredient that provides nutrients, offers anti-inflammatory properties, and is an antioxidant,” says Ballou. “It stimulates collagen production for cell regeneration, and it repairs the skin’s barrier, or microbiome, function while protecting it from outside environmental elements. Most importantly, it regenerates cells for younger-looking skin while offering soothing properties that help with inflammation.”
Snail Mucin: Safe for Snails
Those who prioritize cruelty-free skincare products need not eschew snail mucin products. In fact, several brands harvest the ingredient ethically and humanely. Ballou says the snails used to formulate products for Immunocologie, Helix pomatia, are farmed, not caught in the wild, and are kept in comfortable, stress-free environments so that they produce healthy secretions. “They roam over a mess net, and when left alone, they leave behind a trail of mucin,” she says. “For snails to produce the best mucin, they should be well rested and comfortable.”
Biopelle’s snails are equally pampered. According to Wehner, they live in a snail sanctuary in the northern coast of Spain where they feed on a diet of lettuce and carrots. A non-harmful, patented process stimulates the excretion process, after which it is refined and purified.
The combination of clean, cruelty free, and effective results have made snail mucin skincare products a no brainer for more and more consumers, not just the K-beauty afficionados who have made it a wildly popular ingredient in that realm. After all, as Ballou says, snail mucin “simply creates beautifully renewed, rejuvenated, glowing skin.”
Ready to give snail mucin a spin? Check out the following products: