Snail secretion filtrate has been the talk of the skincare industry for the past couple years.
But did you know it's actually been used as far back as Ancient Greece?
With so many miracle serums and "revolutionary" new ingredients on the market, it can feel like a full-time job just figuring out which ones actually work.
Even if you know a particular ingredient has benefits, how do you know which products actually use enough of it to make a difference?
We've decided to go in-depth on the science of snail secretion filtrate (also known as snail oil, snail cream, snail mucin, snail extract, snail mucus, snail slime, and other equally attractive names!) to see what effects it actually has on the skin and which products make the best use of it.
Grab a hot drink and get comfortable, because by the end of this article you're going to be an expert on snail mucin products yourself!
Let me explain:
What is Snail Secretion Filtrate?
First, let's start at the beginning for those readers who may not have even heard of snail slime's beauty and skin applications before (where have you been?!).
Put simply, it's the slime that snails secrete when they move around. If you've ever seen snail trails winding their way up your plant pots, you know the stuff we're talking about.
You probably haven't paid it any attention before, outside of maybe an "Ew!".
The use of snail extract for skincare actually dates all the way back to Ancient Greece, where Hippocrates (widely considered one of the most outstanding figures in medical history and arguably the founder of modern medicine) regularly prescribed crushed snails mixed with sour milk as a treatment for curing inflammation and soreness.
After Hippocrates, there is no further evidence of snail extract being used for the majority of the past 2,000 years, but it appears to have been discovered again in the last few decades.
One of the early revelations of this "rediscovery" was when Chilean snail farmers who were selling snails to the French market as food realised that their hands got visibly smoother from handling the snails.
News of this soon spread, and in modern Thailand "snail spa treatments" are a common sight, which involves snails being placed on the patient's face and allowed to slide around.
While that treatment definitely isn't for me, it shows the growing popularity of snail secretion and its uses for skincare.
Not long after Thailand, the popularity of snail serums in Korea and Japan exploded due to the popularity of beauty products and treatments in those countries, eventually spreading further to the world as a whole.
But what is snail secretion filtrate actually made up of?
Scientists who have tested the substance have stated that it is naturally rich in glycoprotein enzymes, hyaluronic acid, copper and antimicrobial peptides, proteoglycans and more.
These are all substances that are already common in lots of skincare and beauty products, and they are all highly prized for their effects on the skin.
This goes a long way towards explaining how snail mucus cream produced such beneficial effects for those Chilean farmers, but we will have to investigate a bit more deeply to see if snail mucin is truly better than already existing skin products.
First, let's take a look at how it's harvested:
Snail Slime Extraction Method
Snail mucin is mostly extracted from the common garden snail.
The world's biggest supplier of snail extract is Italy, where snail farming has experienced growth of over 325% in less than a year due to the growth in popularity of snail mucin-based cosmetic products.
Previously, farmers forced snails to secrete mucin by adding them to pots of salted water or chemicals.
Luckily, farmers soon learned that the quality of the slime extract depended directly on the health and habitation conditions of the snail, and cruelty-free methods quickly spread, with modern farming techniques involving a steam bath that is able to harvest the mucin from the snails without harming them at all, allowing them to grow it back naturally.
As you are likely aware, all of Luminositie's skincare products are 100% cruelty and animal testing free, so this was an important major step forward for us in the viability of snail extract.
Image Source: wikinoticia.com
What are the Benefits of Snail Mucin?
This is where things get to be a little bit more of a grey area because there are about as many claims of beneficial results from snail mucin out there as there are products containing it.
Some have some scientific backing, some definitely don't.
We will go a bit more in-depth with the studies that have been conducted into snail mucin soon, but first, let's take a look at the most common of those claims:
- Removal of sunspots
- Removal and prevention of acne
- Increased production of elastin and collagen
- Protection from UV light and free radicals
- Aiding repair of damaged skin
- Increase moisture retention
Now, snail extract cream has some serious benefits if all of those claims are true!
In fact, we'd go as far to say if they all go on to eventually be 100% scientifically inarguable, snail extract is somewhat of a miracle.
But how can such an unassuming substance have so many positive effects?
As mentioned previously, the mucus contains a range of active ingredients most likely evolved to protect the snail from environmental risks, bacteria, sun damage and more as they go about their day hunting down your prized cabbages.
After all, snails are a lot more vulnerable and delicate than we are and spend a lot of time in dirty, wild locations so they clearly needed to evolve some pretty advanced tricks in that area.
Let's take a look at some of those ingredients:
Elastin (an elastic protein that helps many body tissues repair and regain their shape after damage)
Antimicrobials (agents that kill microbes and can clean out pores and protect them from developing acne)
Peptides (including more antimicrobials)
Glycol Acid (a substance commonly used in skincare products and face peels to aid in removal of dead skin and moisturisation)
Antioxidants (which remove toxic substances, protect the cells from free radicals and more)
Now that's a powerful combination of skincare ingredients for a substance that's not only low-cost but completely natural and abundantly available without any animal cruelty!
Image Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
So now we're starting to get a picture of why snail serums became such a hot topic in the skincare industry, but what about the actual products?
Snail Secretion in Makeup and Skincare Products
These days, snail secretion is used in a huge variety of beauty and skincare products, both in Korea and all around the world.
Some form of snail extract is available in moisturising creams, anti-ageing serums, face masks, skin lightening creams and more.
You might be wondering if products containing snail slime feel slimy and sticky, but they actually tend to have a very mild and neutral texture, comparable to other face serums and creams. Snail masks, in particular, are among the smoothest of face masks.
Image Source: Luxury-Insider.com
On a product review/customer feedback basis, snail serum reviews do extremely well and the vast majority of customers say they experience a noticeable difference in their skin.
But that alone isn't proof that it's better than regular skin serums made from long-established man-made ingredients, so it's time to look at some actual clinical studies and see what they think.
Time for some science:
What Do Researchers Say?
Before we go into this, it has to be said that there has been nowhere near enough research into this topic yet.
If you want to be as careful and educated on the topic as possible, you might want to wait until there are more broad studies on the topic.
With that said, the studies that have already taken place have been overwhelmingly promising.
A study on snail mucin's effect on healing wounds in rats concluded that the slime has a positive effect "as it enhances the skin's natural regenerative response on the formation of new tissues".
Another academic journal by the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists found in 2017 that snail mucin has genuine antistaphylococcal (antibiotic) effects. They were also careful to note that the natural presence of glycolic acid allows snail mucin to "reduce the appearance of fine lines, irregular pigmentation, and age spots as well as decrease the size of enlarged pores".
In 2018, a study in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine not only confirmed snail and slug mucin's antimicrobial properties but asserted that further studies should be held into whether or not snail mucin can constitute a potential solution for the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria!
While more research is definitely needed, these studies are far from the only ones that have taken place, and so far the results are looking extremely positive.
That's some solid, academic backing for snail extract's antimicrobial, regenerative, and anti-aging properties, definitely not something to shake a stick at!
But then, if we're accepting that the mucus itself has benefits, how do we know which snail extract serums actually have enough snail mucus in them to make a difference?
Finding an Effective Snail Cream
First things first, we do not recommend trying to make your own DIY snail extract whatsoever, so go ahead and close that "how to extract snail slime at home" Google tab right now.
Commercially produced snail mucus comes from specially grown snails in a very specific and controlled environment.
Wild snails can carry all sorts of nasty infections, and you don't want to be messing around with that. The contents of snail mucus can also vary depending on environment and location, so you want to be sure you're getting the best.
Even among commercially available products, there are some differences in quality and composition you should be aware of.
Firstly you don't want to be wasting money on a product that is mostly a regular face serum with a tiny dash of snail mucus. Ideally, you should look for a product that is at least 50% snail mucin.
A good way to figure this out is simply by checking the ingredients list. Ingredients are listed in order of their quantity, so if there are 20+ chemicals listed and then snail mucin is right at the bottom, it's probably best to avoid that particular product.
Ones with smaller amounts of ingredients, or snail mucin being higher up in the list is always a good sign as it's likely that the people formulating that serum are doing so primarily around the snail slime and/or generally aiming for a natural, gentle serum with no nasty additives.
Strong ingredients such as parabens, alcohol or fragrances are good to avoid too, as they can dry out your skin and are likely to negatively impact the benefit of the snail mucin.
Conclusion - So is it the Real Deal?
As we explained, scientific studies into the effects of snail mucin aren't quite numerous or well reviewed yet for a 100% solid answer.
If you like to be extremely cautious with what you put on your skin, there is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting for more research in this area.
However, the studies that have taken place are virtually unanimous and dermatologists are equally in agreement that snail mucin does have some serious skincare benefits, focused around anti-aging, protection from microbes and sun damage, as well as general health and moisturisation.
The one problem we do have is which products to trust and which to trash.
This is why Lumonisitie has worked with some of the best cosmetic experts in Korea to formulate a low-cost, highly effective snail extract essence renewal cream with no added surprises.
The serum comes with a hefty whack of snail mucin, in fact, it's the third ingredient on the list, beaten only by water and squalane (another natural skin protector), meaning it's the most "snail" snail cream on the market, unless you want to buy straight slime from those Chilean farmers.
It is also:
- 100% all-natural
- 100% from cruelty-free, ethical snail farms
- Cheaper than virtually every snail serum on the market
Why is this?
Because snail extract isn't expensive.
Those serums you see that are 3-4x the price of Luminositie's snail serum or even more are either full of tons of other strange chemicals or are simply trying to pull the wool over your eyes, it's as simple as that.
Try it now and take a snail cream before and after picture to see the results you can get!
Otherwise, keep your eyes on our blog for more deep dives into the world of cosmetics and the science behind it!