The beauty of snail extract

Why this slimy substance should be your skincare secret weapon.

Chances are the only time you think about snails is when you're looking at the menu at French restaurant. But there’s a lot more you can do with snails than cook them in garlic butter. Enter: snail masks and creams, one of the more surprising Korean skincare trends that’s slowly taking off stateside.

So what’s the story? Snail extract—the thick slime trail snails produce—is a mucinous fluid that happens to be rich in glycoproteins, peptides, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid and minerals. Typically produced from large, commercially-grown garden snails in Chile (among other places) the extract is carefully filtered and used as a key ingredient in highly sought-after skincare products.

“My personal opinion is that the immediate tactile and visual skin improvements from snail serum drive the snail extract story,” says Dr. Craig Kraffert, M.D., board certified dermatologist and president of skincare company Amarte. “[Hyaluronic acid and glycoproteins] are likely responsible for smoothing the skin via hydration and tightening.” According to Kraffert, while the mucin (the glycoprotein constituent of mucus) works its magic—often instantaneously—on any skin type, it’s generally best suited for skin that’s dry or sun-damaged. (It’s worth noting, though, that the tightening effect can also dry out the skin.) For best results, Kraffert suggests finding products that pair snail mucin with other naturally beneficial ingredients like fermented botanical.

Here are snail extract skincare products to try:

tony moly ferment snail eye mask, $8

Golden tea fermented snail mucus restores and moisturizes the skin via silicon-like gels. Rest them under your eyes for about 30-minutes—the perfect amount of time to catch up on a episode of Lady Dynamite on Netflix.
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skinfood hydro fitting snail mask, $13

This sheet mask tightens the skin while working on cell regeneration and replenishing moisture. Five masks are included in each box—it's a good idea to use once a week.
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mizon all-in-one snail repair cream, $38

Formulated with 92% snail extract, Mizon’s cream has a reputation for diminishing acne scarring and other blemishes. If you have dry skin, use this under a heavy moisturizer.
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missha cell renew snail cream, $45

This light gel leaves a fresh cucumber scent that cools the skin and just might make you forget about the key ingredient here.
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