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: