How far would you go for younger looking skin?
People have been doing, eating, and wearing crazy things in the name of beauty for years. With the recent advancements in modern medicine, we’ve found even more ways to fit society’s beauty standards by going under the knife or the needle.
But today’s OMGross facial trend involves less modern technology and more history. Today we’re talking about snail slime.
Snails: A Modern Twist to an Ancient Theory
The “new” skincare trend is a modern take on an ancient Grecian beauty treatment. Apparently Hippocrates, (you may know him as the father of modern evidence-based medicine) treated inflammation with a mixture of crushed up snails and sour milk. (Seriously! Check out the snail info here.)
Nowadays, we skip the snail crushing and use what we call snail secretion filtrate (a fancy name for filtered snail goo). To harvest the ingredient, companies collect the protective slime produced by snails when they’re stressed out and filter it in a less deadly, if not very humane, process. The resulting ingredient is wildly popular in Asian skincare. In 2013, a Tokyo spa even started offering a snail slime facial, a treatment involving the placement of live snails on the patron’s face to get the goo straight from the source. Recently, The use of snail slime in skincare has made its way to the Western world.
This new fad has us saying OMGross and, as always, questioning its efficacy. Does snail slime really have skincare benefits? Read on to find out what science says!
Snail Goo is a Moisturizer
Is snail goo the miracle ingredient we’ve been looking for? It certainly has a promising chemical composition. The mucin is filled with humectants including glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, and hyaluronic acid, often lauded in the beauty industry for its ability to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. These materials bond with water molecules from the deeper layers of skin and bring them to the outer layers to hydrate. Snail mucin also contains allantoin, which acts as an emollient, softening the surface layers of skin.
The bottom line: snail secretion hydrates.
One study published in The Journal of Korean Medicine Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology and Dermatology even found that snail secretions may be effective in the treatment of eczema. Score one for snail goo in the moisturization department!
That said, Snail Mucin is not the only, or even the most effective way, to access these powerful compounds. In fact, many companies like Perfectly Posh go straight to the (natural and humane) source when it comes to humectants like hyaluronic acid, including the pure compounds in their formulas. Sodium hyaluronate, a form of hyaluronic acid can be found in many anti-aging product including the Posh Never Grow Up Face Cream (link) and Never Grow Up Serum.
Potential Anti-Aging Properties
Snail mucin moisturizes, but does snail goo have actual anti-aging benefits like so many companies claim. This one is tricky. What do we mean by anti-aging? Does hydrating the skin so the signs of aging don’t show as much count as anti-aging? If that’s the case, snail goo can provide. Are we talking about reversing damage? Or does it count as anti-aging if it prevents damage from happening in the first place?
In the end, it doesn’t matter which definition we use, we’re far more concerned with results. Turns out, snail slime delivers, at least in the fine line department. A study published in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology showed significant improvement of fine lines when treated with snail slime. Snail slime, it turns out, may actually be an anti-aging powerhouse. But it’s not the only compound that helps combat the appearance of aging skin. Antioxidants like the green tea in our Envy This Face Mask (link) also help fight aging by combating the effects of damaging free radicals.
How About Those Healing Benefits?
Snail slime has also been studied in terms of its healing ability and the results are largely positive. One study assessed the effects of snail goo in treating burns, testing it against a control group treated with burn ointment. The results led them to conclude that “Helix aspersa extract (snail secretion) is a natural, safe and effective alternative treatment in open wound management of partial thickness burns in adults”. Other studies have claimed that snail goo can potentially speed up healing and even help prevent abnormal acne scarring.
So, is snail goo the newest skincare sensation?
Take the miracle claims and the efficacy of singular studies with a grain of salt, but from what we can tell, snail slime has serious potential!