While we aren’t necessarily skincare gurus, Twisted loves hearing all the lengths people will go to hide a dark mark or a wrinkle. Koreans are specifically praised for their skincare products but we might need to pass on the next one: skincare featuring snail slime.
Korean beauty and skincare company Missha spoke to Glamour about the benefits of the snail substance, called snail mucin, making its way into household skincare products:
Much in the way that their mucin protects their delicate little snail feet from environmental hazards such as rough surfaces, bacteria, and UV rays and keeps them moist in dry conditions, many of the nutrients in snail mucin can also be absorbed by our skin to similar effects,” said a Missha spokesperson. “Regular use of snail mucin has been shown to fade acne scars and hyperpigmentation, moisturize and firm skin, clear complexion, and minimize pores.”
The Korean company sells five products containing 30% snail slime extract as part of their Super Aqua Snail Collection. The collection’s products, also containing botanical stem cell extract, range from $12.00 to $15.00.
Historically, the first rumored use of snails come from Classical Greece. Famed physician Hippocrates would prescribe a concoction of crushed snails and sour milk to treat skin inflammation. Small towns in southern Italy have used the gastropod goo for acne, as well as warts and calluses.
In the late 1800s, the French market for snails increased during the inception of escargot and some Chilean farmers were tasked with raising the snails before exporting them to France. Rumor has it that the farmers, who often cut themselves on the metal cages, would experience healing capabilities and softer skin from the mucin.
It wasn’t until the 2000’s that South Korean companies would study and develop it into the product we see today. It didn’t gain traction in the States until ten years ago, more or less. In 2014, the beauty website Into the Gloss (which later launched the beauty brand Glossier) was one of the first blogs that covered the mullosk slime before CNN and Bloomberg followed around 2017. The increased publicity led many to adopt the mucin movement, including celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Katie Holmes.
Whenever a practice becomes a trend, you can expect innovation and eventually, some deviation. Dr. Matthew Schulman, a New York plastic surgeon previously offered a luxury snail slime treatment combined with microneedling. Microneedling–a process involving the insertion of tiny, fine needles into the skin to increase collagen production and reduce wrinkles, acne, cellulite, etc.–is a regular procedure but Dr. Schulman’s “Escarglow” procedure was unique for the time. The service is not listed on his website anymore.
The most extreme way to experience a snail mucin treatment takes us to Southeast Asia. In 2013, a Tokyo spa called Ci:z Labo introduced a live treatment where, you guessed it, they place the snail on your face. Thailand’s Chiang Mai’s Snail Spa opened two years later with cheaper treatment.
If it isn’t apparent by now, there are plenty of ways to experience snail mucin in your skin. Whatever the method, it does seem like the general sentiment regarding our slimy friends is as follows: snails are friends, not food.