If you’re into the K-beauty trend, you've unquestionably stumbled across social media posts, videos, and even articles by now praising snail mucin or snail secretion filtrate, an ingredient that's as trendy as it seems to be effective.
But, while there is some science to support the claimed benefits of applying snail mucin on the skin, many people still can't help but wonder why the trend is so popular among women all around the world. This is snail secretion we’re talking about.
So, allow us to explain this ultra-popular skincare ingredient, how and why it works so well, and why it’s a must-try for anyone looking to get a glass-like, hydrated complexion.
What Is Snail Mucin?
Snail mucin is the excretion from snails and a gooey component found in toners, serums, and moisturizers that helps boost skin hydration and lubrication and improves various concerns that have resulted from moisture loss.
Rich in antioxidants like rejuvenating vitamin A and wound-healing vitamin E, snail mucin is collected as a by-product of snail breeding and farming. The harvested slime is then filtered for bits of debris, sanitized, and sold to cosmetic companies.
As a result, you get a rich, viscous substance that is 98% water with 2% beneficial nutrients and proteins that can help improve your skin's health and appearance and give it a burst of long-lasting hydration.
The Benefits of Snail Mucin for Your Skin
Known in the skincare world as a mega multi-tasker, snail mucin is a powerhouse ingredient that can do some pretty incredible things for your skin. From moisturizing your complexion to boosting the production of skin-firming collagen, here are just a few benefits of snail mucin that you can look forward to:
Moisturizes the skin: Composed of 98% water, snail mucin is highly effective at hydrating the skin and keeping it plump and moisturized for longer.
Helps wound healing: Being rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that modulates cellular signaling and gene expression to promote wound healing, snail mucin helps accelerate the skin's healing process while minimizing scarring.
Soothes irritation: Snail mucin is also rich in allantoin, a component that not only moisturizes the skin but encourages cell regeneration by minimizing the production of inflammatory cytokines, thus soothing irritation and promoting healthy skin.
Stimulates collagen production: Comprised of components like growth factors that encourage the growth of new collagen-producing cells, snail mucin can help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles while promoting a more youthful and uniform complexion.
Brightens hyperpigmentation: Proteins and growth factors present in snail mucin promote the regeneration of skin cells, helping old, uneven, and pigmented cells to shed and get replaced by healthy, even cells, thus leading to a brightened and evened-out skin tone.
The Potential Side Effects of Snail Mucin
While there aren't any well-documented side effects of snail mucin, since this is quite a new ingredient on the skincare market and hasn't been researched enough to provide definitive answers, there is a possibility of experiencing an allergic reaction.
In her TikTok video, beauty influencer Sarah Palmyra warns that people allergic to shellfish and dust mites have a higher chance of experiencing side effects such as breakouts, rashes, and irregular texture from snail mucin, due to a phenomenon known as cross-reaction. This happens when the proteins in one substance (like shellfish) are similar to those in another (like snail mucin). So if you're allergic to the proteins in shellfish, your immune system may mistake the similar proteins in snail mucin for the shellfish proteins and trigger an allergic reaction.
In the case of dust mites and snails, there is research showing that a protein found in dust mites, called tropomyosin, is also found in snails and shellfish, making those who are allergic to dust mites react to snails and shellfish due to this shared protein.
Additionally, Palmyra also explains that if you’re experiencing textural changes such as small, flesh-colored bumps after introducing snail mucin into your skincare routine, you might not be using it correctly.
Much like other popular humectants, including glycerin and hyaluronic acid, snail mucin works best when applied to damp skin. This is because humectants are substances that attract water molecules from the deeper layers of the skin or, in humid conditions, from the surrounding environment to the top epidermal layer. So, when applied to damp skin, humectants trap some of the water on the skin's surface before it evaporates, allowing the skin to absorb it and helping enhance its hydration.
In contrast, applying humectants to dry skin will cause them to draw moisture from the deeper layers of the skin, which, without additional water from the surface, will evaporate, causing the skin to become dehydrated and experience textural irregularities, such as bumps.
How To Incorporate Snail Mucin Into Your Skincare Routine
Depending on the consistency of the product, snail mucin should be used on clean, damp skin, usually before heavier products, if the component is in a toner or serum form, or as a final step in an evening skincare routine if it's present in a moisturizer. This way, you will reap not only the hydration benefits that snail mucin provides but also the antioxidant, anti-aging, and wound-healing benefits that become more potent during the night as we sleep and our cells regenerate and are more receptive to the signals they send.
Snail mucin products can be used alone or with other skincare products that target similar skin concerns. For instance, if you want to brighten your complexion, you can use snail mucin with a vitamin C serum for an extra boost of antioxidants and improved skin cell turnover. Or, if you want to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, you may very well combine snail mucin with your favorite retinoid. If your primary skin concern is an inflammatory condition such as acne, add snail mucin after cleansing and toning your skin with salicylic acid to replenish hydration, stabilize cell function, and soothe the inflammatory lesions.
While snail mucin is still a relatively new ingredient on the market, it's definitely worth a try if you're looking for something that can give your skin an extra boost of hydration while helping to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, soothe inflammation, brighten hyperpigmentation, and protect skin cells from damage.
With the proper use, and combined with a complete skincare routine, snail mucin definitely has the potential to improve your skin's health and appearance, and with that happening for many, it's not hard to understand why girls are obsessed with this slimy substance!
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