Snail mucin has been a secret ingredient in K-beauty skincare for a while but has been gaining steadily in popularity around the world. It’s said to be great for repairing your skin barrier, hydration, dealing with premature aging and even healing wounds or acne.

It’s also known as snail secretion filtrate, snail oil, snail serum, SSF, helix aspersa muller glycoconjugates or even just snail slime. And yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s an ingredient that comes from snails, so if you’re following a completely vegan skincare routine or lifestyle then this may not be the ingredient for you.

What is Snail Mucin?

Snail mucin is a fluid that a snail releases when it’s agitated. It’s then collected, filtered and purified several times before being used in skincare. This ingredient is then used in serums, face masks, moisturizers and creams as a hydrating anti-aging ingredient that’s said to help repair the skin.

As an ingredient, it’s actually said to contain lots of ingredients that are also commonly used in skincare, including hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, zinc, growth factors, allantoin, glycosaminoglycans, peptides, and manganese. 

These are all ingredients that you’ve probably seen in skincare products that aim to hydrate, plump and soothe the skin. Some of these ingredients are also used for building collagen in the skin (essential for repair, regeneration and plump skin). It’s also worth mentioning that snail mucin doesn’t clog pores and shouldn’t cause breakouts.

How does Snail Mucin help the skin?

Lots of people swear by snail mucin as their skincare savior but there’s actually limited scientific research on it as an ingredient. However, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence and testimonials from happy snail mucin skincare enthusiasts online.

The main benefits of snail mucin are that it’s moisturizing, hydrating, helps skin to heal, soothes irritation, nourishes the skin with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and supports both natural collagen production and skin regeneration. These properties make it ideal for people with dry, damaged or aging skin, but can be used by any skin type on a daily basis.

There are also no known or well-documented side effects to using snail mucin, but it’s worth bearing in mind that research is somewhat limited. As with any ingredient, there is the possibility of an allergic reaction.

Benefits of using Snail Mucin:

Moisturizes and hydrates skin

As snail mucin contains hyaluronic acid – a hydration boosting skincare essential – it works to attract moisture to the skin and lock it into place. This also helps to repair the barrier function of the skin, and encourage natural moisturization.

Soothes irritation and repairs the skin

Allantoin, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid work to protect and calm irritation. This leaves it smooth, protected and encourages cell regeneration. If your skin feels dry, tight or compromised, then snail mucin can help it to get back to its best. There’s even evidence that it helps with acne-prone skin too.

Stimulates collagen production

Collagen is an essential part of the skin. It’s what keeps it plump, bouncy and allows skin to look youthful and renewed. It’s produced naturally in the body, but starts to decrease in your 20s. This is a normal part of the aging process, but can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, textured skin and dry, dull complexion.

Snail mucin contains growth factors, copper peptides, allantoin and glycolic acid, all of which help to boost collagen production in the skin. This means plumper, younger-looking skin with less wrinkles and more glow.

Delivers vitamins and nutrients to the skin

Snail mucin contains antioxidants like vitamin A and E, both of which protect the skin and help to hold back signs of premature aging. It also contains zinc and allantoin, which help to reduce inflammation and puffiness along with manganese, which has healing properties.

What products will you find Snail Mucin in?

You’ll find snail mucin in a range of different skin products like night creams, serums, moisturizers, sleeping masks, face creams, face masks and cleansers. It’s often paired in skincare formulations with antioxidants, retinol, vitamin C, glycolic acid and other moisturizing ingredients to benefit the skin.

How you use snail mucin in your routine depends on what type of product you use it in, and what you’re using it for. If you’re using it for hydration and regeneration, then you might find using it at night (as the last step in your routine) works best. In general, serums have a higher concentration of snail mucin so if you really want a snail mucin boost, then this might be the best option.

Is Snail Mucin synthetic or naturally-derived?

Snail mucin is naturally-derived, as it comes from snails.

Ethics of using Snail Mucin

Much has been written about Snail Mucin and yet,the jury’s still out on the ethics of its extraction and use. Although brands have developed ways of sourcing snail slime without destroying or harming the mollusca, there still isn’t much transparency on the extraction process. And so, it’s difficult for consumers to develop trust that their snail mucin was sourced ethically. 

Conclusion: Should you use Snail Mucin?

Countless people all over the world regularly use snail mucin in their skin routine and swear by its rejuvenating, healing and hydrating properties. It’s regularly used as a solution to a natural skincare barrier that’s been left damaged or compromised (usually by over-exfoliating or using harsh chemicals on the skin).

It’s an inexpensive ingredient that can easily be added into skincare routine. Although there’s been limited research into its effectiveness, it contains ingredients that are known to benefit the skin through hydration, repair and natural collagen production. If you’re a skincare fan who loves to try new products, then this could be the next ingredient to add your list.