Putting snail goo on your face as part of a skincare regimen might sound downright disgusting, but it’s been done for thousands of years – dating all the way back to ancient Greece, actually. After that, Chilean snail farmers noticed their hands taking on a softer, smoother tone due to handling snails. This led to its mainstream discovery as a powerful ingredient in skincare.

In recent years, snail cream has become all the rage in Korean beauty, with every popular roadshop brand carrying at least one product containing snail filtrate in some form. Below are some of the reasons why it can be great for you:

  1. Snail Mucin, Broken Down Scientifically

Snail mucin (or extract, mucus, or filtrate) is the slime excreted by snails that helps them protect their soft bodies from abrasions, heals cuts, and fights bacteria. This substance also provides them some measure of shielding from harmful UV rays. The theory, then, is that these very same properties can have the same effect on human skin. Studies have shown that snail mucin contains the very same ingredients you’ll often find on the lists of your favorite products, like hyaluronic acid and copper peptides.

  1. Snail Mucin Can Turn Back the Hands of Time

One of the major benefits of using products that list snail mucin as a primary ingredient is anti-aging. Anecdotal evidence and clinical trials have shown that while it won’t do very much for deep age folds, it can greatly improve the quality and texture of the skin, leaving it with a younger look and feel. That’s because snail mucin contains elements that stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, which give the skin plumpness and elasticity. COSRX’s Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is a great way to introduce your skin to this powerful substance: made with 96% snail mucin (hence the 96 in the name), this essence is applied after cleansing and toning, before going on with the rest of your routine.

  1. Snail Mucin is a Fantastic Moisturizer

As mentioned above, snail mucin contains hyaluronic acid, which is known to bind moisture. This substance can absorb up to a thousand times its weight in water. It does not naturally occur on the surface of the skin, but applying products that contain this ingredient to your face can produce good results. Hyaluronic acid allows skin to pull moisture from the environment and trap it, resulting in powerful hydration. It will greatly benefit those who have dry skin, or supplement moisture loss caused by dropping temperatures and colder weather.

  1. Snail Mucin Helps Reduce the Appearance of Scars

Whether it’s scarring caused by acne, wrinkles, or stretch marks, snail mucin can help improve the appearance of skin. That’s because it contains fibrinolytic enzymes that help stimulate the healing process and repair damaged tissues. It also contains glycolic acid, a natural exfoliant that helps slough off dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and boosts cell production and renewal. This means that it has the ability to cause scars to fade with continued use, and for fine lines and wrinkles to smooth out.

Whether you try out snail mucin in a cleanser, essence, as a heavy moisturizer, or going the extra mile with a full-fledged snail facial, you’ll be certain to enjoy the visible effects almost immediately. For best results, apply your chosen snail filtrate skincare product directly after cleansing and massage it into the skin in gentle circles for maximum absorption. Some of our experts claim that you may not even need to follow it up with a heavy moisturizer, since snail mucin is already very hydrating. As always, patch test before you try any new product, and read ingredients lists carefully if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin to prevent flare-ups.

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