What Does Snail Mucin Do? Benefits, Side Effects, And More

Written by Arshiya Syeda

We all want the next big breakthrough skin care product that offers all-in-one benefits. Snail mucin is one such ingredient that has gained immense popularity in recent years.

Snail mucin is considered an effective product in the K-beauty realm. Yes, it comes from snails. But while it may sound a bit gross, there is a reason why this particular slime is said to result in gorgeous skin. It is said to improve skin texture, tone, and hydration. Learn all about this novel ingredient and how to use it in this article.

Understanding Snail Mucin

Simply put, snail mucin is the secretion from snails. But, it is not that simple! Here is why.

The garden snail, scientifically known as Cornu aspersum, was discovered by a doctor in the 1960s because of its remarkable ability to heal. He observed that these snails released certain secretions when agitated, which helped them heal quicker (1).

Most companies in the cosmetics industry breed these snails commercially. To harvest their secretions, batches of snails are agitated using various methods to stimulate production. After that, the snail mucus is collected and filtered to remove any unwanted particles. This process also ensures that the secretion is refined for use in various cosmetic formulations, resulting in the purest and cleanest form of snail mucin (2).

Note that the above is a general production process, and each brand may have different extraction and filtration methods. The process also gives it the name Snail Secretion Filtrate (SSF) that you see listed at the back of most of its products.

Now, let’s answer the most important question.

How Safe Is Snail Mucin?

With the use of snail mucin for skin having risen over the past few years, there have hardly been any reports of adverse reactions. But, bear in mind that research is still being conducted on this ingredient.

For regular application, snail mucin is perfectly safe. However, you need to use a specific secretion from snails for it to be effective.

Snails produce different kinds of secretions. One type acts more like a lubricant to help them glide across surfaces without any friction. Another type is released when they are disturbed, which is how most mucin is extracted. The type of snail used is also important. For cosmetic use, brands may use different variations of the garden snail, which is safe for use.

If you are worried about the ethical implications, do not worry. Tons of brands ensure their snail mucin products are cruelty-free. This means that the snails are not harmed in any way while extracting and collecting their mucin.

Thanks to the thriving Korean skin care industry, people all over the world are catching onto their skin care trends – the latest being snail mucin. Here’s how this interesting ingredient gained popularity among skin care enthusiasts.

The Rise Of Snail Mucin In Skin Care

In recent years, with cutting-edge technologies, better and more efficient extraction methods have come along. Additionally, the formulations of skin care products are more customized now, which is why snail mucin toners, creams, masks, and more have hit the shelves.

Beauty influencers have also contributed to the sudden rise of the ingredient by recommending the product to their followers to help them attain flawless skin.
Using snail mucin has brought along claims of various benefits, which are explored below.

Benefits Of Using Snail Mucin

Here are some of the most important benefits of snail mucin for your skin:

1. Improves Collagen Production

A study found that snail secretions can stimulate the production of collagen (3). This is great for your skin, as collagen is the protein that helps your skin remain strong and supple. Collagen also maintains your skin’s elasticity and heals injuries.

2. Hydrates The Skin

Well-hydrated skin is a sign of good skin health! Due to many reasons, your skin may lose its ability to maintain optimum hydration. It could be due to age, over-exfoliation, hormonal imbalance, etc.

The problem with dehydrated skin is that it can quickly lose water, a.k.a. transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Snail mucin can combat this because of certain chemicals found in it called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). They hold great moisturizing benefits as their molecules attract water. Thus, they help moisturize the skin and make it plump (4).

3. Increases Skin Cell Turnover

An analysis of snail mucin’s components found that it contains a small dose of glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a great ingredient in cell turnover as it breaks down dead skin, allowing fresh skin to develop. In simple terms, it may help with mild exfoliation, leaving your skin smoother and free from dead cells (5).

4. Reduces Pigmentation

The main reason why pigmentation occurs is due to excess melanin developing in some areas of the skin. Melanin is a type of pigment that absorbs the sun’s harmful UV rays to protect the skin. The more melanin present in the skin, the deeper the skin color. Due to different reasons, the body may overproduce it, leading to hyperpigmentation.

Snail mucin was found to have antimelanogenic properties that hinder melanin production. Hence, it may help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation (6). This, coupled with its ability to increase cell turnover, may prove to be immensely effective at doing the job!

5. Reduces Scarring

When your skin scars, it is due to a lack of collagen that rebuilds the portion of injured skin. If there is less collagen, the skin rebuilds with gaps, leading to pit-like scars. If there is excess collagen, the skin can over-form, leading to a raised bump of skin on the injured area.

Snail mucin can help with your skin’s regeneration ability. It was found to improve the healing of wounds – and even accelerate the process – in a study conducted on rats (7). So if you have a wound, its chemicals will help the bonds within your skin form efficiently.

Note that reports on existing scarring are minimal, and most studies have been conducted on wounds. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that it can benefit acne scars, too.

6. Anti-Aging Properties

As you get older, your skin is not able to produce as much collagen and other chemicals that keep it hydrated and looking plump. Due to this, it becomes easier for damage to occur and wrinkles to form.

A study conducted using a cream with 80% snail mucin found that the users noticed a significant difference in the appearance of wrinkles, skin elasticity, dermal density, and skin tightening in 4 weeks (8).

Also, due to its ability to provide hydration to the skin, snail mucin extract may also help prevent premature wrinkles due to dry skin.

Snail mucus has several beauty benefits, but it can also improve your overall skin health. Read on to learn how.

Maintaining Your Skin Health With Snail Mucin

Snail mucin is known for its cosmeceutical benefits, which means it has both pharmaceutical and cosmetic uses. Some of the skin health advantages of this ingredient are:

1. Prevents The Growth Of Bacteria

Snail secretions are a great way to keep your face cleaner and prevent bacteria from growing. Studies have shown that snail mucus contains antibacterial properties (9). This may especially be helpful for healing wounds and lesions.

2. Antioxidant Properties

Oxidative stress plays a significant role when it comes to skin damage. Hence, dermatologists usually recommend using antioxidant serums for the skin.

These serums work by scavenging free radicals and preventing them from causing skin damage (10).

Snail mucin is reported to have antioxidant qualities that may also boost its ability for cell regeneration and healing (11).

3. Pharmaceutical Uses

Although more research is needed, snail mucin is currently being studied and tested to be used as surgical glue and for developing better tissue adhesive formulas. Along with this, it has been used in the treatment of burn victims’ wounds, thanks to its regenerative, adhesive, and antimicrobial properties (12).

Surely after reading about this ingredient’s benefits, you must be keen on trying it out. Below is a breakdown of adding snail mucin to your skin care routine.

How To Use Snail Mucin

Since snail mucin extract comes in a variety of formulations, the key to using it effectively lies in which part of your routine you add it to.

  • Essence

This must be used after toner but before any thicker formulations. Gently pat the snail mucin essence onto your skin and let it settle so that it is absorbed completely. Then, go ahead and do the other steps of your routine.

  • Serum

Use the snail mucin serum after toning and other water-based treatments (such as glycolic wipes). Like the essence, gently pat it onto your skin and wait for it to get absorbed before continuing with the rest of your routine.

  • Cream

Note what kind of formulation it is. If it is water-based cream, ensure that you use it before any oil-based products. Otherwise, it will sit on top of the oil layer and not reach your skin.

Oil-based formulations can go on as the last step. This way, you also seal in the other layers and lock in the hydration.

  • Masks

You can use snail mucin masks once a week or occasionally, depending on your preference. Be sure to cleanse your face completely and pat it dry before applying the mask.

The above instructions are the general way to apply these formulations. However, for best results, read the label of your product for specific directions for use.

If you are trying to gauge the overall safety of snail mucin before adding it to your skin care regimen, take note of some of its side effects listed below.

Side Effects Of Using Snail Mucin

As mentioned earlier, snail mucin still needs to be studied further. It has no known side effects yet. However, if you have a known allergy to snails or mollusks in general, you should refrain from using snail mucus.

Regardless of whether or not you are allergic to snails, it is recommended to conduct a patch test before application. Apply it to a small portion of your forearm and leave it on for 24 hours. If you do not see any adverse reaction, you may apply it to your face.

Snail mucin on its own has no known reactions with skin care actives. But, some added ingredients could react to another product in your routine. This can cause unwanted effects and reduce the formulation’s overall efficacy. So, always do your research before using a product.

To Conclude

There are many benefits of snail mucin, and its ability to heal skin has made it a trusted ingredient. That is why it has been such a popular and celebrated product in the market.

Snail mucin tackles a variety of skin concerns, making it feel like an all-in-one solution! However, further research is required to verify its claims, so use it with caution.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is snail mucin cruelty-free?

There are many methods of snail mucin extraction. Some brands use the method of externally agitating the animal, and some just let them move around a mesh without disturbance. Some companies claim to extract mucin without causing any harm to the snails, so your options are plenty. Just make sure to check if the brand is cruelty-free.

Does snail mucin clog pores?

Snail mucin will not clog your pores if you use the right product. Avoid thicker formulations that trap particles in your skin. Just go for a lightweight snail mucin essence or mask instead of a cream.

Does snail mucin lighten the skin?

Snail mucin extract may lighten the skin due to its exfoliation and antimelanogenic properties. Many users swear by its ability to brighten the complexion, but further studies are required to prove the same.

Does snail mucin treat acne?

Many products and users claim that snail mucin can help clear acne. This may be attributed to its healing, hydrating, and exfoliating qualities, but further research needs to be done to support these claims.

Is snail mucin good for oily skin?

Yes! Snail mucin can provide oily skin with hydration since it contains glycosaminoglycans (GAG), the molecules of which attract water.

What can you not mix with snail mucin?

There are no adverse reactions reported between snail mucin and other chemicals. However, it is advisable to always check the formulation and consult your dermatologist before adding a new product to your routine.

Can I mix snail mucin with niacinamide?

Many snail mucin formulations are now available with niacinamide. So, there should be no problem if you choose to use them together. But, consult your dermatologist before adding these skin care ingredients to your routine.


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  1. Therapeutic and cosmetic compositions for treatment of skin
  2. Helix and Drugs: Snails for Western Health Care From Antiquity to the Present
  3. Dosage of Bioactive Molecules in the Nutricosmeceutical Helix aspersa Muller Mucus and Formulation of New Cosmetic Cream with Moisturizing Effect
  4. Land Snails: The Key to Beauty?
  5. HelixComplex snail mucus exhibits pro-survival
    proliferative and pro-migration effects on mammalian fibroblasts
  6. Helix aspersa maxima mucus exhibits antimelanogenic and antitumoral effects against melanoma cells
  7. Application of snail mucin dispersed in detarium gum gel in wound healing
  8. Use of cream containing mucus secreted by snails has an anti-aging effect on skin
  9. Antibacterial activity of snail mucus mucin
  10. Oxidative Stress in Aging Human Skin
  11. Snail mucus in skin care
  12. The efficacy of Helix aspersa Müller extract in the healing of partial thickness burns: A novel treatment for open burn management protocols
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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).