Snail slime: what is it? Properties and applications

What is snail slime?

Snail slime is the the watery gel secreted by the snail's foot. This substance performs several functions:

  • Protective function: the first function of snail slime is to separate the snail from the soil. Snails, as we know, have no legs nor a protective skin, like the snake's one; in other words, they need a protective shield to move over the ground. Snail slime is their only protection, thanks to its film-forming property.
  • Regenerating function: the active ingredients it contains, such as for instance allantoin, enable it to regenerate more quickly in the event of injury and maintain the right degree of hydration.
  • Elastic and adhesive function: the mucopolysaccharides present in snail slime enable the snail to adhere to different surfaces, allowing it to move everywhere and  even 'climb' walls with different degrees of inclination.

Snail slime has antioxidant, anti-ageing, soothing and moisturising properties. It is rich in mucopolysaccharides with a strong film-forming action.

Who discovered snail slime?

Snail slime was presumably first discovered almost by chance in Chile, around 1980, by some farmers working the land.

At the end of a wet and rainy day many snails had come out into  the open. The farmers decided to put the snails inside some buckets and suddenly noticed that their hands had become softer and velvety.

This event gave rise to a series of studies on this particular raw material that eventually led to the discovery of its wonderful natural properties.

Bava di lumaca proprietà

Active ingredients of snail slime

Snail slime contains several active ingredients that are particularly useful in the world of cosmetics for the preparation of creams, serums and gels for the face, body, neck and décolleté.

Let's now take a closer look at the main active ingredients contained in snail slime:

  • 1. Allantoin. A regenerator of the epidermal layers, allantoin acts as a nourishing and protective agent thanks to its various active properties; for example, it can be used in aftershave products and in formulas designed to alleviate skin imperfections, like for instance acne, pimples, wrinkles, burns, scars and excoriations.
  • 2. Collagen. Collagen is the main fibrous element of the skin. It is a simple protein consisting exclusively of amino acids. Together with elastin, it provides support and elasticity, acting as the basis for the renewal of the skin's mattress. With the passing of time, however, its natural production drops remarkably, hence leading to the ageing process of both organs and tissues.
  • Glycolic acid. The glycolic acid found in snail slime stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the dermis and promotes the renewal of the epidermis. By removing dead cells from the skin surface, it gives the skin a brighter, smoother and more moisturised appearance.
  • Elastin. A skin protein that provides it elasticity and the ability to deform when subjected to mechanical stress. It accounts for 2% of the dermis weight.
  • Mucopolysaccharides. They are sugary substances that swell on contact with water, forming a structural gel able to maintain proper skin hydration for a long time, as well as support and protect the tissues.

Use of snail slime in cosmetics

Snail slime is widely used for its anti-oxidant, anti-ageing, soothing, protective, nourishing and moisturising properties. This raw material is very rich in mucopolysaccharides which, in addition to providing it its characteristic viscosity, perform a strong protective, film-forming and moisturising action on human skin.

Mucopolysaccharides are related to hyaluronic acid, with which they share a part of the molecular structure- the one formed by amino sugars and uronic acids; they also contain significant quantities of glycolic acid, elastin, and collagen, (which acts synergistically as a moisturiser), and allantoin (well-known for its restorative and protective action).

Thanks to the substances it contains, snail slime extract is used in active cosmetic preparations against wrinkles, skin scars, stretch marks and skin blemishes. It is also effective in case of dehydration, skin redness and scars.

Snail slime is also recommended to treat acne, speed up the repair of the epidermis and reduce its formation; in particular, it improves skin blemishes and the aesthetic of scars. It is also used to prevent stretch marks and works well as an anti-wrinkle remedy. This is why we find it in many anti-ageing, restorative, soothing and aftershave products.


The beneficial actions of snail slime on the skin

Let's now take a closer look at the several actions performed by cosmetic products based on snail slime:

  • Moisturising action: thanks to the presence of mucopolysaccharides, snail slime is excellent for moisturising the skin.
  • Healing action: the combined effect of allantoin, vitamins and collagen stimulates the tissue regenerative process.
  • Soothing action: the presence of allantoin, together with proteins and mucopolysaccharides, helps prevent and reduce redness caused by sunstroke and cold.
  • Purifying action: glycolic acid and peptides prevent the accumulation of impurities on the skin and, if already present, help eliminate them.
  • Exfoliating action: the glycolic acid contained in snail slime allows gentle peeling of the surface layer of the skin, reduction of skin blemishes and prevention of stretch marks on the breast and body.
  • Regenerating action: Allantoin stimulates the production of elastin and collagen fibres, thus enabling tissue repair and smoothing wrinkles.
  • Nourishing action: thanks to the amount of elastin and  collagen it contains, snail slime confers greater elasticity to the tissues and counteracts the formation of wrinkles.
  • Protective action: protects the skin against premature ageing, ultraviolet rays and dryness.
  • Antibacterial action: it is one of the reasons why it is used in treating acne, as it capable of killing the bacteria that cause acne.

What are the effects of snail slime on the skin?

  • Thanks to its antioxidant action, it helps maintain a healthy skin.
  • It restores elasticity to the skin.
  • Has repairing effects against damage caused by excessive exposure to the sun's rays.
  • Accelerates the renewal of damaged skin tissue.
  • Smoothes and prevents stretch marks.
  • Performs a smoothing action and prevents acne and other skin problems.
  • It is useful against clogged skin pores.

When and how to apply snail slime

It can be used all year round without any problems by men, women, teenagers and children; it can also be applied several times a day, as needed and depending on the type of product chosen.

As snail slime is not photosensitising, it can also be used in summer. Pure slime is also excellent as an after-sun lotion, thanks to its protective and soothing action.

Snail slime face cream

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There are now plenty of examples on the market. One aspect to take into consideration is the percentage of snail slime contained in the formulation. Buying products that contain percentages of less than 10% is of little significance.

Nuvò Cosmetic always uses snail slime percentages of over 50%, with peaks of 80%, in all its formulations, and always combines other specific active ingredients that work in synergy, such as three molecular weight hyaluronic acid, grape seed oil, vitamin E or mango butter.

Here below are some other fundamentally important aspects to be taken into account when choosing a snail slime cream:

  • it must be dermatologically tested, like all face creams
  • It must have undergone a nickel test
  • the snail slime must have been extracted by hand without the use of saline solutions.

These are small details that can, however, guide the customer to the correct choice.


Pure snail slime


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Once filtered and micro-filtered, pure snail slime has a semi-transparent colour tending towards straw yellow. However, the colouring may vary depending on the type of feed the snail is given.

This characteristic is typical of a natural raw material; snails feed on vegetables and this influences both colouring and scent. The consistency is similar to water, which is why it is best to look for a product with a dual dispenser: dropper and spray. This will facilitate application to various parts of the body.

Pure snail slime is an adjuvant in treatments against acne and scars; it is also used for impure skin with imperfections due to the presence of glycolic acid.

It is also used as a regenerating serum due to the presence of collagen and elastin for all skin types: combination, dry, oily and impure. It should be pointed out that for combination skin that tends to be dry, a moisturising face cream should usually be added.

This incredible raw material absorbs very quickly, does not leave the skin shiny and is excellent as a make-up base. It is often used in wellness centres, e.g. for facial  cleansing treatments.

Which snails is snail slime extracted from?

There are different species of snails, for example: Helix aspersa, Helix pomatia, Helix aperta, Helix lucorum, etc. The species that contains the highest percentage of active ingredients useful for the well-being of the skin is Helix aspersa, specifically Helix aspersa Müller.

Helix aspersa Muller is a very versatile snail in that it adapts easily to all climatic conditions.

Nuvò Cosmetic's snail slime extraction method

We wash the snails under lukewarm water through a gentle manual massage lasting no longer than 20-30 seconds. During this time, the snails begin to release their slime.

This procedure is in full respect of the animal and allows us not to harm our snails. At the end of the procedure, the snail is returned to its outdoor farm.

At the end of the process, the snail slime is filtered and microfiltered in the laboratory, resulting in an excellent finished product that meets the highest quality standards.

What is its final colour and consistency?

Ready-made snail slime varies in colour from straw yellow/white to a deeper yellow/golden colour. Its consistency is similar to water.

As soon as it is extracted, it is very jelly-like due to the presence of mucopolysaccharides that aggregate the various parts. About an hour after extraction, the more liquid part dissociates from the white mucopolysaccharides, which remain on the surface.

During filtration, the slime becomes liquid, acquiring its typical transparent, straw-yellow colour.

It should be noted that the colouring, aroma and degree of clarity may vary depending on the period and type of feeding.

Snail slime cream or serum?

These are 2 different types of products:

  • 1. Snail slime cream is a pasty product with a full-bodied consistency. It is also a product with a higher concentration of fatty components, whose main action is to moisturise and nourish the skin. In addition to this, it also contains active ingredients that have beneficial effects on the skin.
  • 2. Snail slime serum is a fluid, liquid product with a high content of active ingredients, such as antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids. Since it contains no oily parts, it can penetrate the skin more quickly. It is advisable to use it in the evening.

Before choosing a snail slime cream or serum, you should consider your specific skin type as there are creams and serums dedicated to different skin types (dry, oily, combination, with spots, etc.).

The best snail slime cream

Among our products, the best snail slime cream for an intensive face treatment to combat skin ageing is  Anti-Aging Cream Nuvò.

crema antirughe bava di lumaca


It is an organic cream containing 72% pure snail slime, with 10 natural active ingredients that synergically counteract the harmful effects of smoke, sun, air pollution, stress and normal skin ageing.

What features should the best snail slime cream have?

  • Contain a high percentage of slime
  • Be dermatologically tested (so as not to cause skin intolerances)
  • Have passed the nickel test (the amount of nickel in the product must be less than 1 ppm)
  • Contain a good number of active ingredients
  • Be silicone-free (silicons can cause occlusion of the pores), petrolatum (hydrocarbons derived from petroleum refining), parabens (organic compounds obtained from para-hydroxybenzoic acid) and PEGs (Poly-Ethylene Glycols, i.e. compounds derived from the polymerisation of ethylene oxide and petroleum processing)
  • Be extracted by hand, which  prevents it from being contaminated by saline solutions
  • Having hypoallergenic fragrances

Last but not least, there is also the price issue: how much should a good snail slime cream cost? A quality product, such as one featuring the characteristics listed above, cannot be too cheap.

The best snail slime serum

As regards the serum to be used before creams, Anti-Aging Elixir Nuvò is the best snail slime serum  for those who want a younger-looking and more elastic skin.



siero antirughe bava di lumaca nuvò

An anti-ageing serum for the face, containing 80 per cent snail slime. This serum, enriched with concentrated hexapeptide-8, has a tightening effect. It also contains vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.

It is a serum characterised by rapid absorption. It is also non-greasy.

There is no such thing as the best snail slime serum, just as there is no absolute best cream, but you should try to find the best serum for your skin type. As it is on skin imperfections that you must act, try to find the best snail slime serum to eliminate or reduce those imperfections.

  • To combat spots, wrinkles and acne, a serum with a high percentage of snail slime is recommended.
  • If the skin has suffered from the harmful effects of sun's rays, smoking or stress, a serum that also contains vitamin C (such as ascorbic acid) is the right remedy for you.

Scientific publications on snail slime

Many might think that snail slime is a raw material with no real functional actions and no real scientific evidence. Instead, since it was first discovered in 1980, numerous tests have been carried out using scientific methods.

Scientific research has proven the actual beneficial properties of this fantastic raw material: among many other propertoes, it really does perform a regenerating action and its  regular use improves the skin barrier as well as photo-ageing damage.

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