Snail slime: prejudices to dispel and cosmetic benefits

An objective analysis of prejudices about snail slime

Snail slime is a substance that arouses interest and sometimes skepticism in people who use cosmetic products. An ingredient already known in Korean skincare, it was recently introduced in Europe: it is therefore a novelty in the cosmetic world, and prejudices in this regard can slow down less curious buyers.

Opinions, however, are conflicting: there are those who madly love snail slime cream, and there are those who wouldn't use it for various (more or less well-founded) reasons.

Throughout this article, we will explore the most common misconceptions about snail slime, its production and its origins. We will also shed light on its real benefits and properties for the skin.

Prejudice n° 1) Repulsion towards snail slime

Some people are averse to the thought of using a snail slime skin product. Yet cosmetics rich in this ingredient do not have a strange consistency or even a strange smell!

Snail slime creams and serums are very similar to those made with other ingredients: they are not slimy as one might expect when thinking about snail secretion.

prejudices about snail slime serum

Furthermore, we should reflect: on the market there are many products rich in ingredients of animal origin which generally do not cause the same disgust, because their derivation is not so obvious.

We can take the example of collagen, obtained from fish scales and waste when it comes to marine collagen, and from cow cartilage and bones brought to the boil when it comes to bovine collagen.

We also mention carminic acid, which gives the red color to various cosmetics and even many foods and which derives from the drying of the insect called cochineal.

Among the best-known cosmetic ingredients we also find lanolin, i.e. the sebum secreted by sheep's skin, and stearic acid, usually coming from pork fat.

Did you know the origin of these substances before reading this article?

If the answer is no, it is not strange: many people have no idea where some cosmetic substances come from, ending up purchasing products that perhaps, knowingly, they would never use.

Yet, unlike many of the ingredients mentioned above, snail slime is a substance that is taken from fully healthy animals, which remain alive even after extraction.

And, from here, we can connect to another prejudice: the thought that snails suffer or perish during the extraction of slime.

Read also: "Best snail slime cream: guide to choosing"

Prejudice n° 2) Ethical issues and issues related to the suffering of snails

In reality, the prejudice about the suffering of snails during the extraction of the secretion is not entirely unfounded: there are manual extraction methods, which are completely harmless to the animals, and industrial extraction methods, which do not take into account the well-being of the snails.

In the case of industrial extraction methods, the production of the ingredient occurs on a large scale and involves many animals at a time. This involves the use of large machinery, substances not tolerated by snails and even electric shocks.

As a defense mechanism, animals hyper-produce drool, but are enormously stressed and injured. Not everyone survives treatment.

If, however, we talk about the manual extraction method, the situation is very different and the prejudice about cruelty is absolutely not valid.

In this case the snails live in fields cultivated specifically for them, nourished with the best raw materials in order to secrete a slime rich in valuable substances.

At the time of extraction, the snails are taken from the fields and placed inside particular containers: in contact with each other, and facilitated by delicate manual stimulation, they secrete their precious slime without suffering damage and without perishing during the procedure.

Once the extraction is completed, the animals are rinsed and returned to the farm, where they can rest and refresh themselves.

lumaca mangia dopo estrazione della bavaThe drool collected in the containers is then microfiltered and sterilized so that it can be used in cosmetics.

Therefore, before choosing a cosmetic based on snail slime, it is very important to find out about the extraction methods of the active ingredient, giving absolute preference to products made with manually extracted snail slime, such as those by Nuvò Cosmetic.

Read also: Snail slime: how is it extracted?

Let's now look at the third most common misconception regarding this cosmetic ingredient.


Prejudice n° 3) Skepticism about the real effectiveness of snail slime

It is perfectly normal to be suspicious about the effectiveness of some cosmetic ingredients, especially if they are uncommon and if they are "mythologised".

In the case of snail slime, some people may believe that some benefits may be exaggerated or not supported by scientific evidence, while other people prefer to stick with more conventional products.

In reality, over the years several million studies have been conducted that highlight the benefits of snail slime, in particular of the Helix Aspersa Muller species (the common garden snail). And many studies are still underway, in order to delve even further into the possible applications of this substance both in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical fields.

By analyzing the chemical composition of snail slime, researchers discovered that it is a mucin - glycoprotein - rich in:

  • allantoin
  • glycolic acid
  • collagen
  • elastin
  • lactic acid
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • anti-proteases, i.e. inhibitors of viral infections
The exceptional richness of nutrients makes snail mucin an excellent adjuvant against the signs of skin aging (also caused by ultraviolet rays), against superficial and deep wounds and even against dermatitis. Furthermore, it is an extraordinary ally for hydrating and nourishing the skin.

Read also: Snail slime: what is it for?

In conclusion
Snail slime is an unusual and new cosmetic ingredient, but its benefits have aroused the interest of the scientific community, so much so that there are many studies on it.

Prejudices about this substance are also different. Today we wanted to analyze the main ones, and we hope that the insights in this regard will be useful to see snail slime from another point of view, more objective and free from preconceptions.


Snail slime in cosmetics:

Composition of snail slime and moisturizing action on the skin:

Antimicrobial properties of snail slime: Cilia, Giovanni and Fratini, Filippo. "Antimicrobial properties of terrestrial snail and slug mucus" Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, vol. 15, no. 3, 2018, pp. 20170168.

Snail mucin against eczema:

Snail slime in the medical field: McDermott M, Cerullo AR, Parziale J, Achrak E, Sultana S, Ferd J, Samad S, Deng W, Braunschweig AB, Holford M. Advancing Discovery of Snail Mucins Function and Application. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2021 Oct 11;9:734023. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2021.734023. PMID: 34708024; PMCID: PMC8542881.

Snail mucin as a functional food ingredient for skin: Yongeun Kim, Woo-Jin Sim, Jeong-seok Lee, Tae-Gyu Lim, Snail mucin is a functional food ingredient for skin, Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 92, 2022, 105053, ISSN 1756-4646,

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