It’s one of K-Beauty’s favourite ingredients, and with its ability to repair skin damage, actively hydrate, fight wrinkles and reduce acne scars and blemishes it is little wonder snail mucin is so popular in Korean skincare products.
Why Snail Mucin is so good for skin
Snail Mucin is a great ingredient in skincare products because it naturally contains a whole heap of skin-friendly goodies, including proteins, elastin, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and copper peptides. It also has anti-microbial properties that help avoid bacteria.
However, perhaps surprisingly (given how famous Koreans have made it!) the use of snails in cosmetics and medicine is not new or unique to K-Beauty products. The ancient Greeks knew of snail mucin’s potential to heal skin, and also used it internally.
Despite it’s many benefits to the skin, people rightly often wonder how snail mucin is collected – and in particular, whether it is harmful to the snails.
How Snail Mucin is harvested
Traditional methods of harvesting snail mucin were cruel – the snails were essentially dunked in pots of water with salt, vinegar or other chemicals to force them to excrete mucin.
Thankfully, the methods for harvesting snail mucin have changed considerably.
These days, there are a variety of “cruelty-free” methods of snail production and slime extraction.
In fact, research shows that the quality of the mucin itself depends on breeders keeping good environmental conditions for their snails. As a result, breeders themselves regulate what the snails eat, how they are kept and how the slime is extracted.
This also helps in certifying snail mucin products as cruelty-free.
In Italy, for example, snail mucin is extracted by immersing the snails in a special steam bath that acts like a spa for snails. The snails are not harmed in this process.