Get the 4-1-1 on the latest skincare craze: snail mucin

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Skincare is a forever-evolving industry, so it’s not surprising when a new “ingredient of the moment” is being raved about by product-lovers. While this makes it difficult to differentiate the fab from the fluff, a different picture is painted when shoppers’ testimonials exceed the blanket praise, further proving that the ingredient may actually be worth the hype.

This all appears to be the case for one of skincare’s trendiest and most customer-favorited ingredient: snail mucin. Chances are, though, you’ve probably heard about this in some capacity over the past year or so. If your understanding of it is still a bit cloudy, we’ve done some investigating to provide you with some clarity!

What is snail mucin?

Snails have been promoted from being considered simple garden dwellers to the key providers of skincare “gold.” According to New York Magazine, their mucin (or slime, in layman’s terms), contains natural forms of some of today’s most common and effective skincare powerhouses, including hyaluronic acid, glycoproteins and glycolic acid.

The complex ingredient is believed to have been initially made popular through the widely advanced Korean beauty industry which launched tons of products featuring it as its star ingredient. It was eventually proven, however, that Chileans were the first to incorporate snail mucin into their skincare routines after noticing how alarmingly soft their hands were from handling snails. Through this discovery, the Chilean snail cream Elicina was made.

Credit: Getty

Dermatologist Ted Lain, MD, pointed out, though, that contrary to popular belief, snail mucin is not an excretion that is produced whenever the snail moves, but rather is a substance that is excreted when the snail is under stress.

Why should you use it?

While no single product is “one size fits all,” skincare products that feature snail mucin as their operative ingredient seem to be highly praised by shoppers — especially those who have sensitive skin. 

Among its several proven benefits include locking moisture into the skin while locking out and soothing irritants from the environment, stimulating the production of collagen (which maintains the skin’s tightness and elasticity) and delivering essential vitamins and minerals including zinc and manganese, which are both ideal for soothing skin inflammation and healing scars, respectively.

Dr. Lain also further explained that snail mucin can be used alone or combined with antioxidant-rich products, retinol, vitamin C products, glycolic acid and other moisturizing ingredients.

It should be noted that since this product is derived from an animal, vegans should pass on using it.

What snail mucin-infused product do shoppers believe to be most effective?

If you’re curious about how your skin reacts to this viral skincare ingredient, licensed estheticians and skincare aficionados have raved about the CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.

Shop: CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, $23

Credit: Ulta

Dubbed as a “sensitive skin savior” by one shopper, this K-beauty staple is made with 96 percent snail mucin and is marketed to help hydrate and repair the skin.

Reviewers praise this $23 product for its benefits with acne and its fast-acting transformative results.

“The savior of my skin,” one five-star reviewer wrote. “I had horrible adult acne with scars and uneven skin texture. I have tried so many different products that were so expensive and didn’t work. I used this product for two weeks straight and my skin is glowing!”

Now that you’ve been downloaded on just about everything there is to know about snail mucin, you should be more well-equipped with the knowledge to know if this may be fitting to incorporate into your skincare routine.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like to read about another skincare brand with products that cost $25 or less.

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