Beauty portrait of a young woman holding snail

Snail cream: The secrets behind the slime


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March 14, 2017:

If you have not already heard, snail cream is seriously stealing the beauty spotlight right now. It’s already a huge hit in South America and Korea, where it’s often so luxurious it’s laced with gold. And now that the K-beauty craze is officially sweeping the country – Nordstrom and Ulta have just launched campaigns online and in0store, following fast on the heels of Target – it’s coming to a town near you. But what exactly is it and should we believe the hype?

1. This is super slime

Snail mucin is a naturally complex mix of elastin, proteins, hyaluronic acid and antimicrobial compounds, which makes it the perfect protector against cuts, bacteria and UV rays – for snails, at least. There’s no significant scientific research that proves it has benefits for people, but these ingredients are all known beauty enhancers used in popular products. Insiders say this ‘slime’ can fade dark spots and scars, help stop acne and encourage more youthful-looking skin.

Charlotte Cho, author, esthetician, and co-founder of Korean beauty and lifestyle shop, Soko Glam, tells W magazine Snail mucin ‘has become popular because it’s an effective ingredient when it comes to anti-aging and minimizing acne scarring.’

2. US companies are in on it, too

There is RéVive Snails Extract day and night cream, which promises to hydrate and regenerate, while Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Fast-Acting Serum includes an ingredient called ‘synthetic snail venom’.

3. You get snail cream at the spa

Yes, the snail facial is a thing – one of the top spa destinations in Thailand takes it rather literally using real-life snails, while Park Avenue plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman has introduced a $300 Escarglow Facial treatment. He explained to NY Mag: ‘Snail slime is not going to help deep folds, but it will improve skin texture and quality.’

4. And it’s not just a new trend

In Ancient Greece, snail cream was used as a treatment to reduce inflammation – apparently philosopher Hippocrates was a fan.

However, the medical community is still debating whether there’s truth behind the trend, and there are issues with the consistency of snail extract, as it’s difficult to control levels because snail themselves vary so much as a species.

Plus, unlike Target, Ulta chose not to follow the snail trail, when it launched its K-beauty range of Korean brands earlier this month. Sarah Chung of Landing International, who worked with Ulta on the new collection, told WWD that they selected products people ‘can use day to day’ instead of ‘something where they’re like, “Oh I want to try this for fun.”’

So is snail cream just a passing trend or a skincare solution that’s here to stay?

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