Why I Don’t Like Snail Mucin Skin Care

When snail mucin first debuted on the market, I was pretty enthralled with it. At the time, there were notable healing and anti-aging effects attributed to it, chiefly because it was found to be a natural source of allantoin, collagen, elastin, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, and natural antibacterials (Revista Chilena de Terapia Ocupational). The healing properties associated with snail mucin were so great that at least one oncologist was using it to treat radiation burns (Acta Oncology). That oncologist also held a patent for snail mucin and its use in treating burns, including radiation, chemical, and thermal burns, dating back to 1996, but no one ever really questioned it. After all, if it can help cancer patients, who’s to question its validity?

In several of the studies that demonstrate snail mucin is effective in skincare, it could be proposed it isn't the snail mucin, but rather other proven ingredients used in the formula, that are responsible for the effects.

However, recent studies have brought to light that snail mucin may not be as effective as once thought. For one thing, in several of the studies that demonstrate it is effective in skincare, it could be proposed it isn’t the snail mucin, but rather other proven ingredients used in the formula, that are responsible for the effects. In fact, in one Korean study, snail extract mixed with established anti-agers alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), glycosaminoglycans, allantoin, and collagen and elastin shows anti-aging effects, not snail mucin alone (Korean Journal of Dermatology). But here’s the ultra-important part: In other studies, the levels of some of those effective skincare components, such as allantoin and glycolic acid, found in snail mucin were found to be in a lot lower concentration than previously thought (Scientific Reports).

Why I Don't Like Snail Mucin Skin Care

And yet other studies show that snail mucin effects can be enhanced significantly by adding honey (yes, honey) to the mix (International Journal of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences). Which raises the question: We don’t see truly effective skincare ingredients, like isolated and concentrated retinoids, L-ascorbic acid, or hyaluronic acid, with their effects “significantly” enhanced with honey or seed extracts. Instead, these effects are substantial. And I question how much snail mucin really does.

Why I Don't Like Snail Mucin Skin Care

Bottom Line

As far as skin care ingredients go, snail mucin is very popular right now because the twenty-year term of its patent ran out in 2006, and this one-time lauded healing agent is now available for widespread over-the-counter use for everything from burns to anti-aging. Even so, the truth of the matter is, studies are now showing that the beneficial components of snail mucin are in significantly lower concentration than previously thought, and that its effects can be “significantly” enhanced with known mild healing agents, like honey.

With that said, I don’t see any harm in using this ingredient on your skin, but I also wouldn’t race out and buy it. Instead, I would continue to invest in “tried and true” skincare ingredients, like AHAs, retinoids, vitamins C&E, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. I would regard snail mucin as a fun “nice to have” when the skin is sunburned or irritated, but certainly not as a daily “must have” for the skin.

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