As you might expect, snail mucin is the gel-like liquid secreted from a snail. In ancient medicine, this mucin was used topically to treat skin disorders and heal wounds. So no, this is not a “new” ingredient–it’s just becoming more common in market products. And let it be known: Not all snails create the same mucin; and further, different kinds of mucin carry different skin benefits. “Most skin care products containing snail secretions contain those of the Helix aspersa snail, whose secretions contain hyaluronic acid and allantoin and are great for hydrating dry skin,” board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, M.D., founder of Maei MD, tells mbg.
But if you’re looking for healthy aging benefits, that’s a different story. “For aging concerns or to repair injured or otherwise compromised skin, snail mucin derived from the Cryptomphalus aspersa snail is an excellent choice, as these secretions contain growth factors and antioxidants in addition to hyaluronic acid and have been shown to protect, heal, and repair the skin,” Marcus says.
Now, you may be wondering how the snail mucin gets harvested (a fair question to ask, we might add). And here’s the thing: You can’t say for sure that every single company harvests snail mucin in the same way. Responsible beauty is very much top of mind here, so we recommend looking for snail mucin products harvested in a humane fashion. (Don’t worry; we’ll recommend some of our top choices later on.)