What's Snail Mucin And How Can It Help Your Skin?

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It's one of the biggest wonders of Korean beauty and is even eaten as a French delicacy. Now becoming one of the most popular ingredients in the beauty and skincare world, snail mucin, or the slime of little shell-covered gastropods, is believed to have been used for thousands of years for its incredible health benefits. It's even reported that in ancient Greece, famous physician Hippocrates wrote about the use of snail mucin for smooth skin and its curing of hernias and tuberculosis (via WebMD). The ancient Greeks also believed that the bug's slime was a remedy for burns, abscesses, and other wounds (via the Bruno Bonnemain).


Fast forward to the 21st century, and the Korean beauty industry has picked back up the microscope on snails with its cult following spreading to America. The explosive industry was reported to be worth $3.7 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach $12 billion by 2029 (via Globe News Wire). So, what exactly is the snail hype, and how can it help your skin? Let's find out.

It's loaded with nutrients to help all skin types

There's really no one who can't benefit from the magic of snail mucin. Its abundance of nutrients lends itself to healing acne-prone skin, dull skin, and dry skin prone to deep wrinkles. Aesthetician and K-beauty blogger Charlotte Cho tellsĀ Everyday Health that it contains "hyaluronic acid [which] helps in the anti-aging process as it hydrates the skin, and antimicrobial peptides known to help reduce acne and treat hyperpigmentation." It even contains copper peptides known to firm skin and increase collagen production (via Healthline). Still skeptical about the hype? In 2013, a study revealed that a group of 25 participants experienced notable improvement in fine lines and wrinkles after using snail mucin for eight weeks straight (via World's Best Skincare).


If you're not sure where to start, Korean beauty brand COSRX has a pack of 25 sheet face masks that promise cruelty-free snail mucin and glowing skin. However, if you want to target fine lines and wrinkles, opt for the brand'sĀ Power Essence, which delivers intense moisture to plump aging skin.

Quality mucin production means happy snails

With an industry booming in sales, it might be worrisome to consider the extraction process. Luckily for vegans, vegetarians, and empaths, there is good news. A bountiful production of mucin requires happy snails. Researchers have found that a comfortable, healthy breeding environment produces quality grade mucin (via Style Story). Animal testing is also illegal in Korea, where breeders ensure snails are well rested and in dark, cool environments where they are happiest and can roam freely (via Snaily Love).


Previously, the extraction of snail mucin in ancient cultures was pretty gruesome, including dunking snails into salted, boiling water to extract it. However, most manufacturers today are dedicated to the happiness of their slime friends. It should be noted, however, that some breeders are still keeping their process confidential (via The Outline). So, if cruelty-free beauty products are important to you, be sure to look for proper messaging on your product's label. The world of beauty ethics is not perfect, but it is prioritizing harm-free processes in the search for skin-enhancing snail mucin.