K-beauty introduced many of us to the world of snail mucin, promising a path to radiant, glass-like skin. With so many TikTok and Instagram influencers endorsing this trend, it seemed like the perfect solution for achieving that coveted glow. While touted as a miraculous ingredient that can work wonders for your skin, there are some crucial aspects to consider before you hop on the bandwagon.
From ethical concerns about how snail mucin is harvested to potential allergic reactions, this product has been facing quite a bit of backlash in recent months. This product promises gentle hydration, skin protection, a boost of collagen, and reduced irritation, but complaints of adverse reactions, such as breakouts, fungal acne, hives, and tiny forehead bumps are running rampant across social media. This raises the question: how can such a seemingly gentle ingredient cause so many issues? Whether you’re considering steering clear of snail mucin due to allergies, ethical concerns, or a general aversion to sticky, slimy substances (gross!), here is what I believe (as a product formulator), are the pros and cons of incorporating this product into your beauty routine. Let’s get into it!
What Is Snail Mucin?
Snail mucin, also known as Snail Secretion Filtrate, is derived from snails, or mollusks (organisms that live inside of a shell). This secretion contains a complex composition, including polysaccharides, vitamins A, C, and E, collagen, elastin, proteins, allantoin, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and other beneficial components that are believed to offer a range of skincare benefits. From hydrating the skin to promoting collagen production and soothing irritation, snail mucin has garnered attention for its potential to address various skin concerns.
What Is The Ethical Dilemma Surrounding Snail Mucin?
While snail mucin has become a trendy product promoted at every turn, it’s important to consider the ethical implications of its production process and the potential risks associated with its usage. To be clear, this mucin is not from snails just crawling around– these creatures are stressed or wounded to stimulate mucin secretion, which is then collected for skincare use.
Unlike animal products like beeswax, where the extraction is not only harmless to the animal but is even deemed necessary (so they can replenish their hive), snail mucin extraction is an entirely unnecessary and painful process. This process has raised ethical concerns, especially for those prioritizing animal rights.
What Are The Benefits Of Snail Mucin?
Despite the ethical concerns, snail mucin boasts a range of potential benefits for the skin. Snail mucin is primarily beneficial in helping restore moisture and improve skin texture, making it particularly appealing for individuals with dry or dehydrated skin. Moreover, the presence of AHAs in snail mucin can contribute to gentle exfoliation, promoting a smoother, more radiant complexion.
Additionally, snail mucin is believed to aid in skin repair and regeneration, potentially accelerating the healing process for acne scars and other skin imperfections. With its supposed ability to soothe inflammation and reduce redness, snail mucin has gained a following among those seeking to address sensitive or irritated skin concerns– but let’s dive into why I don’t think this is a good idea.
Why Are Some People Experiencing Negative Reactions?
Recently, an influx of negative reviews has been circulating claiming that snail mucin is causing reactions such as breakouts and irritation. The reason for this likely has to do with it being a natural substance that comes from a biological organism. Simply put, snail mucin is a complex mixture similar to human sweat– just like we sweat when we are stressed out, snails emit mucin when stressed. Unfortunately for those with sensitive or reaction-prone skin, complex mixtures generally mean a higher likelihood of adverse reactions. This is why I recommend that those with sensitive or reactive skin types stick to simple products.
For the most part, people should probably be okay with this product. However, if you have sensitive skin, a damaged skin barrier, or a condition like rosacea, you may want to tread carefully.
What Should I Do If I Want To Try Using Snail Mucin?
If you’re intrigued by the potential benefits of snail mucin and wish to incorporate it into your skincare routine, it’s essential to approach its usage with caution. Conducting a patch test before fully integrating new products into your regimen can help identify any unwanted reactions or sensitivities. This simple yet crucial step can prevent potential skin irritation and discomfort, allowing you to make an informed decision about its suitability for your skin.
Additionally, researching brands that prioritize ethical sourcing and sustainable practices in their snail mucin extraction can offer peace of mind for conscientious consumers. It’s important to note that not all snail mucin is the same. These products can vary depending on where the snails come from, how stressed out they are, or even how the product is handled by the supplier. While your skin may react well to one snail mucin product, there’s still a risk when trying another from a different brand.
What Are Some Alternatives To Using Snail Mucin?
For those seeking hydration without the risks associated with this slimy substance, keep an eye out for products containing humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, as well as polysaccharides like algae. The following are my favorite ways to achieve an extra surge of hydration.
I’ve come to learn that many people do not believe in the power of toners, but I’m here to tell them just how much they’re missing. From a hydration perspective, toners like Moisture Infusion Toner and Elderberry Soothing Toner are great for boosting the skin’s moisture content. Not only that but it’s also thought that damp skin is 10 times more permeable than dry skin, meaning any serums that are applied after will be able to penetrate deeper.
Just remember to follow the Golden Minute rule so that you aren’t dehydrating your skin further!
Hydrating serums like Skin Drink Concentrate, which contains hyaluronic acid (a powerful humectant) and aloe vera, can offer hydration that rivals, if not surpasses, that of the polysaccharides within snail mucin. Due to the simplicity of these ingredients, you’ll also be reducing the likelihood of irritation on your skin.
Not only are they a great source of hydration but moisturizers are also key in strengthening the skin’s barrier, reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and making for overall happier, healthier skin. Products like Phytolipid Comfort Creme, Pure Radiance Creme Masque, and Daily Mattifying Solution all contain algae (or algae extracts), a polysaccharide that keeps the skin plump and hydrated.
Find out more about which moisturizer is right for you.
While some may benefit from its hydrating and skin-repairing properties, the harsh reality of how snail mucin is harvested and the potential risks that it poses may be the reason for its imminent fall from the limelight. Luckily, this is far from the only product that can provide these hydrating, soothing, and skin-healing benefits. While searching for alternatives to snail mucin, especially when dealing with sensitive skin, be sure to look for simple products containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, algae, and aloe, as well as ceramides and peptides.
I hope you found this post helpful and as always #obeyrenee!
Lastly, if you’re looking to minimize (or even completely reverse) the effects of dry skin, here are the best ingredients to use and avoid.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Her hands-on experience as an esthetician and trusted skin care expert has created a real-world solution — products that are formulated for nine different types of skin so your face will get exactly what it needs to look and feel its best. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”