Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Snail mucin (snail slime) is great for your skin – an expert tells us why

Who know the goo that came out of snails was actually good for you

Snail with brown shell sliding along green leaf

Skincare trends come and go, but one unusual ingredient has taken the cosmetics industry by storm as of late: snail mucin. If you pay any attention to Asian skincare lines, you’ve probably encountered products containing the sticky filtrate, like CosRx Snail Mucin Power Essence or Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream. Judging by the overwhelming amount of praise for snail mucin products from skincare aficionados, it’s clear that the ingredient is more than just a gimmick. But what does snail mucin do for the skin, and should you be using it in your routine?

For most of us, a clear, glowing complexion is the ultimate goal, and we’ll try just about any product to achieve it. While snail mucin extract sounds a little off-putting especially if you aren’t fond of slimy garden snails many say that it has numerous benefits, from plumping and hydrating to brightening the skin. To find out whether these claims are true or not, The Manual checked in with David Petrillo, a cosmetic chemist, researcher, and founder of Ahead, we’ll break down everything you need to know about snail mucin and whether it’s a good fit for you.

Brown snail slithering on bright green moss
Pexels/PhotoMIX Company

What is snail mucin?

Like bovine placenta or sheep lanolin, snail mucin is an animal-derived extract with substantial cosmetic benefits. “Snail mucin, also known as snail secretion filtrate or snail slime, is a popular skincare ingredient derived from the secretions of certain species of snails, specifically the common garden snail,” Petrillo tells The Manual. That’s right the same slippery substance you’ve seen streaked across your deck or garden stones? It’s now one of the buzziest ingredients in skincare. 

So what’s in snail extract that makes it so special, anyway? “Snail mucin contains a combination of various components, including glycoproteins, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, enzymes, peptides, and other nutrients,” says Petrillo. “These components are believed to offer several potential skincare benefits.”

As any skincare enthusiast worth their salt knows, ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides promote lasting hydration, while glycolic acid and enzymes are renowned for their brightening properties. And if you’re wondering whether the mucin harvesting process harms snails, you should be safe with K-beauty creams. According to CosRx representatives, animal testing is illegal in Korea, and happy snails produce more mucin. 

Man applying face serum to hand in bathroom
Pexels/Ron Lach

How snail mucin helps your skin

Now that we know what snail mucin is and what it contains, let’s take a closer look at how it can benefit your skin. Not everyone responds the same way to skincare products, of course, but snail mucin is generally regarded as safe and gentle for most skin types.

“Snail mucin is known for its hydrating properties,” Petrillo tells us. “It can help to lock in moisture and provide a barrier that prevents water loss from the skin, leading to improved hydration and a smoother appearance.”

Just as you might expect, snail mucin has a smooth, super-hydrating consistency that ranges from silky to somewhat sticky making it perfect for products like face serums and creams. With that in mind, Petrillo advises that you always use a patch test before applying any new product to your face all at once, especially if you have easily irritable skin.

Yet there are several other benefits to using snail mucin, Petrillo adds. “The glycoproteins and peptides found in snail mucin are believed to have anti-aging effects. They may help to increase collagen production, which can contribute to firmer and more youthful-looking skin.”

Furthermore, says Petrillo, some skincare fans suggest that regular snail mucin use can clear dark spots and uneven skin tone. And if that wasn’t enough to convert you, the powerhouse ingredient is also believed to have soothing and calming properties, too. “Snail mucin has anti-inflammatory properties that may help soothe irritated or sensitive skin, making it suitable for individuals with conditions like acne or rosacea,” says Petrillo.

CosRX Snail Mucin assortment

Which snail mucin products to try

If you’re ready to let snail mucin slide into your skincare arsenal, there are a few things you should know. “Snail mucin is often found in various skincare products, including serums, creams, masks, and moisturizers,” says Petrillo.

Popular snail mucin products include CosRx Snail Mucin 96% Power Repairing Essence, a K-beauty serum that leaves skin feeling soft, plump, and glowing overnight. Plus, Petrillo adds, you can even use snail mucin alongside other skincare ingredients in your routine, such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, and retinol, for an added boost. Depending on your skin type, you may also want to explore using vitamin C, niacinamide, or exfoliators such as AHA or BHA in conjunction with snail mucin. 

Does your skin need more moisture than a serum can deliver alone? Then consider trying a snail mucin moisturizer or cream instead. Though CosRx and other K-beauty lines carry snail filtrate-infused face creams, Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream is one of the most celebrated snail mucin products around. It contains a whopping 40,000 ppm (parts per million) of snail filtrate, as well as soothing plant extracts like Centella Asiatica and mugwort. There are plenty of other snail mucin products to explore, from sheet masks to toners, but another self-care staple to explore is Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Gold Eye Patch. These little undereye patches are loaded with snail mucin and will make you feel like a million bucks with minimal effort. Whichever product you choose, we’re willing to bet you’ll fall in love at first slime. 

Editors' Recommendations

Robyn Song
Robyn is a writer, artist, and content creator from Schenectady, New York. To say she has varied interests would be putting…
At-home spa: Make your own exfoliating face mask with ingredients from your kitchen
Recipes to create your own skincare products from an expert
Man wearing a clay mask

Ever leaf through a women’s magazine and see shots of an otherwise gorgeous model with her hair wrapped in a towel, some creamy goo obscuring her otherwise magnificent features, and cucumbers concealing those $100,000 eyes? Often, the article is about creating skin treatments at home, especially face masks, using everything from avocados to turmeric and vinegar.

Although these straight-from-the-pantry fixes have always been in a woman’s toolbox, they haven’t gotten quite as much attention from men’s sources. What? Like guys don’t have kitchens? (I know I left mine around here somewhere.) In these days of DIY madness, being able to whip up a quick fix for your face can not only make you feel better, but it’s also downright neighborly: That’s one less package that an essential delivery person has to bring from a warehouse to your front door.

Read more
Keep your lips moist and smooth with the 11 best lip balms for men
No more cracked and dry lips with these products
A man putting on lip balm

Whether it's scorching hot or freezing cold outside, it's essential not to neglect a necessary step of your grooming routine: Your chapped lips. It's quite normal that direct exposure to the sun causes our skin -- especially our kissers -- to become dry. That's why we put together the best lip balms for men packed with oils, acids, SPF, and all the crucial ingredients your lips need to thrive this season and beyond.

Try these top products
Below are our favorite lip balms to get ultra-hydrating lips. These choices are the best lip balms for dry lips and for chapped lips and to keep them moist.

Read more
Should you put olive oil on your skin? Derms sound off
Should you apply your favorite cooking ingredient to your skin?
Olive oil poured into a bowl

Typically, we try to keep food off our faces. However, applying food to the skin isn't exactly new. Skin care professionals have put different foods, like berries, in face masks, and at-home recipes also call for adding ingredients like avocado, often reserved for breakfast.

What about olive oil? Not only is olive oil a food, but the word "oil" may be a turn-off, particularly for people with acne-prone skin. Still, applying olive oil directly to the skin and reaping significant benefits has persisted.
"Recently, DIY, or do it yourself, skincare has gained popularity, with many patients preferring home remedies," said Viktoryia Kazlouskaya, MD, Ph.D., the founder and a dermatologist at Dermatology Circle PLLC, in New York. "This is also encouraged by social media and even a few celebrities. Patients often assume that using olive oil is safe, and indeed, it is for many individuals. Olive oil contains triglycerides that moisturize the skin."
That doesn't mean you should grab a bottle of olive oil from your pantry and lather up. Experts explained the benefits of olive oil for the skin and why some people should skip this one.

Read more