Imagine making an appointment to have tiny snails crawl across your face, or paying to have snail mucous serums applied to your face after having tiny holes poked into your skin’s surface. Believe it or not, snail slime facials, treatments, and skin care products have become hot topics in the skin care industry, with claims ranging from clearing acne to getting rid of wrinkles. But before you rush to smear this gooey ingredient on your skin, there are a few things you should know. Take a look at some of the reasons why snail mucous in skin care has gained so much popularity, and why it’s probably not worth your time or money.
What’s behind the Snail Skin Care Craze?
Snail slime facials first became popular back in 2013, when a particular med spa in Japan began offering this odd procedure for over $200 per session. Even then, however, skin care experts were skeptical of the effectiveness of this “treatment,” explaining that there are a number of reasons why snail facials aren’t likely to do anything good for your skin . The underlying idea is that snail mucus, also called mucin, contains collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, peptides, antioxidants, and other potentially helpful substances. Some of these can be properly formulated and applied to produce noticeable improvements in the skin’s appearance.
Debunking the Hype
However, the problem with snail facials and skin care products that contain snail slime is that there is no scientific evidence that human skin can benefit from these ingredients when the snail mucin is simply applied to the surface of the skin. Even using treatments that begin by poking tiny holes in the skin’s surface, the concentrations of these substances are likely far too low to do anything good for your skin . A major barrier to slime’s effectiveness is that any peptides or other beneficial ingredients that may be lurking in it are intertwined with the proteins of this substance, making them unavailable and virtually useless to your skin. In short, your skin simply doesn’t work this way–it cannot do anything with large collagen or elastin proteins that are placed on its surface. If you want to stimulate your skin’s own production of collagen proteins deep within the dermis, you need to nourish it with the smaller components that make up all proteins in all living organisms: amino acids. Unlike snail slime, there is a large body of scientific evidence that shows how topically applied amino acids can effectively promote increased collagen production within the skin, even after experiencing UV damage . Therefore, using an expertly formulated amino acid skin care product that contains all 20 of the amino acids required to synthesize proteins truly can help you achieve the smoother, brighter, and younger-looking complexion you want, no snails required.
Snail Slime or Amino Acids? Your Pick
The differences between the peptides and proteins in snail slime and the amino acids in a product like AminoTherapy by AminoGenesis are numerous and hugely important. First, AminoTherapy contains all 20 of the amino acids in the genetic code selectively blended in effective proportions, whereas snail slime contains some amino acids, but not in helpful proportions. Secondly, the amino acids in AminoTherapy are already in their free, bioavailable form, so your skin can readily reap their full benefits. The amino acids of snail mucous are bound up in proteins and not available to the skin cells that need them. Finally, free amino acids have been shown to effectively penetrate the skin and may even help to increase the effectiveness of other skin care ingredients . There is no evidence, on the other hand, that the proteins in snail slime are able to penetrate the skin’s outer barrier, making any effects superficial and temporary, at best. Because free amino acids can trigger your skin to produce more of its own collagen proteins, these ingredients can have lasting effects on the health and beauty of your skin.
 ABC News
 The Guardian
 Amino Acids