Snails for skin care: properties and uses of snail slime, but also about many curiosities that few know about one of the most sought-after ingredients in modern cosmetics, for all skin types: dry, oily, acneic, mature, with spots ..
Snail slime has always been used in cosmetics and medicine for its moisturizing, regenerative, soothing, exfoliating, lightening, purifying, normalizing and anti-aging properties. What do we actually know about it? let’s do some clarity!
Snails for skin care: what Snail slime is
First of all, snail slime is not the slimy, sticky foam you can imagine. 100% pure snail slime is a clear gel, similar to a hydrogel. It is an extract rich in nutrients, such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial peptides, collagen, elastin, proteins, glycolic acid, vitamins A and E, all substances commonly used in cosmetics and which have been shown to be beneficial for the skin.
Snail slime is obtained from snails, terrestrial gastropod molluscs belonging to the Helicidae family, those with shells to be clear, not from the naked snail! and usually in italian farms Helix aspersa Muller or helix pomatia are preferred.
Those who breed them know that snails are hibernating during the winter and wake up in spring. The “snail slime” is a secretion produced by mucous glands located on the “foot”, that is, on the part of the body that crawls in contact with the ground. To be precise, according to a study published in Zoology in 2017, “Snail mucus – glandular origin and composition in Helix pomatia” Helix pomatia would have at least five different types of mucous gland glands (three are located on the dorsal side and two on the ventral side of the plant of the foot), Helix aspersa four, while from the histological point of view the glands of both species similarly produce acidic proteins and acidic glycosaminoglycans. The snails produce the drool to facilitate their movement, to adhere to a substrate while they feed on it and when they meet and “choose”.
The slime produced by quality farms is then microfiltered, i.e. deprived of any bacterial, pathogenic and various impurities, allowing it to be so pure and usable. We at erboristeriacomo.it have selected for our customers products made by Helix aspersa, which we will talk about a little later.
Snail slime: properties
Snail slime is ideal for all skin types as it is a natural regulator for the production of sebum, which is at the base of acne, blackheads, dermatitis, oily or dry skin with an irregular surface. Here for the snail slime the numerous properties that are attributed to it are those of:
- moisturize and regenerate: stimulating the production of collagen fibers, elastic fibers and hyaluronic acid and counteracting the action of enzymes that degrade them
- fight acne, thanks to its sebum-regulating action
- eliminate skin spots
- counteract stretch marks and red scars, promoting tissue repair
- protect from smog and UV rays, thanks to its antioxidant action
- protect against skin aging.
Snail slime: what it contains
As we have said, snail slime is rich in numerous ingredients that are precious for our skin. Here they are specifically:
- allantoin: known for its exfoliating action, it removes dead skin cells and supports the regulation of sebum, it has astringent properties and is therefore particularly suitable for oily and impure skin. It is also helpful for wound healing, smoothing and cell regeneration;
- elastin: it is a protein also present in our connective tissue, gives elasticity and counteracts the appearance of wrinkles and the loss of skin tone;
- collagen: it is a component of the skin structure, it goes to cement the skin tissues and restore their renewal. With age, collagen production slows down and cellular structures weaken, the skin becomes thinner, tends to yield and lose firmness and firmness, and finally expression lines, various sagging and wrinkles appear. For this reason it is advisable to use cosmetics that contain it, going to counteract the natural decrease that occurs in our body;
- vitamins. In particular: vitamin A promotes cell renewal, improves skin hydration and makes it more elastic, it is perfect for dry and dehydrated skin and to slow down the appearance of wrinkles and excellent as a sebum regulator and against acne itself. Vitamin C strengthens the supporting action of collagen, giving a more compact and illuminated skin and being a well-known antioxidant, it fights free radicals and skin aging, as well as being a good healing agent. Last but not least, is vitamin E, which prevents the deterioration of collagen fibers (a consequence of exposure to oxidative factors, smog, smoke and sun), thus preserving healthy, hydrated and radiant skin. but it is also moisturizing and soothing and helps prevent and fight aging;
- natural proteins: they help keep the skin dry and soft;
- glycolic acid: exfoliating, perfect for renewing the skin and making it more toned and luminous;
- peptides: they are important for their purifying and regenerating action;
- mucopolysaccharides: main components of the fundamental substance of connective tissue, they are essential molecules for the body and for the skin. In contact with water, they swell, forming a gel that guarantees the correct hydration of the skin;
- minerals: they mainly have a nourishing, soothing, plumping, elasticizing and regenerating function.
Snail slime for skincare: scientific studies
Scientific studies on snail slime are numerous, given the growing interest in this natural substance considered precious. Here we mention three, also published on PubMed:
- in a study published in PubMed in 2018 entitled “HelixComplex snail mucus exhibits pro-survival, proliferative and pro-migration effects on mammalian fibroblasts”, using various in vitro tests on fibroblast cultures, it was found that the Helix aspersa Muller protects cells from apoptosis (p <0.05) and, importantly, the biological effects of snail slime are attributable to the fact that it appears to be able to significantly induce cell proliferation and migration through direct mechanisms and indirect, paving the way for further investigation into the potential of snail slime as a therapeutic agent;
- in a recent study published in 2020 entitled “Functional properties of chitosan films modified by snail mucus extract”, the aim was to explore the physico-chemical properties of chitosan-based films added with snail slime extracted from Helix Aspersa Muller (HelixComplex) . For this purpose, chitosan films with different snail slime content were manufactured by a simple solvent casting technique. The results of X-ray diffraction analyzes, mechanical tensile tests, infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetry showed that the addition of snail slime strongly modifies the properties of the chitosan films. In particular, it acted as a plasticizer increasing the extensibility of the films up to ten times and strongly improving the water barrier and the bioadhesion properties, with a trend dependent on the snail slime content. In addition, it provides the films with antibacterial properties and improved cytocompatibility;
- always among the most recent studies, also published on PubMed, here is one of 2020 entitled: “HelixComplex snail mucus as a potential technology against O3 induced skin damage”. In this study, the researchers analyzed the bioadhesive efficacy of Helix aspersa slime (Helixcomplex) and its defensive properties against ozone (O3) exposure (0.5 ppm for 2 hours) in human keratinocytes and models of reconstructed human epidermis. The regenerative and bioadhesive properties of HelixComplex have been confirmed, the latter perhaps through the characteristic mucopolysaccharide composition. Additionally, HelixComplex was able to protect against O3 exposure by preventing oxidative damage and the resulting pro-inflammatory response. Based on this study, the researchers conclude that HelixComplex can be suggested as a potential new protective technology against pollution-induced skin damage.
Snails for skin care: snail slime products selected for you by erboristeriacomo.it
We at erboristeriacomo.it have selected for our customers the 100% pure snail slime, serums and snail-based creams of the Helix Aspersa Muller species, which you can find here, under the Lumea brand, made at the agricultural company Val Tassobbio Canossa srl, a company in the Lecco area a few kilometers from us that we personally went to visit. At this company a young but expert graduate agronomist was able to put her passion and skills into practice by breeding Helix aspersa Muller snails on her own and cultivating on site the main ingredients that you will find in snail slime cosmetics, obviously 100% Made, with ethical methods. In Italy as well as obviously natural and precious.
The slime produced is microfiltered, i.e. deprived of any bacterial, pathogenic and various impurities, allowing it to be so pure and usable. In addition to the high quality of the ingredients of the products selected by us, the texture and natural formulation of these products is also excellent. It should be emphasized that they are excellent for all skin types, even those with acne and at this time they are highly recommended against mask acne.
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