Snail slime is now being touted as the new miracle beauty product in the United States.
While face creams containing snail mucus have been popular in Korea, Greece and Africa for many years, retailers are starting to bring snail creams to the U.S., according to Daily Mail.
While snail creams are primarily marketed as acne solution, the shelled slug's mucus is also believed to reduce pigmentation, scarring and wrinkles.
Snail slime has been used sporadically since the Ancient Greeks recognized its potential. Hippocrates reportedly recommended rubbing crushed snails to relieve inflamed skin. However, slime's beauty potential was rediscovered by chance when Chilean snail farmers noticed their skin healed quickly, with no scars, after handling snails for the French food market.
Daily Mail reported that those same farmers then went on to launch Elicina, a Chilean snail slime product, which enjoyed its 15 anniversary last year.
In 2010, Korean cosmetic company Missha had launched Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream, claiming that the cream is comprised of 70 percent snail extract and is able to sooth, regenerate and heal skin. Another Korean cosmetic company, called Skin, says that its product Prestige Cream d'escargot contains 21 percent snail slime.
Beauty blog Fashionista reports that snail creams can now be found in everything from face wash to shampoo in Côte d'Ivoire local supermarkets, and now it has been popping up in many beauty products in the U.S.
Snail slime, technically called Helix Aspersa Müller Glycoconjugates, is a complex concoction of protein, glycolic acids and elastin that protects the snail skin from being damaged by rocks, twigs, other rough surfaces, infection and UV rays.
"The extract is renowned for its regenerative properties, and facilitates the restoration of damaged tissue and replenishes moisture in skin. It is also effective in treating acne and scarring," Dermatologist Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, told Fashionista.
However, some dermatologists are still skeptical about the powers of snail slime, saying that there is no real scientific evidence to back of the claims being made.
"There is some speculation that the mucin in these slime creams can be anti-inflammatory and calming; however, there are no respected scientific studies to prove that it actually works. For now, I remain skeptical," Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, the co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery said, according to Fashionista.