Collagen Snail Serum: Skincare’s Latest Must-Have? A Pharmacist Weighs In

We’ll do anything for clear skin right? What if I told you that the latest skincare trend involves applying snail mucin – yes, snail slime – to the face? While the concept might make your eyebrows disappear into your hairline, snail serum has been a K-beauty must-have for a number of years. With its antimicrobial and anti-aging properties, snail serum is reportedly the skincare must-have currently missing from our bathroom cabinets. But is it worth the hype? 

In this article, I’m going to look into the alleged benefits of snail mucin for the skin, and explain how to use collagen snail serum for optimal results. Over the last six weeks I have dried several different snail mucin products and will share my personal results as well as recommendations for anyone thinking about trying snail mucin.

Firstly, What Is Snail Mucin?

Snail mucin, or snail extract, is an excretion produced by snails, and it can be used in various skin care products. While the idea of putting snail slime on your face might gross you out a little, snail mucin can actually be incredibly potent as a skincare ingredient: snail slime has both antioxidant and hydrating properties and is packed with widely-used skincare ingredients such as zinc and hyaluronic acid. When applied topically, snail mucin can hydrate, improve acne scars, and even stimulate collagen production.

Is Snail Slime Safe?

Snail mucin is safe to use on the skin, although I’d always recommend performing a patch test when using any new skincare product. As I’ve explained in some of my other blog posts, skincare allergies are common and can wind up leaving you with some unwanted side effects. Always patch test!

Snail Mucin Benefits

While there haven’t been lots of studies carried out on the direct benefits of snail mucin for skin, snail mucin contains several widely-used, long-established skincare ingredients that most of us already have in our store-bought skincare products. Snail mucin contains the following power-house skincare ingredients:

  • Hyaluronic acid, which provides intense, lightweight hydration while protecting the skin’s barrier
  • Glycolic acid, which helps skin cell turnover and helps fade acne scars, while also stimulating collagen production
  • Glycoproteins, which help stimulate the skin’s natural production of collagen
  • Copper peptides, which provide anti-aging benefits and also stimulate collagen production
  • Zinc, which is known to help repair damaged skin with its antioxidant properties 
  • Vitamin E and A, which are both considered highly potent antioxidants 

Does Snail Serum Hydrate the Skin?

With high concentrations of hyaluronic acid, snail mucin hydrates the skin and locks in essential moisture. If you have acne-prone skin, snail mucin provides a lightweight alternative to heavier, comedogenic hydrating creams or serums. 

So, Does Snail Slime Increase Collagen Production?

As snail mucin is considered a “stress response” excretion, it contains various reparative and antioxidant properties. These properties help repair and renew the skin cells, which in turn helps trigger collagen production. Snail mucin contains several ingredients known to promote collagen production: glycoproteins, copper peptides, and glycolic acid. 

Is Snail Slime Anti-Aging? 

With its antioxidant properties, as well as numerous active ingredients known to stimulate collagen production, snail mucin makes for a great addition to any anti-aging skincare regimen. Snail mucin is also enriched with hyaluronic acid, which plumps up the skin and helps to smooth out any visible signs of aging.

Does Snail Mucus Help Acne?

As snail mucin contains both the hydrating properties of hyaluronic acid, alongside antimicrobial properties and antioxidants, snail mucin is a great anti-acne skincare ingredient. The hyaluronic acid works to protect the skin’s barrier and strengthen the skin’s defense against bacteria (i.e., breakouts) while the zinc in snail mucin helps speed up any existing breakouts. Snail serum is also non-comedogenic, so it won’t trigger breakouts or cause whiteheads to erupt all over your skin. As I’ve already explained in one of my previous blog posts, hyaluronic acid is great for keeping acne-prone skin hydrated without clogging pores. 

When it comes to using snail mucus for acne scars, the glycolic acid in snail mucin helps promote cell regeneration and improves skin texture, while the hyaluronic acid locks in moisture and plumps up the skin, thereby improving the appearance of existing scars.

How to Use Collagen Snail Serum 

So, with the skincare benefits of snail mucin established, onto the most important part: how to use collagen snail serum? You can find snail mucin in masks, serums, and anti-aging moisturizers, but what product is best for each skin type?

As I wanted to give a well-rounded overview of this much-hyped skin care ingredient, I tried and tested some highly recommended snail mucin products and compared them with my current skincare staples. Here’s how I got on:

1. OSRX Snail Mucin Power Repairing Essence

  • Formulated with 96.3% Snail Secretion Filtrate, this essence repairs and rejuvenates the skin from dryness and aging
  • Guarantees long-lasting hydration without heavy feeling on the skin.

After hearing some positive experiences about this snail mucin essence, I decided to give it a go. The concept of this product is simple: it’s a skincare serum that claims to offer barrier-strengthening hydration, combined with a 96% concentration of snail mucin. (Note: if you’re not familiar with layering skincare products, you might be a bit lost with this product: I found that applying this essence after washing my face and before applying my moisturizer was the most logical sequence.)

This repairing essence felt great on my skin: I don’t tend to overload on skincare products (and find that my skin is all the better for it!) but I did appreciate how soft my skin felt afterwards. There was no visible greasiness or overly dewy look, and I did feel that my acne scars were temporarily smoother upon first application. However, I didn’t notice as much of a long-lasting difference on my acne scars as other products I’ve used. My current go-to serum has been CELLRENEW’s Collagen Stem Cell Serum, which I find smoothes any visible texture on my skin and really locks in moisture. I’d give this COSRX essence a 7/10 for its hydrating properties, but I’m not prepared to put down my CELLRENEW serum just yet. 

2. All in One Snail Repair Cream by Mizon

  • Provides outstanding skin care and recovery, solves multiple skin concerns and trouble all-in-one.
  • Effective Formula: Contains snail mucin filtrate, adenosine, peptides, and vitamin 5.

For those of you who aren’t big fans of serums, I decided to test out another snail mucin skin care product: this time, a moisturizing cream. 

This repair cream contained a lower concentration of snail mucin extract (92%) compared with the essence (96%), although this is to be expected from a heavier cream. The cream claimed to be able to provide all-day hydration, while also claiming to erase dark spots, fix under-eye circles, aid skin repair, while also providing anti-acne benefits. Sounds like a skincare miracle in a bottle, right?

When first testing out this cream, I did what any former skincare obsessive always does: I immediately checked the ingredients label for any comedogenic ingredients lurking in the formula. To my disappointment, I found a couple – from hydrogenated vegetable oil to propylene glycol, this cream wasn’t exactly ideal for those with sensitive skin. 

Nonetheless, I proceeded to test the item and found that it did have some redeeming qualities: the cream applied easily and sank quickly into the skin, and I did feel as if my oil production was under control throughout the day. That being said, I was acutely aware that I had applied a moisturizer that had the capacity to break me out with whiteheads – comedogenic ingredients have never mixed well with my acne-prone, sensitive skin. I didn’t feel comfortable sleeping in this cream, so I’ll have give it a 6/10. While I did appreciate the hydrating properties of this product, I can’t ignore its potential for causing breakouts. However, if you don’t have sensitive skin and want a rich moisturizer, this could be an option for you.

Verdict: Is Collagen Snail Serum Worth The Hype?

Overall, I have to admit that I returned to my trusty CELLRENEW serum after testing the two snail mucin products. While snail mucin itself does seem promising on the skincare front, I find that often, skincare manufacturers add far too many ingredients into their products: the snail mucin cream clearly wanted to check every skincare concern box possible, but in the end just finished with a potentially inflammatory formula. For those of you with acne-prone or sensitive skin, I’d recommend shopping around for a pure formula, or stick to skincare ingredients you know such as hyaluronic acid or collagen. 

CELLRENEW – Collagen Stem Cell Serum

  • Ingredients That Target Breakouts & Wrinkles
  • Reduce active breakouts
  • Reduce redness and inflammation while simultaneously increasing collagen and skin elasticity

That being said, if you have a high tolerance for most skincare ingredients, you could benefit from the all-rounder benefits of a snail mucin cream or serum. It’s true that the snail mucin products did provide my skin with lasting, deep hydration – but with my skin being sensitive, I had to switch back to my favorite serum.

Originally Published: February 16, 2022

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Stephanie Nera (Pharmacist)
Analyzed by Stephanie Nera

Hi, I’m Stephanie, a licensed pharmacist, biohacker, and self-proclaimed skincare nerd with a strong background in science and health. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Medical Anthropology from the University of Arizona, followed by extensive experience in medical research and content creation in the supplement industry. My journey took me around the world, from the United States to South America and Asia, enriching my understanding of different cultures and health practices. I graduated cum laude with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Santo Tomas in 2021. Passionate about blending western medicine with holistic approaches, especially in managing conditions like acne and PCOS, I’m passionate about helping others find balanced, informed healthcare paths. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or send a message to GoodGlow!

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