Eww… Snail cream sounds like something slimy you’d feed pond fish or make toy goo with. It is certainly not the most glamorous name for an anti-ageing skin treatment. However, it is not new. The active ingredient, a mucus, was used as far back as 2,500 years ago. It was revered for its ability to soothe inflammation and diminish scars. Now some maturing women can barely live without it.
I first used a snail cream around three years ago, after seeing it advertised on an Asian skin care platform. It took about two months to arrive, so it was a bit of a surprise when it finally came – I’d forgotten I ordered it!
I found it worked well, especially on the delicate area below the eyes, and was quite disappointed when the product ran out. However, I was not tempted to re-order – my face could not wait months. Holland & Barrett had a great snail cream.
Snail extract is an almost essential ingredient in skin care products manufactured for the South American and East Asian market. It’s popular in Europe too.
If you have ever wondered what snail cream is and what it does, I’ve put together a short guide. Hint – it’s not just any old ‘goo’.
What Are Snail Creams Made Of?
Snail extract is what this cream is all about. The liquid ingredient used in products sold in the UK will most likely have been extracted from Helix Aspersa (a type of common garden snail). A snail will naturally secrete the goo, but scraping it off the ground is not a sanitary option. Farmers, who supply manufacturers, say they use humane methods to collect the light gel. They then filter it.
There has been a strong emphasis on cruelty-free products in recent years and, for this reason, many extraction specialists have come under intense scrutiny. The equipment they use to collect the ‘slime’ and the overall cleanliness of commercial farms are required to meet strict standards. Ensuring farmed snails are not harmed by the extraction process is a top priority, the industry says.
Certainly, early extraction methods were cruel. They involved dipping snails in salt solutions. Today, technology does the work with snails undergoing the process six times a year. Some snails can live for more than two decades, so that should be an incentive for farmers to take care of them.
PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has highlighted its ongoing concerns about extraction methods.
How Do Snail Creams Help The Skin?
As well as calming the skin and reducing inflammation, the humble snail cream is packed with anti-ageing properties.
It is known for its ability to speed up the body’s production of collagen, which makes the skin plumper and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. The cream achieves this with allantoin, a strong antioxidant, one of the many attributes of snail extract.
It is rich in copper peptides and glycolic acid too, which can help to renew the skin and give it a smoother surface. Importantly, the extract contains hyaluronic acid. This is essential to keep the skin soft and hydrated.
How To Use A Snail Cream
A skin product containing snail exact can be applied as a day or night cream. It will deliver effective moisturisation and should be used as part of a regular skin care routine to have visible benefits.
Our Snail Cream Picks
We have taken a look around the web and have chosen these products to highlight, based on buyer reviews, price and delivery options. For further information about each product, click on an image.
*All prices correct at the time of publishing.
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