Snail Mucin - Skincare's Secret Weapon

snail mucin skincare ingredient guide

Snail mucin is an increasingly popular skincare ingredient and also one which is incredibly misunderstood. Mucin is the name for the smooth slime that snails secrete while they move, but if you think that means you'll be applying smelly slime to your face, think again!

The mucin is harvested, procesed and treated like any other skincare ingredient - so no sliminess guaranteed. And you certainly won't have to let any snails anywhere near you.

Snails have been used on the skin for their restorative properties for thousands of years. Hippocrates - the father of modern medicine - recommended crushed snails for healing skin, and they have been used in French skincare products for over 200 years. More recently, edible snail farmers noticed their hands were smoother and wounds healed quicker after after handling their snails, which attracted the attention of the modern skincare industry. . 

Packed Full of Big Ingredients

Snail mucin has become so popular as it contains many compounds that are familiar ingredients in skincare products. In fact the properties list of snail mucin reads like a 'who's who' of the big hitting skincare ingredients.

The slimy secretions include hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, peptides and elastin, while also boosting collagen production. 

Be More Snail

Snails need to stay wet to enable them to glide on their slime. The Hyaluronic Acid in their mucin has the same effect on our skin, attracting and retaining mositure to give a hydrated and plump appearance. 

The soft body of a snail is vulnerable to damage and injury as it makes it way slowly through the world. The proteins, peptides and elastin are great for healing the skin, including acne scars. They also help to even out skin tone and fade hyperpigmentation. 

Come Out Of Your Shell

Snail mucin boosts collagen and elastin which firms and tightens the skin, reducing the apprearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This can feel quite strange at first, as the tightening effect is quick once you have applied the mucin. 

The humble snail needs to protect itself from infection, so its mucin has anti-microbial properties. This makes it great for skin prone to acne and breakouts as it fights the bacteria that can cause this. 

Finally, snails need to stay glossy (and look fabulous of course!). The glycolic acid in their mucin aides exfoliation, removes dead skin cells and helps the skin stay smooth. 

Is It Ethical? 

Snails have been eaten by humans for thousands of years, but thankfully extracting their mucin doesn’t involve killing the snail. Methods of mucin harvesting vary between manufacturer, so since we stock COSRX we’re detailing how they do it.

COSRX extract the mucin from Giant African Land Snails which can grow up to 4cm long. They have been tested to make sure they are safe for humans. The snails are farmed rather than wild for quality purposes.

Farmed Snails

To collect the mucin the snails are left to glide over a mesh in a darkened room, and the mucin is collected from the mesh once the snails have been removed. The snails are then put back on the farm to graze. The mucin is processed into a filtrate and then into the finished product. 

While the snail’s are reported to be treated well it certainly doesn’t qualify as vegan. For an in-depth look at the ethics of snail mucin harvesting read Gaby De Valle’s comprehensive article published in The Outline. 

How To Use

Given it’s many applications, adding a snail mucin-based step to your routine can only be beneficial. It can be used daily, preferably in your evening routine to let the ingredients work their magic overnight. 

Refresh Recommends…..


COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence 100ml

This powerful essence contains a huge 96% of filtered snail mucin to maximise the benefits of this great all-round ingredient. With an ingredient this potent and with so many applications, COSRX have let the humble snail take centre stage.

Have you been using a product with snail mucin as part of your routine? Share your experiences with the skincare community in the comments below. 

Here at Refresh Skincare we source the best skincare products from Korea. Subscribe to our newsletter to save 10% on your first order and be the first to hear about new products and special offers. 


About the Author

Priscilla Puga


Skincare fanatic and co-founder of Refresh Skincare

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