Slugs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails … that’s what boys are made of, right?

It seems like we’re doing more and more to keep ourselves looking younger: the regenerative properties of the body decline with age, which unfortunately includes our beloved skin! So what’s this latest fashion of using snail mucin (that’s your run-of-the-mill snail slime!) on our faces? We’ve been seeing loads of people investigating the possibility of snail slime benefits, including from The Healthy Skin Blog. With promises of super moisturising properties and anti-ageing benefits, The Geeks thought it was time to get to the bottom of this new trend that’s oozing onto the beauty scene!

One study looked at the effect of using snail mucin on human keratinocytes (a type of skin cell), and found that it might actually promote skin regeneration through encouraging cell growth and proliferation: they found that the mucin improved cell survival and increased the activity of a signalling pathway that regulated growth. Additionally, they found that the mucin-treated cells were more motile and expressed more molecules that help them stick to other cell types… very interesting stuff!

Another research group carried out a trial looking at how snail mucin could help photoaged skin. Excessive exposure to UV light causes premature ageing of the skin (another good reason to stay away from the tanning beds!); reversing this process is tricky to say the least, and is an area of great interest in the beauty world! The trial was a 2-centre, double-blind (neither researchers nor patients knew who was getting active ingredient vs. placebo), randomised 14 week study of 25 patients with moderate to severe photoaged skin. Their results showed decreased “periocular rhytides” – that’s a decrease in wrinkles around the eyes – in those patients receiving the snail slime-containing treatments, which included both an emulsion and a liquid serum.

Snail mucin has been found to contain a molecule called allantoin. Allantoin has a number of established properties, including activating wound healing, stimulating cell division and increasing hydration. All good things for keeping our skin healthy. A study modelling the skin regeneration process stimulated by allantoin aimed to dissect the nature of this intriguing process: they found that allantoin helped regulate inflammatory processes associated with tissue damage, promoting early initiation of healing processes like skin cell growth and re-formation of the skin’s extracellular matrix. Whilst we’re not looking to use allantoin-containing snail slime to heal major wounds, the same healing process is key for maintaining health skin that can become damaged by everyday living, so promoting skin healing is a prize-winning beauty property in our eyes!

Whilst some people are calling snail slime “the secret to health skin” and we’re starting to find slime-infused products on the high street, we really must ask ourselves how far we’re willing to go for beauty! So although the research is looking promising, we’ll be holding off on buying into snail slime until we see some larger data sets: we just can’t quite bring ourselves to slather snail slime all over us yet. But for hardcore Beauty Buffs, it’s nice to see that their commitment isn’t wasted on snail slime!

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References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22171745

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23652894

http://www.stylebistro.com/Beauty+Trend+Report/articles/gvCeN_b0Zzk/Now+Trending+Beauty+Aisle+Snail+Beauty+Products

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-86502010000500014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24239039

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20877959

http://www.thehealthyskinblog.org/snail-slime-scam-or-panacea/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/health/good-life/10508502/snail-slime-healthy-skin.html

http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/dr-organic-snail-gel-60012188

Image reference: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/69/Grapevinesnail_01.jpg

Loved this article? We think you’ll like these ones too!

Ask the Expert- Can Stem Cells teach us the secrets of skin ageing?

O-Placenta, make me young again!

Fountain’s “The Beauty Molecule”