Could Snail Extract Enhance the Face?

Are there any benefits in applying snail extract to your face?

Are there any benefits in applying snail extract to your face?

This question came to mind as I passed by a Korean supermarket’s skincare shop and received a small bottle containing a green substance that was labeled as “Snail Solution Emulsion” from a nice Korean lady’s shopping bag.

She said it was for “sensitive skin, acne, fading acne scars, and wrinkles.”

Although the idea of applying snail extract to my face disgusted me, I was intrigued by how it could be used to treat a variety of skin problems. I wanted to learn the science behind it.

One study found that the regenerative properties of the secretion of the snail Cryptomphalus aspersa (SCA) is due to the following:

• Possession of antioxidant superoxide dismutase and glutathione-S-transferase activities.

• Stimulation of fibroblast proliferation, actin cytoskeleton rearrangement, and extracellular matrix assembly.

• Regulation of metalloproteinase activities.1

In a 2-center, double-blind, randomized study, 25 women ages 35 to 65 with moderate to severe facial photo damage were treated each morning with 8% SCA emulsion and sunscreen for sun protection, as well as every evening with 40% SCA serum, on one side of the face for 12 weeks. The other side of the face was treated with placebo at the same times (0% SCA emulsion at each morning and 0% SCA serum each night). Compared with the placebo group at weeks 8, 12, and 14, the researchers found that daily application of the SCA emulsion and serum improved the texture around the eye and mouth.2

While these results are promising, the study’s limitation to females in a certain age range with certain skin types hinders its conclusion.

Regardless, there is science to support the regenerative properties of SCA’s secretion. Unless you are allergic to snails, it doesn’t hurt to try a snail skincare product to see if it actually works for your skin.

References

1. Brieva A, Philips N, Tejedor R, et al. Molecular basis for the regenerative properties of a secretion of the mollusk cryptoamphalus aspersa. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2008;21(1): 15-22.

2. Fabi SG, Cohen JL, Peterson JD, et al. The effects of filtrate of the secretion of the cryptomphalus aspersa on photoaged skin. J Drugs Dermatol. 2014;12(4):253-7.