Snail slime is a kind of mucus, an external bodily secretion which is produced by snails, gastropod mollusks. Land snails and slugs produce mucus, but so does every other kind of gastropod, from marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats. The reproductive system of gastropods also produces mucus internally from special glands.
Externally, one kind of mucus is produced by the foot of the gastropod, and is usually used for crawling on, the other kind of external mucus is designed to coat the external parts of the body of the gastropod; in land species this coating helps prevent desiccation of the exposed soft tissues. The foot mucus of a gastropod has some of the qualities of a glue and also some of the qualities of a lubricant, allowing land snails to crawl up vertical surfaces without falling off.The slime trail that a land gastropod leaves behind is often visible as a silvery track on surfaces such as stone or concrete.
Mucus is a gel consisting of a polymer network that functions as a protective layer for the integument and mucosal surfaces of both simple animals and mammals The mucus of gastropods is used not only as a coating to cover the surfaces on which the snail crawls and a coating to cover the exposed soft parts of the body, but also sometimes to allow a resting snail to adhere passively to surfaces such as rock, making a temporary sealing structure called the epiphragm. Mucus is produced by glands of the snail’s foot, specifically a large gland located below the mouth.
Many mollusks, both marine and terrestrial species, when inactive, use the secretion to stick to various surfaces. However, it is unexpected that a gel so diluted that it can commonly act as a lubricant, can also have such strong adhesive properties. In Helix aspersa there are two types of secretion. One type is translucent and not adhesive, the kind that the snail leaves behind as it moves the slime trail, and a similar but thicker, condensed, more viscous and elastic kind, which is used to adhere to various surfaces. Both are clearly differentiated by the type of proteins present in them.
A snail releases different kinds of mucus depending on the way it is stimulated. When the stimulation is normal the slime is viscous sticky but if the snail is disturbed continuously or even violently, it releases clear foamy secretions. In the case of Helix aspersa, the discharge is composed of synthesized products from various types of secretory glands. These are all single cell glands found in connective tissue and secrete their products via pores that pass between the epidermal cells. They are of various shapes and usually have a long excretory duct. There are eight different types of secreting glands. Four of these different types of mucus secreted protein, calcium, pigments, and lipids.
Snail slime is currently used in human cosmetics, however this is perceived by some as a hoax. Snail slime was traditionally used medicinally from Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages internally against gastrointestinal ulcers, and in the form of syrup, to soothe a cough.
Snail slime is commercially obtained from the common garden snail species Helix aspersa, which produces a secretion rich in proteins of high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. The secretion of the snail supposedly has a double function when applied to human skin: on one hand it is claimed to stimulate the formation of collagen, elastin and dermal components that repair the signs of photoaging and, second, is claimed to minimize the damage generated by free radicals that are responsible for premature skin aging.
Snail slime varies in appearance and quality of according to the environmental conditions, season, and food sources used by the snails. These factors supposedly determine the quality of the slime and, therefore the properties of a product made with it.
Snails – or more accurately, their guts and slime – have become the latest fad in skin care. Hailed for its active ingredients, snail extract is popping up in beauty lines across South America and skin care mecca South Korea. Both low- and high-end companies have taken to the sticky ingredients, which debuted on the market in the mid ’90s and range from seemingly tame to slightly bizarre BB Cream features “mucus from red ginseng-fed snails”.
“I spotted it while on holiday in Korea and noticed it was flying off the shelves,” said Paris B, 35, a beauty blogger for Mywomenstuff.com. “Although gross-sounding, the [Tony Moly Intense Repair Live Snail] cream seemed to be beneficial … and it did seem to make my skin feel softer and finer.”
What’s so appetizing about slime? In 2006, Chilean farmers reportedly noticed visibly smoother skin after handling snails they were breeding for the French food market. Packed with glycolic acid and elastin, a snail’s secretion protects its own skin from cuts, bacteria, and powerful UV rays, making mother nature’s gooeyness a prime source for proteins that eliminate dead cells and regenerate skin.
It’s a treatment that that has been used as far back as ancient Greece: Hippocrates reportedly prescribed a mixture of sour milk and crushed snails for skin inflammations. These days, it’s marketed as an acne treatment, spot and scar remover, and burn healer.
“It’s a 100 percent pure and natural product that allows them to replace the typical chemical skin creams,” said spokesman Christian Plaut of Andes Nature, which sells a popular snail cream in South America. “Consumers must usually buy several creams separately to get the same benefits.”
TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas, are still skeptical. “Without any solid data or science behind its cosmetic benefits for the skin, I would caution spending a lot of money or testing if your skin is sensitive,” Thomas said. “If those aren’t factors for you – then this may be just the new bird-poop facial for you.”
The scientific name for snail slime is Helix Aspersa Müller Glycoconjugates. Snails produce the thick slime when facing adversity. The slime contains proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, glycoprotein enzymes, hyaluronic acid, copper peptides, antimicrobial peptides, copper, zinc and iron.
The snail slime in snail cream moisturizes and protects skin. It helps promote the natural healing process, enhances skin’s ability to recover, dissolves dying cells, triggers skin regeneration and repair and helps the skin produce antimicrobials that fight infection.
You can use snail cream as a moisturizer. It also treats acne, stretch marks, scars and sun damage. There are a lack of scientific studies that prove that snail cream cosmetics can deliver the same benefits of pure snail slime.
Katie Holmes is trying to improve her complexion with Snail slime.The star is rubbing in face creams enriched with mucin, a protein from the molluscs.
Pals insist the Hollywood beauty, 34 — who split from Tom Cruise last year — loves the results.
One said: “Last year was hard for Katie. “She knows she’s got a lot of catching up to do in her career and is going all out to look amazing for auditions to land a dream film role. A friend recommended using snail gel and she’s really happy with how smooth her skin looks. ”Mucin’s apparent properties were discovered after Chilean farm workers picking snails from crops noticed their hands getting smoother.