Our typical skin-care philosophy is, if it makes us look better, we’re willing to try it. But one ingredient, despite its purported benefits, gave us pause: snail cream.

Contrary to what we wanted to believe, snail cream is not a misnomer; it’s any beauty product that contains snail slime, or mucin. Basically, when snails are agitated, they excrete a thick fluid to protect themselves. That fluid is snail slime, which was first used for dermatological purposes in ancient Greece to treat inflammation. Fast-forward a couple thousand years to when snail slime became hugely popular on the Korean beauty scene. And now, it’s firmly in the U.S. markets. But what can it do for your face?

Well, snail slime is packed with many of the ingredients—including hyaluronic acid and peptides—that are commonly added to beauty products. In addition to soothing inflammation, snail creams (like Mizon’s Snail Recovery Gel Cream and Shangpree’s Snail Moisture Mask) can also help fade dark spots, plump creased skin and battle acne, naturally.

While lab studies on the efficacy of snail slime have been largely inconclusive, we say it can’t hurt to try. If for nothing else than to answer the compliment “You are glowing” with “Thanks, it’s snail excrement!” 

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