The bizarre ingredient that may change the way we look at skincare.

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We all know that familiar crunch when we step on a snail after a rainy day, but we’re used to finding them on the ground--not in our skincare products! Believe it or not, snail slime is making its way onto our shelves and you don’t have to harm a single snail to reap the benefits of this new anti-aging ingredient.

The mucus secreted from snails is actually incredibly beneficial for your skin. “Snails produce mucus to protect themselves and regenerate when they’re exposed to harmful radiation,” says Dr. Booth, a naturopathic doctor at Darou Wellness. “The mucus contains growth factors that stimulate regeneration of the skin’s collagen and cell matrix; it harnesses its natural protective mechanism.” The regeneration helps on acne scarring, dryness and hyperpigmentation to make your skin look and feels its best.

So what does that mean for skincare regimens? Snail mucus contains proteins, hyaluronic acid and an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase that works to regenerate and repair damaged skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Over time, it improves your overall complexion while smoothing and protecting your skin from future harm by minimizing melanin abnormalities that increase premature skin aging.

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Before you make a mad dash to check your skincare products for this bizarre ingredient, first know that the snail’s mucus is harvested and processed into a powdery substance, which is then added to lotions, serums and moisturizers. It’s virtually undetectable and is a lightweight moisturizer with a smooth texture.

Because snail mucus has only been on the market for a short time, its long-term effects haven’t yet been established. “Research shows that snail mucus products are well tolerated and adverse reactions are rarely seen,” says Dr. Booth. “As with any new skincare product, I recommend that you test it on a small area of skin for at least three days to make sure it is well tolerated before applying it to your face.”

While this bizarre new trend may deter some from trying it out, the benefits of using products that contain snail mucus definitely outweigh the initial “ew” factor. Besides, snail mucus isn’t the only oddly derived ingredient in commonly used skincare products. “Hyaluronic acid for example is derived from fermenting genetically modified bacteria,” says Dr. Olivia Rose, a naturopathic doctor in Toronto. “Since it isn’t advertised, it’s easier to accept than snail mucus which is arguably more ‘natural.’”

Beauty products available containing snail mucus include lip balms, skin serums, creams, and facial and eye masks. Whether you’re looking for an anti-aging or a soothing face cream, snail slime may be just the new answer to a smooth and refreshed complexion!