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Snail mucin skin care, such as the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream and Sleeping Mask, has been popular for years in South Korea. As the popularity of these products rise in the United States, many readers have questioned whether products with snail mucin are really good for the skin. The following review of these two products from the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Line will answer this question as well as help you decide if these products are right for you.
The science behind snail mucin skin care
Snail mucin is a combination of glycolic acid, proteins, enzymes, and sugars. This slimy substance is naturally secreted by snails, allowing them to glide over surfaces as well as helping them to heal quickly any sharp twigs or rocks are encountered. The theory with snail mucin skin care is that applying this slime to our own skin will also offer healing benefits.
The benefits evidenced from snail mucin are generally just from additional glycolic acid and hydrators like hyaluronic acid. Personally, I would prefer to put a concentrated glycolic acid solution on my face, in a concentration I can monitor for both results and sensitivity. For instance, if I’m using a 15% glycolic acid and getting great results, I might bump it up to 20%. But if 20% leaves my skin irritated, I’ll go back down to 15%. You can’t do that with snail mucin. Plus, the concentrations of Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream and Sleeping Mask are low: 70% and 15%, respectively. Other products have much higher concentrations of snail slime extract, such as Mizon All-In-One Snail Repair Cream which contains 92% snail excretion.
Both the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream and Sleeping Mask claim to help those who want a product to improve the skin’s texture. The only evidence that snail mucin can help with skin texture is from a 2008 study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, which concluded, “Skin care products that include the soluble serum [snail mucin] help to orchestrate the correct assembly of the extracellular matrix, and avoid excess or abnormal scars, including acne scarring.” Therefore, if atrophic (sunken in) scars are a problem for you, snail mucin could potentially benefit your skin.
While snail mucin itself may not be the most beneficial skin care ingredient, it serves a secondary purpose in the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Line by helping other active ingredients better penetrate the skin.
This is accomplished due to the presence of cyclodextrins in snail mucin. Cyclodextrins (CD) are a family of cyclic oligosaccharides with a hydrophilic outer surface and a lipophilic central cavity. Due to the large size of CD molecules as well as multiple hydrogen donors and acceptors, they generally do not permeate lipophilic membranes. Thus, CDs have primarily been used in the pharmaceutical industry as complexing agents to increase aqueous solubility of poorly soluble drugs and to increase their bioavailability and stability. (J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2010)
In the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream and Sleeping Mask, cyclodextrin helps ingredients such as glycerin, butylene glycol, and vitamin E to better penetrate the skin, thereby making them more effective.
Baobab tree extract
The baobab tree is known as “the upside down tree” since it gives off the impression that its roots reach towards the sky. Found in several African countries, the juice from this tree has been used since ancient times due to its high concentration of vitamins A and C, protein, and calcium. In fact, the Baobab’s Integral Antioxidant Capacity (IAC) “is ten times higher than orange pulp due to the abundant presence of ascorbic, citric, malic and succinic acids.”
Antioxidants, such as baobab tree extract as well as several others found in the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Line, are excellent ingredients to include in skin care products as they help the body defend against free radicals, one of the four major contributors to skin aging.
Portulaca Oleracea Extract
The Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream contains Portulaca Oleracea Extract, otherwise known as purslane. Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant. (Biomed Res Int. 2014) Additionally, a publication in BioMed Research International shares how purslane also contains high levels of vitamins E, C, and beta carotene. All 3 of these ingredients are powerful antioxidants that can help to brighten your complexion and even prevent future signs of aging by reducing UV-induced damage.
Science has proven that there are some benefits to using snail mucin on the skin, such as helping with acne scarring and helping to boost the absorption of other ingredients. I personally keep to concentrated ingredients which offer predictable and effective results. Plus, the concentrations of snail slime extract in both the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream and Sleeping Mask are low when compared to other snail mucin skin care. However, the snail mucin does offer the ability to help other beneficial ingredients like the baobab tree extract and portulaca oleracea extract better penetrate the skin.
Sleeping Mask Ingredients: Phytoncide Water, Snail Slime Extract, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Behenyl Alcohol, Baobab Tree Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Centella Asiatica Meristem Cell Culture, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sucrose Polystearate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbitol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Perfume
Cream Ingredients: Snail Secretion Filtrate, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat, Adansonia Digitata Seed Extract, Arbutin, Bis-PEG-18 , Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG-11 Methyl Ether Dimethicone, Sea Water, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Centella Asiatica Meristem Cell Culture , Xanthan Gum, Fragrance(Parfum), Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Limonene