Your Complete Guide to Snail Mucin for Skin

Your Complete Guide to Snail Mucin for Skin

I’ve been in the skincare industry for quite some time now, so there’s not much that causes me to raise an eyebrow. People will go to great (and sometimes strange) lengths to get glowing, radiant skin, which is why facials that involves having snail slime microneedled into your skin are currently trending. 

“If you avoid animal-based products or just aren’t crazy about slathering snail secretions on your face, you can still get the hydration and skin-firming benefits from other ingredients.”

  • Shani Darden, esthetician

In reality, using snail secretions (also known as snail mucin) in skincare isn’t new. It’s been a trusted staple in the Korean skincare world for decades. Korean Beauty (aka “K-Beauty”) is currently dominating western beauty trends, so it doesn’t surprise me that more and more people are becoming interested. 

If you have some hesitations about adding snail mucin to your skincare routine, that’s understandable. I’ll explain what it is, what it does, and how to use it. I’ll also cover products that can give you similar results without using animal byproducts. 

What Is Snail Mucin?

Snail mucin, also referred to in the ingredient lists as “snail secretion filtrate” or “SSF,” is quite literally the mucusy substance left behind when a snail travels. If you’re wondering who decided it was a good idea to add it to the skin, wonder no more. 

Snail mucin has been a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries — even the ancient Greeks (including Hippocrates himself) used snail mucin to soothe irritation

What Are the Benefits of Snail Mucin?

It takes a little more than a few ancient philosophers experiencing anecdotal results to make something like snail slime go viral. It’s the chemical makeup of snail mucin that makes it so beneficial for numerous skin types. 

Glycolic Acid

Snail mucin is a natural source of glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that works as a chemical exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants dissolve the bond between dead skin cells and living skin cells so that the dead skin cells can be easily sloughed away. 

In addition to helping reduce the appearance of blemishes, support healthy oil production, and clarify the skin, glycolic acid can help support the shedding of dead skin, which can help ease the look of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Copper Peptides

Peptides are chains of amino acids, which make up proteins. They’re found all over the body and in the skin, where they help your skin create two important proteins: collagen and elastin. These are the proteins that give your skin its fullness, firmness, and elasticity. 

Over time, collagen and elastin production begins to decline, which can leave skin looking thinner, hollow, and sagging. Using topical peptides can help support the appearance of healthy skin. 

Snail mucin contains a particular type of peptide called copper peptide. This peptide works as an antioxidant to protect the skin from the visible effects of free radical damage. It can also help minimize the appearance of dark spots, which can lead to an uneven skin tone. 

One of the most important benefits of copper peptide is that it has cleansing properties. This may help blemish-prone skin experience fewer breakouts and minimize redness and irritation from blemishes.

Hyaluronic Acid and Allantoin

By now, you probably already know that one of the best things you can do for your skin is to make sure it is well-hydrated. Even if you don’t have dry skin, your skin needs moisture. Snail mucin is an excellent source of two natural hydrators: hyaluronic acid and allantoin. 

Hyaluronic acid is able to hold 1,000 times its weight in water, and allantoin can help soothe skin irritation and works as an emollient, keeping skin soft and supple. 

Snail mucin products also tend to have beneficial skincare ingredients that combine to create intensely hydrating, soothing, and brightening effects. And remember — the snail mucin you’ll be using inside your favorite eye cream or serum has been tested and purified for use.

How To Use Snail Mucin Skincare

There are some skincare lines that focus their entire regimen around the inclusion of snail mucin. From their cleansers to their toners, you’ll find it in every product. The truth is, you really don’t need that much. 

Although there are no known side effects, it may be better to layer on multiple ingredients to experience more well-rounded benefits. That said, there are plenty of places where you can insert snail mucin into your skincare routine. Here are a few ways you can make it work.

At-Home Microneedling With Snail Mucin

The popular snail mucin facial that has people clamoring is essentially a microneedle facial with snail mucin. Microneedling works by creating thousands of micro-injuries in the skin that signal the skin to repair itself, which can encourage skin firmness and plumpness. 

Most microneedling facials also combine a high-powdered skincare ingredient that is applied during the treatment. The combination of microneedling helps drive the ingredients deeper into the skin for more intense benefits. 

During a snail mucin microneedling treatment, snail mucin serum is applied to the skin to help support hydration, fade the appearance of fine lines, and reduce the appearance of scars. The result is skin that literally glows and looks radiant, healthy, and rejuvenated. 

Now, you can get the same great benefits of a snail mucin microneedling facial at home with the Dew & Go Microneedling Infusion Stamp. You’ll get the microstamp tool along with the Skin Brew Hydrating Ampoules, which contain snail mucin and moringa leaf extract, an antioxidant that can also brighten the skin.


For those in need of a little extra hydration, adding a snail mucin moisturizer or all-in-one cream can be a good fit. It can also be a good match for your skin if you’re regularly using products that contain beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), intense vitamin C serums, or peels. Sensitive skin types may find these ingredients drying, and snail mucin can help encourage moisture levels and support the skin barrier. 

Despite the benefits, if you’re vegan or avoiding animal byproducts, snail mucin might not be a good fit for you. Questioning your skincare ingredients isn’t a bad thing — it’s a responsible thing. 

What Are Some Alternatives to Snail Mucin?

There are definitely alternatives to snail mucin that can give you the same skincare benefits. Plus, they won’t cause as much of a conundrum for anyone who prioritizes cruelty-free skincare. I’ll tell you about some of my favorites and how you easily incorporate them into your skincare routine. 


All peptide skincare has the goal of helping your skin look plump and firm. Many people use peptides to help counteract the sagging and wrinkles that can show up with age. Using non-copper peptides can be helpful for anyone, especially people who might have a sensitivity to copper.

My Intensive Eye Renewal Cream and Hydration Peptide Cream utilize peptides to offer the same hydration and skin benefits without animal involvement. 

Hyaluronic Acid

You can get the hydrating benefits of snail mucin with plain old hyaluronic acid. Also called sodium hyaluronate, it’s available from vegan sources and is just as beneficial to your skin in terms of hydration. 

I’m a huge fan of plant-based hyaluronic acid and include it in my proprietary hydration blend, which includes Hydrosella™. This compound is formulated to keep skin hydrated for up to 72 hours after application. 

Hyaluronic acid can also have a balancing effect on the skin’s oil production, so if you have oily skin, using hyaluronic acid may help keep your skin looking clear and even.


Protecting the skin barrier is an important part of any skincare routine. The skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin, and it’s made up of lipids and proteins. When it’s damaged, you can experience damage to deeper layers of your skin. 

Squalane is one of my favorite ingredients for skin barrier protection. It’s a natural lipid that is naturally found in the skin’s sebum but can also be harvested from plants. Adding it to your skin can help support the moisture barrier that locks hydration in deep and prevents moisture loss. 


Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is a natural retexturing ingredient that can help minimize the appearance of pores, even out skin tone, and fade the appearance of dark spots. It’s powerful yet gentle for even the most sensitive skin types. 


Another skin barrier supporter that I consider essential is ceramides. Ceramides are lipids that help create a physical barrier on the skin that protect it from the visible effects of external aggressors like pollution. Ceramides offer similar hydration and protection benefits as allantoin, making them a good alternative.

You can find ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and squalane in my Hydration Peptide Cream, which is safe for everyday use. 


You all know I love retinol, and there’s just no comparison to the anti-aging benefits it offers. The glycolic acid content in snail mucin may give it skincare benefits, but retinol can offer the same exfoliating benefits and so much more. 

Retinol can help:

  • Smooth rough, uneven skin texture
  • Fade the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Blur skin imperfections
  • Reduce the appearance of blemishes

The problem I have with most retinol products is that they’re just too harsh — that’s why I created my best-selling Retinol Reform®. This revolutionary new product works without causing redness or irritation to the skin like other retinol-based products because it includes time-released, encapsulated retinol. While you sleep, retinol is time-released, so your skin gets all the benefits and none of the irritation. 

In just two weeks of use, you can literally watch your skin transform into more radiant, rejuvenated skin. 

Snail Mucin or Not, It’s Up to You

Between hydration and brightening effects, snail mucin certainly offers some impressive skin benefits. However, you don’t have to use snail mucin to get similar results. If you avoid animal-based products or just aren’t crazy about slathering snail secretions on your face, you can still get hydration and skin-firming from other ingredients.

To learn more about cutting-edge skincare and how you can support your skin, check out my blog


A Slimy Story: Snail Mucus | JSTOR Daily

The ethics of snail mucin | The Outline

Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin | PMC

Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin | The American Journal of Pathology

Collagen-like peptide exhibits a remarkable antiwrinkle effect on the skin when topically applied: in vivo study | PMC


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