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Snail extract: miracle skincare ingredient

The new darling of all those who dream of baby soft skin in record time, the snail has proved to be a real miracle for the epidermis. While some appreciate them for their taste, these molluscs have been discovered more recently to have cosmetic properties too. Here’s how.

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Try beauteous® PureHelix Snail Renewal Cream, $36.80 (NZD), made in New Zealand - NO Parabens, Diazolydinyl urea, Phenoxyethanol, Mineral oil

 

Previously only gracing our plates, the snail has now found its way into our skin creams. To the delight of the epidermis! Slowly but surely, this peaceful gastropod is revolutionising the world of cosmetics. The idea that our skin could get its strength from this mollusc, and age as harmoniously as it does, is not that strange. Don’t miss our selection of products which contain snail extract.

Snail extract: The secret to Mapuche women’s beauty

The Helix aspersa Müller, or brown garden snail, is a modest little snail which languishes in our gardens. Shy and quiet, it is blessed with a remarkable ability: it destroys damaged parts of its shell and regenerates it in a few days, just like getting brand new skin!

A real treasure in nature with multiple valuable properties, the snail is an ancient beauty secret of the Mapuche women (indigenous tribe in the Andes in Chile), who use the snail’s mucus for its regenerative properties. They collect the snails, rinse them and then apply them directly to the skin. Studied by a team of Chilean researchers and doctors, the mucus of the Helix aspersa can now be found among the ingredients of numerous skin creams.

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Try beauteous® PureHelix Snail Renewal Concentrate, $37 (NZD), made in New Zealand - NO Parabens, Diazolydinyl urea, Phenoxyethanol, Mineral oil

 

What exactly is the snail hiding in that shell?

The first discovery of these properties was made by Dr. Fernando Bascunan Ygualt, who launched the first skincare product containing snail extract onto the market, christened Elicina. Son of a family of Chilean farmers who supplied the restaurant industry in France, the young doctor noticed the extraordinary softness of the farm workers hands early on. Although they cut themselves often on snail shells, the wounds healed astonishingly quickly. 

So what magic powers do snails actually have? Analyses carried out by laboratories on snail extract have shown that this little gastropod produces numerous beneficial active agents in its mucus, a completely natural skin treatment.

Allantoin
This enzyme, which is not produced by the human body, allows the snail to regenerate its shell when it cracks. With its ability to accelerate the skin’s healing and the regeneration of cells, allantoin is used in medicine to treat wounds and burns, and also in cosmetics for its softening action and anti-acne effect (more than 10,000 patents mention this ingredient). A real anti-oxidant, it slows down the ageing process of the skin by eliminating free radicals contained in the cells. 

Enzymatic glycoproteins 
These proteins have a repairing effect which encourages the regeneration of animal or human skin. The snail has the ability to regenerate its shell and its own tissue with the calcium produced through its diet and the action of enzymatic proteins. These prove very effective in the treatment of scars. 

Vitamins A, C and E
These vitamins have protective, nourishing and anti-inflammatory effects. With these properties combined together, they protect against free radicals. Vitamin A allows you to obtain a bronzed complexion as well as giving the skin’s hydration a boost. Vitamin C protects the body from viral and bacterial infections, slows down the skin’s ageing, encourages healing and helps the skin to produce more collagen naturally. Vitamin E, an antioxidant, protects vital cells, reduces inflammation and encourages hydration of the skin. 

Natural antimicrobial peptides
Effective against different bacteria present in dermatological infections, these substances destroy the pathogens present on the surface of the skin and in pores, acting as a protective barrier.

Collagen and elastin
Indispensable allies when it comes to the skin’s suppleness and elasticity, these allow wrinkles to be smoothed out, reduce stretch marks, alleviate acne and hyperpigmentation.  

Enzymes
Naturally exfoliating, these eliminate dead cells from the surface of the skin.

 

According to most consumers who have tried treatments with snail extract, they make the skin visibly more supple, significantly smoothing out wrinkles, eliminating dead skin cells, combatting redness, acne and other irritations, and acting effectively on stretch marks. Ideal for tired or sluggish (or should that be snail-like) skin!

 

Christel Patez

Copyright © Doctissimo 2012

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