Snail massages becoming the new “in” thing
Ever wondered what it would be like to let a snail crawl all over your face? Well wonder no more, because it’s here and comes with benefits.
Snail creams are becoming a big business in Asia. Korean women have long sought out the strange potions for their supposed ability to leave skin dewy and fade signs of aging. While some believe that snail creams are just a strange name for beauty products that don’t contain actual snail product, they would be wrong. Snail creams feature secretions from these slimy creatures as a main ingredient.
A farm owned by the Siam Snails company operates an hour from Bangkok and is home to over 8,000 native Hemiplecta distincta snails, who are encouraged to move freely around a 16,000 square meter jungle area where workers collect their secretions.
When farming snails, workers have to be careful to make sure their snails are happy to create the best product. When a snail is unhappy, their mucus changes from clear to a yellow-green shade and is no longer ideal for creating products, said professor Supot Hannongbua, one of Siam Snail’s founders. The jungle habitat, as well as their diet of mushrooms, is meant to keep the creatures comfortable, happy, and producing the most profitable mucus.
While snails naturally leave their mucus behind as they move, on snail farms it is collected from each snail by extraction. At Siam Snail it is done by hand, with a worker stroking the snail to collect its secretions. Only one centiliter of mucus is collected from each snail at a time, and in between they get a week to recover.
The Siam Snail company and farm were founded by scientists from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand’s most prestigious school, in 2015. The creams produced from the mucus farmed there is put into creams sold under the Snail 8 label available at Watsons and other shops.
These snails often live for five years and can grow to 10 centimeters long.
According to the Snail 8 website, snail mucus contains Anti-microbial peptides, glycolic acid, allantoin, hyaluronic acid, anti-oxidants, and vitamins A, D, and E.
Chulalongkorn biochemistry professor Anchalee Tassanakajon said that these active ingredients protect the skin from bacteria and help it heal. It is to this end that the company plans to extend its range from creams for cosmetic purposes to those with medical uses such as a burn cream they are working on.
Snail creams of all price points and qualities are becoming more popular throughout Asia. Though the Snail 8 creams retail for between THB1,000-2,000, cheaper varieties, such as Snails White, are available at 7-Eleven and increasingly popular.
Snails White has expanded into Cambodia, China, Laos, and Myanmar, showing that interest in these unusual creams is growing throughout Southeast Asia.