Beauty market

How snail slime became a multi-billion dollar beauty industry

  • The snail beauty market is said to be worth $4 billion.
  • Proponents often claim that their products can improve wrinkles and texture.
  • But how does slime get from snail to shelf? We traveled to Italy to see how it is mined and processed.

Snail slime has been used in skincare for centuries, and today the snail-based beauty products industry is worth around $4 billion.

Back then, snails had to be killed to get their slime extracted. The story goes that the Greek physician Hippocrates applied crushed snails to treat skin inflammations. Later the snails were soaked in pots of salt water and vinegar which forced them to release the slime.

That is to say, until it was discovered, the snails were also releasing slime by stimulation – a practice used today in Italy.

Snail mucin is making its way across the world in bottled skincare products, with North America expected to be the fastest growing region for snail-based beauty products. Rita Linkner, founder and medical director of RVL Skincare, recently incorporated products containing snail mucin into her practice. She told Insider that she likes to use it after the laser treatment. Studies have shown that it can treat radiation-induced irritations, wounds and burns.