You’ve been slimed in the name of beauty

I’ve seen this crawling all over the news, decided it was time to mention it here.

Japan clinic launches ‘snail facial’ – Telegraph.

Live snails, hailed as an elixir for youthful and beautiful skin, take centre stage in an unusual new “snail facial” launching tomorrow at a spa in central Tokyo.

The treatment involves a therapist placing snails directly onto the faces of reclining clients and allowing the molluscs to move at random, leaving trails of mucus slime in their wake.

The secreted snail mucus is key to the facial, as it reportedly contains a beauty-boosting cocktail of proteins, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, which help skin retain moisture, reduce inflammation and remove dead skin.

Snail mucus as a skin repair serum is becoming popular. It is used by the snail itself as a skin protectant but also for adherence, lubrication, repulsing predators and also during reproduction. It consists almost entirely of water with glycoproteins. I don’t know if it has any actual positive properties as is touted. Snails can adjust the discharge of slime so you may want to keep them calm for this particular procedure so they do not feel threatened. There may be a potential for allergic reactions and of course the ICK! reaction but it doesn’t seem too bad – we have fish that eat off dead skin during pedicures. And this cool, wet version is better than THIS insanity. Or blood facial weirdness.

Animal products have long been used as skin applications. This is not so weird, just a bit freaky. However, be very wary of the effort and money in such novelty treatments. They are often more hype than reality. The purpose of this snail slime is to “stimulate the formation of collagen, elastin and dermal components that repair the signs of photoaging and, […] to minimize the damage generated by free radicals that are responsible for premature skin aging. You can get results just as good or better by other means. Or, it could be complete bunk altogether.

snail face

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  5 comments for “You’ve been slimed in the name of beauty

  1. Brad
    July 18, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    So a Penn and Teller point making prank is now a real “treatment” that is hilarious!

  2. Goudeau
    July 18, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Several years ago we made this up for an episode of “Penn & Teller: Bullshit” to see if people would do it and to see if they’d give it a positive review. They did.

    • July 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      You know, I was wondering why this seemed so familiar!!! Thanks Michael.

  3. July 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    I was wondering if maybe this was an elaborate hoax intended to show people would do anything no matter how patently absurd for the sake of cosmetics. Nice to know Penn and Teller already went there. ;)

  4. January 1, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    People do a lot in the name of beauty, starting with Cleopatra’s milk baths. Mostly expensive but harmless. Snails though, are actually fairly dangerous. They carry a number of parasites, so you don’t want them anywhere near your face! I knew someone who ate a raw slug (accidentally I think, though with this guy who could be sure?) and he got quite ill with a weird worm.

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2002/10/18/704700.htm

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