The snail slime, an idea of beauty rather silty – West-France

The snail is a species that enjoys a capital of sympathy important. Wearing casually its house on its back, the snail vehicle a set of images that remind us of our childhood and nursery rhymes. While small, it is with a mouse green that we are getting used to do work on our memory. The story is pretty cruel for the mouse in question, who soaked in oil, dipped in water, will become a “snail” hot “.

As for the “little snail, [who] wears on his back his house” and that, ” as soon as it rains is happy “, he has enough to delight children who like to watch or organise with him to the races slow.

But did you know that it is also a kind of star in the field of cosmetics ? Her drool would, in effect, virtues for our skin. The snail, “natural product” par excellence “(the snail of synthesis is not yet ” born “) gets to peak at a period where conventional cosmetics and their ingredients in so-called “chemical” are decried. So, what does he think ?

An oily substance

In a 1995 edition of The Dispensary of Dorvault, reference book for the pharmacist, it is specified that the cochlea, or spiral or snail (Helix pomatia, Helix aspersa, Helix vermiculata) contains a mucus abundant, to which are assigned, there is not yet a long time, to have medicinal properties “.

Mucus, called familèrement drool, contains between 90 and 99.7 % water, depending on the case. (Photo : screen capture)

The pharmacist Oscar Figuier (1805 – 1875) will focus, in particular, to the hélicine, an oily material constituent of the mucus. The mode of obtaining this substance is not without recalling the nursery rhyme of our childhood : the flesh of the snail is first soaked in water ; it evaporates the aqueous fraction, to obtain a dry residue, which is finally taken up by the ether in order to isolate an oily substance, the famous hélicine.

Composition of snail slime

Known colloquially as the drool, mucus is a substance which has different roles : it allows the grip of the snail on its holder (the snail, in effect, is capable of starting at the ascent of the windows of our homes), and is a means of communication and recognition (a kind of GPS escargotier). This mucus has been the subject of a number of scientific research. The work carried out on this substance produced by the salivary glands of the snail shows its variability depending on the individual, and in particular in function of the species considered, but also its great wealth of water.

The mucus contains between 90 and 99.7 % water, depending on the case. The analysis of the mineral composition shows the presence of sodium (between 0.6 and 1.7 g/L), potassium (between 0.2 and 0.8 g/L) and magnesium (between 0.4 and 1.5 g/L). From the point of view of the composition of organic matter, we will retain only the molecules made, more often than not, before, by the companies of cosmetics marketing of products in the snail slime. Allantoin, an active soothing used in all types of cosmetics at the destination of the sensitive skins or prone to the phenomenon of irritation, is present at a level of 50 mg/L of slime (Helix aspersa). Glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid, is very frequently found in anti-aging products and skin brightening products is present at the concentration of 3.3 g/L.

In Japan, massage of the face with the snail slime (alive) have the rating. Some salons offer in France. (Photo : Thierry Hollow/West-France)

“A curative action on the human skin “

What are the arguments marketing to promote the snail ? We will cite, as examples, Helixir Jeanne M, Elicina ( After a scientific study conscientiously conducted on the secretion of the snail chilean Helix aspersa muller, it turned out that it consisted of a wonderful combination of natural elements, which, it was later discovered, had a curative action on the human skin ) ; Melle Agathe ( Thanks to its exceptional content of the extract of snail slime, known to stimulate the synthesis of collagen, elastin, vitamins, and an exclusive cocktail of 4 active rigorously selected ) and Royer ( Our products, rich in active principles, effectively prevent and reduce stretch marks, acne, scars and other skin problems ) : these cosmetic brands have based their communication on and around the snail. What to think ?

Litres of mucus…

Regarding the effectiveness of these cosmetics are formulated based on snail slime, it is appropriate to talk numbers. Allantoin is used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals at doses ranging from 0.5 to 1 % (this is the case, for example, in the specialty drug Cicatryl). Glycolic acid, is used in doses in excess of 5 % if one wishes to achieve anti-aging cosmetics. A laboratory which wishes to put on the market a cosmetic product containing 0.5% allantoin and 5 % glycolic acid will have to achieve the technical prowess to get 10 liters of mucus in a packaging of 100 grams… enough To get out the blotter !

The original version of this article was published in The Conversation.


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