Extreme Beauty: Snail slime
Each fortnight Extreme Beauty investigates what's new and cutting edge in the battle to remain young-looking and beautiful. This week we smother our skin in snail slime!
What is it?
A gel made from the slime of snails. To be more exact, the slime of the Chilean Helix Aspersa Muller snail.
Who's bright idea was it?
Helix Aspersa Muller snails are farmed commercially to be sold as Escargot for French restaurants. Workers on these snail farms discovered that after handling the snails on a regular basis, their hands would soften, skin would tighten and cut, inflamed or irritable skin would heal at a rapid pace. All in all, a chance discovery perfect for the cosmetics industry in need of publicity!
What does it do?
The snail slime extract supports the recovery of the skin in the case of wrinkles, scar tissue, psoriasis and acne. The gel claims to be a natural source of skin-softening allantoin, collagen and elastin which work as an active ingredient for skin repair, dead skin removal and anti-bacterial treatment.
Who likes it?
Snail gel is said to be the secret weapon of uber-stylist Aimee Adams.
Aimee has done make-up for celebrities including Madonna, Sienna Miller and Rachel Weisz, and is rumoured to slather on the gooey goodness of snail gel on a nightly basis. Other celebrities have endorsed the product, but at a snail's pace. This may be because nobody wants to be the public face of snail-fresh skin.
What's it like?
Frankly, the finished product looks slimy, gooey and too close to the real stuff for anything approaching comfort.
What's the procedure?
An exercise in icky simplicity. Take a generous dab and massage into the face, neck or body. For intensive application for problem areas like stretchmarks, the gel should be used two to three times daily. An improvement should follow after a couple of weeks.
The benefits - real or imagined?
Real. I will happily admit that using the stuff doesn't exactly conjure up elegant images of flawlessly firm skin, but the gel does work. After a few days of intensive make-up I tried the the gel and was left with smooth hands, firmer skin and not a pimple on the horizon.
Admitting to using it. Telling the girls the reason behind your new found radiance is due to generous lashings of imported South American snail slime might give the impression you take your beauty regime far too seriously - avoid these and other awkward moments by keeping this particular beauty remedy on the down-low.
The secretions of Chilean snails to produce a gel that wobbles when you poke it and defies all gravity when held upside down is pretty darned extreme. On the other hand, allantoin, the main active ingredient in the gel, is a safe, naturally occurring and non-toxic agent already used in hundreds of cosmetics products and some everyday staples like toothpaste and mouthwash. Chances are you've used the stuff without knowing this very morning.
Where do I buy some?
No need to rush but De Tuinen Snail Gel, the brand I tried, is available from Holland and Barrett for €29.98 - well worth shelling out for.