Snail Facial Treatment From Japan Moisturizes With Slime [VIDEO]

By iScienceTimes Staff on July 15, 2013 10:28 AM EDT

snail facial
A snail facial offered in Japan claims to rejuvenate skin damaged by age and ultraviolet rays. The snail facial treatment, called the Celebrity Escargot Course, is offered at Clinical Salon in Tokyo. (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

A new snail facial treatment offered in Japan is said to offer anti-aging, anti-inflammation and moisturizing benefits -- as long as you don't mind having snails crawl across your face.

The Japanese snail facial, named the Celebrity Escargot Course, is offered at the Clinical Salon in Tokyo for the reasonable price of about $250. The hour-long treatment includes a series of facial cleanses, massages, masks and an electrical pulse machine. Snails are placed gently on the face and allowed to move around, occasionally being repositioned by the beauty salon therapist.

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Danielle Demetriou of he Daily Telegraph was the first person to try out the new Japanese snail facial:

As they make themselves at home and begin to slowly move around -- they like my nose best of all -- I am relieved to feel [therapist] Manami san skilfully monitoring their positions, instantly lifting them off my skin with a little tug to defy the suction whenever they go anywhere near my mouth, nostrils or eyes...The snails feel slow, heavy and cool -- and, perhaps lulled into a false sense of security, I eventually feel comfortable enough to open my eyes.

This, however, turns out to be a mistake: I soon learn that there is little in life more unsettling than spying the rearing tentacles of an approaching snail on your cheek out of the corner of your eye.

Demetriou concluded that her face felt "cooler and plumper" after the snail facial, but that having snails crawl over your face in the name of a beauty treatment is going too far.

But is there any science to the Japanese snail facial, or will it be just another silly beauty fad?

"Snail slime can help the recovery of skin cells on the face, so we expect the snail facial to help heal damaged skin," said Yoko Miniami, sales manager at the Clinical Salon. "We are interested in the fact that snails have a function that can help heal skin damaged by ultraviolet rays."

Naturally the salon offering the snail facial would say that, but they may be on to something.

According to the Today show, which looked into snail beauty products in 2011, secretions from snails contain glycolic acid and elastin. Those compounds protect snails from all manner of things, like cuts, bacteria, and UV rays.

"Lots of species, including humans, secrete mucus rich in hyaluronic acids...but that doesn't mean you'd put phlegm on your face," dermatologist Dr. Bobby Buka told Today.

There haven't been any placebo-controlled studies looking into snail facials or snail creams, according to Buka, so there's no way to really tell how effective snail treatments are, other than anecdotal evidence.

"I generally don't dissuade patients who swear by snail-derivative products, but it's definitely not my first choice if you've got $20 to spend on your skin," said Buka, who recommended First Aid Beauty's 5-in-1 face cream instead of snail stuff.

Though the snail facial is a brand new treatment, snail treatments have been around since as early as 1995, when a Chilean snail cream hit the shelves.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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