Snail Essence remains a hot ingredient in skin care because it is full of good nutrients and leaves skin with a dewy glow. But don't go out after a rain and start wiping up those snail trails. It needs to be processed and companies that sell snail essence keep their procedures proprietary. You can go collect a couple of snails and let them crawl across your face, but...eeeew!
So, what exactly is it? It's that mucin emitted by the snail as it moves along the ground as a way to protect itself. The common garden snail (Cryptomphalus aspera) is most often used. Snail farmers put snails over a mesh in dark room. They are left there for 30-40 minutes to roam around excreting their slime, then put back in their usual home. The mucin from the mesh is then collected. There are many ways of then processing the mucin to make it stable for skin care.
So, why is it so popular? Snail essence has been used in various parts of the world for centuries. In ancient Greece through the middle ages it was used as a skin inflammation treatment. More recently, it was popularized by Korean skin care products as it is purported to be hydrating, helps prevent aging skin and improves wrinkles and scars. The ingredients in the slime are hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes and peptides. These ingredients are also found in many other skin products.