Scholars find Thai snail slime works best

Scholars find Thai snail slime works best

A Chulalongkorn University team has found three breeds of land snail found locally produce slime which has better cosmetic properties when applied to human skin when compared with imported snail slime. The local product has an anti-fungal property that is suited to Thailand's tropical weather. Somchai Poomlard
A Chulalongkorn University team has found three breeds of land snail found locally produce slime which has better cosmetic properties when applied to human skin when compared with imported snail slime. The local product has an anti-fungal property that is suited to Thailand's tropical weather. Somchai Poomlard

Slime produced by three breeds of land snails found locally has a more powerful cosmetic effect than that taken from snails in cold countries, a Chulalongkorn University scientist team revealed Wednesday.

The team — led by Prof Somsak Panha of the university's Department of Biology — hoped its findings would mean more possibilities for locally-made snail slime cosmetics.

As head of the department's animal systematics research unit, Prof Somsak said he has been studying Thai snails and shells for more than three decades.

He wanted to find out if the popular imported snail-based cosmetics were more effective than locally-made ones.

Slime from Thai land snails has anti-fungal properties that are necessary in tropical countries, he said.

The slime can be used to moisturise human skin.

Snail slime contains various proteins similar to those in human skin, plus antioxidant compounds such as allantoin, glycolic acid, collagen and hyaluronic acid. Land snail slime has also been used as a cosmetic since the Roman Empire and Ancient Egyptian periods, Prof Somsak said. 

South Korea, Japan and Chile breed snails specifically for the cosmetics industry.

Three species of land snail commonly found in Thailand were used in this study, namely Siamese snails (Cryptozona siamensis), hoi thak nual which are regarded as an Isan delicacy, and African snails (Achatina fulica) which have been spreading in Thailand since World War II.

Since each snail can produce only about 10 cubic centimetres of slime over two to three minutes, large scale snail farming is necessary to produce enough to supply the cosmetics sector, Prof Somsak said.

Chulalongkorn University's findings about the more powerful properties of Thai snail slime should help provide a catalyst for the country's cosmetics industry, said pharmacist Pisal Jantharithirasami, deputy chairman of the cosmetics industry group of the Federation of Thai Industries.


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