Column: Stereotypically slimy snails


Skincare companies utilize snail slime for skincare products. Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream and Tony Moly Intense Care Snail Gel mask are just two of the many slime-infused skin products available on Amazon. Photo illustration by Leslie Castaneda.

Snails: you either love them or hate them. Ask someone their opinion on snails and you will get answers ranging from “They eat my lettuce and are gross and slimyto “My whole life’s purpose is dedicated to them” (a highly rare but nonetheless valid answer).

Personally, I believe snails to be both misunderstood and undeniably adorable. How could one resist their four precious tentacles and little mouth? I must admit, I find snails to be cuter than most mammals.  

You may be wondering why I have such a strong opinion on these gastropods, strong enough, in fact, to write a whole article about them. The answer is simple: fairness.

Snails cannot help being born slimy, so why should we denounce them for something they can’t control? No one, snail or not, should ever be treated poorly for something that is beyond their control.

However, I understand where the disgust stems from. It is human nature to be afraid of things we don’t understand. I can only assume that none of my dedicated readers understand what it’s like to be covered in slime (unless, of course, you were a victim of the 2017 slime craze).

Snails’ slime has many distinct and amazing capabilities, such as soothing burns and can also reverse the effects of premature skin aging. In fact, the concept of using snail slime cosmetically dates all the way back to Ancient Greece. Yes, you read that correctly. Hippocrates was reportedly a huge fan of snails.

[Snail slime] is a sovereign remedy to treat pain related to burns, abscesses and other wounds,” Hippocrates said. I’m not one to argue with a renowned Greek physician.

Perhaps snails would be loved more if they were not slimy, but asking a snail to not be slimy would be equivalent to asking a human to not be fleshy. We need flesh to survive just as much as snails need slime.

So maybe the next time you see a snail, you’ll stop and think to yourself, “Hey, little fella, I appreciate and adore your presence, especially your magical slime.” And, who knows? Maybe they’ll respond quietly “Hello giant, I also appreciate and adore you and all your strange flesh.”

Give snails a very gentle pat on the shell — they deserve it. After all, they have had to put up with us humans for centuries.