Snail slime: Italy’s latest beauty craze

Italians are increasingly opting for natural cosmetics - some of them perhaps a little too close to the earth. The latest trend among young Italians? Skin creams made from snail slime.

Snail slime: Italy's latest beauty craze
Would you like to rub this snail's slime over your face? Photo: Macrophile

Snails have long been a delicacy in Italian kitchens but the recent boom in snail slime products is a growing trend, and one that shows no signs of slowing down.

Anna Cerutti, a farmer from Northern Italy, runs a natural cosmetics company, La Natura Siamo Noi

“Snail creams are our best-selling products and they are becoming very fashionable,” she told The Local.

But why are so many young Italians smearing snail slime over their faces?

“People are realizing that all these chemicals in cosmetics are no good,” says Anna.

This is hardly surpising in Italy, a country where many people have strong links to the land.

But what is snail slime? Snail slime, scientifically known as Helix Aspersa, is a mucus excreted from glands on the snail's body. But don't let that put you off – its properties are magical and intriguing. Best of all it's great for the skin.

For snails, slime functions both as an emollient that stops them from drying out, while simultaneously acting as a lubricant and a glue. Perfect for pesky gastropods who make use of it to scale your garden walls at 1.3cm a second and demolish your herb garden.

But it's also great for humans, too. Used cosmetically, it is believed to have many beneficial properties. Vitamin rich, snail slime is said to reduce scaring and wrinkles while improving the complexion. This is not modern knowledge either – snail slime has been used medicinally for millennia.

Snails were often used in ancient Greek medicine where their slime was administered as a syrup to cure gastrointestinal ulcers. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, would even crush them up with milk to make a cream to treat skin inflammations.

Before you go digging around in the garden for a DIY face-mask, it should be pointed out that the quality of snail slime depends on the environment in which the snail lives. Cerutti rears her snails organically, before harvesting and filtering the slime. She then passes the product over to biologists to be turned into skin creams.

But is it a passing fad, or a lasting trend? The scientific jury is still out, as definitive clinical trials have not been conducted.

However, Cerutti told The Local that dermatologists were increasingly reccomending snail slime creams to their patients. And a survey conducted by the Italian agricultural association Coldiretti found that 71 out of 100 Italians prefer naturally-made cosmetics.

Speaking on behalf of Coldiretti, Massimo Aliprandi welcomed the new craze. “What we are seeing more and more is the multi-dimensionality of Italian agriculture,” he told The Local.

No doubt the boom is great news for small scale Italian producers, but what about consumers? With average prices of €20 a pot, you too might be tempted to shell out some time soon. 

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?