Until very recently, an online search for “snails” would yield plenty of tips for removing the slimy suckers from your garden and a few escargot recipes, but not much else. Recently, though, these garden critters are making waves in a whole new industry – skincare.

Why are beauty brands from the US and around the world suddenly touting snail essence and snail based products to customers? A look at the goop that snails leave behind – and the way it interacts with human skin – reveals why the gastropods are suddenly so popular.

Gastropods Making a Mark on the Beauty Industry

Snail essence is not a particularly new trend, according to ABC news, snails were used for skin treatments by ancient Greeks. The new wave of snail based products began today in Korea and France; with big brands shelling out lots of cash for the tiny critters.  High end salons are also offering “Escarglow” facials that offer all of the benefits of snail mucin in a spa environment.

Is it Really from Snails?

It is. When snails get upset and defensive, they emit a thick, gooey fluid to protect themselves; this mucin can help benefit human skin in a variety of ways, according to dermatologist Tabasum Mir, speaking to the Huffington Post. This snail goo, or mucin contains hydrolauric acid and can hydrate skin, prevent the signs of again and even improve the appearance of scars or wrinkles. In one study, 25 participants tried snail mucin cream and found that they had improved texture and fewer wrinkles after 12 weeks.

Are Snail Products Worth Buying?

Possibly. For home use, the mucin in products may not be as concentrated as it needs to be to gain the advertised effects. Salon use is likely better, since products for professional application are more concentrated and likely contain higher amounts of beneficial mucin. The bottom line? Snail products could be beneficial for home use over time, but due to differences in concentration and even snail types, your best bet is a visit to your local spa or salon for a facial or for products designed for professional use.