Japan Clinic Launches 'Snail Facial'... - crawling across faces as part of a new beauty treatment -
Live snails, hailed as an elixir for youthful and beautiful skin, take centre stage in an unusual new "snail facial" launching tomorrow at a spa in central Tokyo.
The treatment involves a therapist placing snails directly onto the faces of reclining clients and allowing the molluscs to move at random, leaving trails of mucus slime in their wake.
The secreted snail mucus is key to the facial, as it reportedly contains a beauty-boosting cocktail of proteins, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, which help skin retain moisture, reduce inflammation and remove dead skin.
"This salon is the only place in Japan where you can try a live snail facial," said Yoko Minami, sales manager at Clinical Salon, the flagship outlet of Ci:z.Labo, a nationwide spa operator and affiliate of Japan's biggest medical cosmetics company.
"Snail slime can help the recovery of skin cells on the face, so we expect the snail facial to help heal damaged skin."
The spa, in the Ebisu district of Tokyo, is currently home to five resident snails, kept in a small clear container where they are fed an organic vegetables, including carrots, Japanese "komatsuna" greens, spinach and Swiss chard.
Spa staff said that the snails were bought from an organic snail breeder in Japan and are also fed organically to ensure that they are clean and healthy before being placed on customers' faces.
The live snails are the central part of a 60-minute treatment called the Celebrity Escargot Course, costing £161 (Y24,150), which starts with faces being washed before the molluscs are gently placed on the cheeks and forehead and allowed to move around as they please.
This is followed by a series of massages, masks and electrical pulse machines using creams infused with snail mucus to ensure that the live secretions fully penetrate the skin.
"We have one beauty product called Lift Keep Cream which contains snail slime," said Ms Kinami. "We started selling it in May last year and it has been very popular."
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