At a Jordanian beauty centre, 34-year-old Suheil Sweidan is offering slimy facial treatments that are not for the faint-hearted.
While for many, snails are a delicious delicacy, Sweidan uses the Giant African Land snails on his client’s faces, promising that their naturally produced slime will rejuvenate the skin.
“I don’t use the word medical treatment. It’s an additional procedure (one can do),” he said. “this snail produces collagen; it promotes this substance. As it walks across the face, it eats up the dead skin, opens up your pores, and leaves (the collagen) in there. It replenishes the collagen in your body.”
Some trace the use of snail slime to ancient Greece, where people would crush the animal and use it as a cure for skin lesions. More recently, products containing snail slime have become increasingly popular in countries like France, Thailand, Chile and Italy.
Doctors and dermatologists, however, say there has been no significant scientific research proving the benefit of the slime to the skin.
27-year-old Alia Fares, who works as a social media freelancer, said she was intrigued by the idea when she first heard about it.
“The first session I had I wanted to stop and leave, but then I kept going and fell asleep during the session because it was so relaxing. I saw a difference (in my face), it feels fuller and has a certain glow,” she said, as snails slowly crawled around her face.
Sweidan said a session can last anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours.
His hope is to encourage people to be open minded about alternative beauty treatments, especially those found in nature. “For the people who say ‘Ew!’ I challenge them to try it, and they end up coming for second sessions,” Sweidan says.