The Role of a Natural Mollusk Egg-Derived Ingredient in Facial Appearance

July 2017 | Volume 16 | Issue 7 | Original Article | 678 | Copyright © July 2017

Zoe Diana Draelos MD

Dermatology Consulting Services, PLLC, High Point, NC


New cosmeceutical ingredients that improve skin appearance are of interest to the dermatologist. Cryptomphalus aspersa is a snail raised on farms in Spain for its mucinous secretions and eggs. These natural products have been demonstrated in vitro to trigger mesenchymal stem cell differentiation, promote dermal fibroblast and keratinocyte migration, prevent keratinocyte aging, prevent oxidative damage, stimulate the extracellular matrix, and regulate MMPs. This 12-week study enrolled 40 male and female subjects age 40-70 years of Fitzpatrick skin types I-IV with moderate to severe facial aging and Rao-Goldman scores of 4-5 who applied an eye and face anti-aging cream twice daily containing a mollusk egg extract. Dermatologist investigator, subject, and elasticity assessments were performed at baseline, week 8, and week 12. At week 12, the investigator rated a 53% reduction in skin roughness (P less than 0.001), 26% improvement in skin brightness (P less than 0.001), and 12% reduction in skin dyspigmentation (P=0.033). The noninvasive elastometer measurements demonstrated an increase in skin elasticity at week 8 of 11% with a continuing elasticity increase at week 12 of 39% (P less than 0.001). The formulation studied included moisturizing, emollient, film-forming, and retinoid ingredients in addition to the mollusk egg extract to produce the clinical improvement.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2017;16(7):678-681.


Cosmeceuticals aim to improve the appearance of aging skin. It is unique to nd a cosmeceutical formulation that delivers a novel active ingredient while providing simultaneous moisturization. The moisturizer serves as the delivery system for the cosmetic ingredient producing smooth, soft skin while creating the optimal environment for barrier repair. Consumers expect cosmeceuticals to provide bene ts beyond simple moisturization. Many different categories of ingredients have entered the marketplace to modify the skin, such as hydroxy acids to induce exfoliation or botanical extracts to function as antioxidants. Previous work examined the role of an animal-derived Growth Factor, the secretion of the Cryptomphalus aspersa, discovered by Rafael Abad Iglesias MD, a radiation oncologist treating radiation dermatitis.1,2 The secretion was studied for its histologic effects on photoaging and noted that the mollusk generated a biologically active glycosaminoglycan secretion, as a defense mechanism when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light and x-rays that assisted in the regeneration of damaged structures of the animal’s skin in less than 48 hours.3 In addition to the secretion’s ability to stimulate broblast proliferation and rearrange the actin cytoskeleton, Brieva, et al, identified the presence of antioxidants with superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione S transferase (GST) activity within the secretion. Stimulation of extracellular matrix assembly and regulation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-1 and MMP-2) activities were also observed.4 Fabi and Cohen previously demonstrated the activity of this cosmeceutical ingredient on photoaged skin.5A second cosmeceutical ingredient, recently discovered, is derived from the eggs of the Cryptomphalus aspersa snail. The eggs are collected on snail farms in Spain and processed to yield an agent with the potential to help delay and reduce the visible signs of aging. Espada, et al, examined the role of Cryptomphalus aspersa mollusk egg extract in the promotion of migration and the prevention of cutaneous aging in keratinocytes and dermal broblast in vitro.6 The study measured the effects of the mollusk egg extract on cellular proliferation, migration, distribution of cytoskeletal proteins, production of extracellular components, and the ability to prevent cutaneous ageing due to intrinsic or extrinsic factors (exposure to UVB) by determination of ageing markers. From the obtained results, it was concluded that the mollusk egg extract had the ability to ameliorate a series of functions related to cellular migration, tissue repair, and attenuated age-related morphological changes of human skin cells. Juarranz, et al, examined the in vitro effects of the mollusk egg extract on skin homeostasis, migration, cell survival and MMP regulation.7 Results showed that the mollusk egg extract promoted epithelial tissue regeneration, being more effective on broblasts than on keratinocytes, signi cantly increased collagen synthesis and bronectin production while downregulating MMPs in both types of cutaneous cells. Furthermore, Espada et al discovered that the mollusk egg extract promoted the migration and regenerative behavior of human keratinocytes and mesenchymal stem cells.8 The mollusk egg extract induced morphological and phenotypical