Louis-Marie Guedon claims to have developed a secret technique to harvest snail mucus and plans to produce 15 tonnes of the substance every year.
The Charente-Maritime resident has already secured three contracts with cosmetics labs for clients who have already ordered three tonnes of mucus.
Guedon has said that he believes his mucus-extraction process could create a “cosmetics revolution.”
The entrepreneur claims that snail mucus contains collagen, glycolic acid and antibiotics and that it can regenerate skin cells and heal cuts.
Snail mucus is commonly used in cosmetics in South America and Asia, but is not yet a regular ingredient in European products.
Extracting the mucus
Guedon’s process for extracting the mucus was developed by an engineer and involves segregating the snails in two large containers.
Salt is then used to extract the mucus, which is purified by filtration before being shipped to cosmetics companies.
For those of concerned about the animal rights issues, don’t be alarmed- the snails are left unharmed by the process.
The French former investment in the project was partially subsidized by grants from the French government and the EU.
He has been raising snails for the last 25 years and producing the slime manually for the last three, having only recently developed his industrial process.
Guedon also sells 25 million baby snails per year to farmers in France, or around 40-50 tons.
According to NBC news, snail-based cosmetics have been sold in Asia since the mid 90s. The craze may have moved to Europe in 2006 when Chilean farmers noticed that their skins became smoother after handling snails for the French food market.
A salon in Tokyo also provides facial treatments which use live snails to customers.
The ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates prescribed a mixture of crushed snails and milk for the treatment of skin ailments.