These Asian Skincare Ingredients Aren’t as Weird as They Look

As someone who is more than a little obsessed with Asian skincare, I’ve run across quite a few strange-yet-effective things to slather all over my face. Those who are unfamiliar with the wonders of Asian beauty might be a little off-put when they see active ingredients like “pig collagen” and “snail mucin,” which I totally understand.

Stay with me though. I’m going to explain a few of my favorite Asian beauty star ingredients and show you why you should give them a chance.

Snail Mucin

You might see this one listed as “snail mucin,” “snail secretion,” or “snail secretion filtrate.” They’re all essentially the same thing: the goop snails use to slide themselves around wherever they need to go. Because of snail mucin’s gel-like consistency, it’s perfect for essences and light moisturizers.


Don’t worry, though, no reputable brands harm these cute little guys to collect their goop.

Snail secretion is a bit of a wonder ingredient and one of my favorites. It has healing properties that repair skin damage, deliver moisture and help calm acne. As a bonus, it’s also anti-inflammatory, so it helps soothe redness too.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, products with snail secretion don’t smell weird at all. Most have either no fragrance or a pretty mild soapy scent.

Galactomyces and Saccharomyces Ferment

“Galacto-what? Uh, nope!”

That was my reaction when I learned what galactomyces (singular noun, for those who are wondering) is. Galactomyces and saccharomyces are fermented yeast products that can do wonders for your skin. They’re highly filtered, so don’t worry about anything funky or harmful going onto your face.

Ferment filtrates can increase skin elasticity and drastically brighten skin tone with long-term use.

They work because they contain two powerful ingredients: beta-glucans and adenosine. In simple terms, beta-glucans are great anti-inflammatories, which means brighter skin, and adenosine is a critical component in the energy molecule ATP. ATP’s skincare job is to kick start collagen and elastin production for fresher-looking skin.

In short, get on my face, please.

Donkey Milk

Yes, I did just say donkey milk. I know it sounds weird and gross, but seriously, you’re not drinking it.

While I’m pretty indifferent about actual donkeys, I’m all about donkey milk. I like goat milk too, but for some reason people don’t think that’s nearly as weird to smear all over their faces. What a double standard, guys.

Donkey milk contains vitamin A, which is better known as retinol and loved for its anti-aging and antioxidant properties. It also contains vitamins C and E, both of which are useful for improving overall skin tone.

Donkey milk is incredibly rich in proteins and lipids as well. Proteins like collagen and lipids like ceramides are super important for maintaining a healthy moisture barrier. Since my skin tends to be dehydrated, this is another favorite for me.

So next time you’re browsing around a beauty website and see something strange-sounding, don’t dismiss it! You might just be looking at your new holy grail.

What’s the strangest skincare ingredient you’ve ever seen?