Having snails crawling across your face may sound like the stuff of nightmares but Japanese women are being offered just that as a beauty treatment.
Starting on Monday, women who want to get rid of dead skin, clear their pores or roll back the years can submit themselves to a snail facial.
Manami Takamura, an employee of the Tokyo-based beauty salon Ci:z.Labo, explained the benefits of snails as she placed three of the molluscs on a woman’s face to demonstrate.
She said: ‘Slime from snails helps remove old cells, heal the skin after sunburn and moisturise it.
‘In this way, you can have 100 per cent pure snail essence directly on the skin.’
Snail slime is claimed to have an anti-ageing effect on human skin, and some cosmetics are already sold with essence of escargot.
But Ci:z.Labo beauty salon is going one step further in what it says is the first live snail treatment in Japan.
As part of the salon’s ‘Celebrity Escargot Course’ customers get a 60-minute treatment costing around $250.
This begins with faces being washed before the molluscs are gently placed on the cheeks and forehead then allowed to move around as they please.
There then comes 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.
Sayaka Ito said she had found the treatment so relaxing that she had almost fallen asleep.
‘You can feel the snails moving on your face. At first, it is surprising, but it’s actually rather nice. My skin really does feel smooth and moist,’ she said.