By Neo Kolane
Battling with skin a condition called cystic acne which forced her to cover her face with a mask and make-up at all times, inspired ‘Marealeboha Chabeli to produce skincare products using a liquid secreted by snails.
Chabeli ventured into this business called LCK Organic Skincare in August 2021 after starting a snail growing in April 2021.
The 39-year old innovator has partnered with her mentor and an investor to bring the total number of hands-on-deck to three.
It was cystic acne is a condition where there are large, red, painful breakouts deep on the skin.
Pimples start when a pore in the skin gets clogged, usually with dead skin cells. Bacteria can also get trapped, causing the area to become red and swollen.
In an interview with theReporter this week, Chabeli said despite trying different types of treatment, the condition did not go away; she actually had to sleep on her back to avoid bursting the pimples.
She tried several skin care products but that could not help. Her attempt to use goat soap made in Teyateyaneng in Berea could not treat her the condition.
A Good Samaritan came through for her in April 2021 who suggested snail slime to her.
“I made a research before going ahead with the remedy and I learnt that snail slime is acclaimed worldwide for being good on the skin.
“I took three weeks researching about the snails and made several trips to Cape Town in South Africa. There I learned that snails produce three kinds of liquid; the first is a silvery liquid produced as they move which has both glue and lubricant properties.
“The second one is a white like saliva which is secreted by the snails when they are stressed because they are very emotional animals,” she said.
However, Chabeli opted for the third liquid, a green or rather lime coloured liquid that snails release when they are at ease.
She applied it to her skin and after three weeks the pores she had on her skin closed up and she was left with a small layer of skin, signifying that she was healing slowly.
Chabeli confidently said there were no side effects experienced.
She started preserving the needed plants that help the snails’ secrete the green liquid.
She tested it on a few people with the same condition as hers. It proved that indeed their bad skin conditions started to disappear.
She said she was approached by many people who enquired whether she was selling the product. That is when she realised she could strike gold.
Now she rears snails in large numbers and has now built a small house for them.
The snails are fed mango, cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes and are “treated like humans because they get emotional.”
“It is winter season and they die due to cold. So I have rented a room for them to keep them in doors,” she added.
She advised people to allow the snails to slide on their bodies as they secret a lubricant that speeds up the healing process.
“I do the treatment for free because I know the experience of hiding behind both the mask and make-up.
“The oil is a secretion from the snail, which has no bacteria and has been preserved by plants. It has no chemicals at all.
The product was tested in a laboratory at the National University of Lesotho and will soon be regulated by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) so that it can be found in major supermarkets.
Having sold over 7 000 bottles of LCK Organic Skincare to date, Chabeli is hoping to cure many more skin problems throughout the African continent.
The snail oil can be found from ‘Marealeboha Chabeli on +266- 6393 3211.
- Additional information from NUL Innovation Hub.