Next time you are about to shell out on an anti-aging potion, check the ingredients for clams and you may prise open the secret to eternal youth. I know, I am embarrassing myself. Seriously, though, scientists have discovered that extracts of mussel and clam have powerful skin healing properties. Honestly, there seems no end to marine life in our potions these days (Dr Bragi with his cod enzymes , even Cargo's mascara has gone overboard).

Lipids from mytilus galloprovincialis L (mediterranean mussel) and rapana venosa (hard shell clam) from the Black Sea were shown to heal burns by a Romanian team at the University of Constanza. The study was conducted on rats and the shellfish enzymes were compared to a commercially available ointment containing fish oil.

According to the researchers the rats treated with the mussel or clam extracts showed almost complete regeneration by day 12. In contrast, the untreated animals took up to 22 days and the skin did not always totally recover.  Mussel extract seemed to be slightly more efficient than the clam, while combining the two did appear to lead to a more complete regeneration.

The researchers think that the concentrations of omega 3 and omega 6 are responsible for the results and conclude that the extracts have 'an outstanding potential' to be used in ointments and skin care products. OK, I'll clam up now.