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Asian Beauty Secrets: How South Koreans Maintain Perfect, Youthful, and Glowing Skin


South Koreans seem to have unlocked the secrets to perfect-looking skin. From the K-Pop idols to K-drama actors, the women and men of South Korean descent who are becoming increasingly popular in the United States all have youthful, even, and enviably blemish-free skin.

American consumers want to achieve flawless skin. Many of them have been trying out the myriad of K-Beauty products that are now being sold in CVS and Sephora. A few years ago, the intricate 12-step Korean skincare regimen also became a massive trend across the nation, with celebrities and social media influencers vouching for its efficacy.

There is no all-in-one trick that all Koreans ascribe to for beautiful skin. They all have different routines and prefer different products that work for their specific skin types and concerns. However, there are a few similarities in how they care for their skin that Americans should incorporate into their daily beauty regimen.

Visit Your Dermatologist, Aesthetician Regularly

Koreans care about their skin a lot and, in addition to at-home treatments, they get outside help from experts. They visit dermatologists and aestheticians frequently for procedures that will address their present skin concerns and prevent blemishes in the future.

Going to a jjimjilbang, a bathhouse or spa, is quite common. In a jjimjilbang, they can get a scrub to remove dead skin cells or spend time inside a sauna where the warm humidity can clear the skins of any dirt.

Moreover, they do not hesitate about spending money for facial treatments and massages every two weeks, to keep their skin looking flawless. One Korean dermatologist says that, while American women only go to their dermatologist or aesthetician when needed, Koreans will return every day if needed for follow-up treatment.

They are Not Afraid to Experiment with Weird Ingredients

If you look around K-Beauty, you will encounter ingredients that you will not normally see in American-made skincare products. Stuff like snail mucin, bee venom, or pig collagen does not intimidate them because they know that these ingredients will benefit their skin.

Snail mucin/mucus, which is as the name suggests the slime that snails leave behind, is common in K-Beauty. It is incorporated in sheet masks, moisturizers, or applied as a serum. Unless you are allergic to it, snail mucin can be used by everyone regardless of skin type. It adds hydration to the skin, keeping it moisturized and youthful throughout the day. It also boosts the production of collagen in your skin, preventing lines and wrinkles.

On the other hand, bee venom is the acidic liquid released when they sting. These contain peptides that, although they act as toxins, can promote healthy skin by providing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. Using it would reduce acne, redness, and wrinkles. One study found that women who applied bee venom as a serum twice a day had fewer wrinkle counts and had shallower wrinkle depth.

man washing his face

Cleansing is Really Important

The 12-step Korean skincare regimen calls for two cleaners: one uses an oil-based cleanser to dissolve makeup and dirt, the other is a foam-based cleanser to wash it all off.

Cleansing is an important part of skincare, regardless of whether you are Korean or American. However, in South Korea, they do it differently.

The oil-based cleanser, which is the first step of the routine, is meant to be massaged gently onto every part of the face to remove all traces of makeup. It takes time, but you would not be tugging at your eyelids to get rid of waterproof mascara. Using a washcloth, wipe the gunk off your skin easily.

The foam-based cleanser, unlike other soap, would not leave your skin dry. It removes products leftover from the first step without completely stripping the skin of moisture.

Their Diet Benefits their Skin

However, South Koreans may have had a leg up because their cuisine is filled with food that benefits the skin.

You probably have already heard of kimchi, fermented cabbage which is a staple in every meal. It is not only good for your health, but it is also rich in antioxidants which aid in slowing the aging process.

Seaweed is another staple in their diets. They make seaweed soup to celebrate birthdays. It is also given to mothers who have recently undergone childbirth in order to replace the nutrients they have lost from the procedure. Seaweed has hydrating properties. It also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging effects when applied topically or eaten.

Skincare is not one-size-fits-all. What works for them may not work for you and vice versa. However, there are many things to be learned from how South Koreans treat their skin.

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