Do we need any more explaining how the world is now looking to Koreans as an authority in skin care and a trendsetter for all things beauty? From the silver screen and TV screens to overhead advertisements billboards and brand endorsements, the Koreans have iron-branded their interpretation of beauty, skincare and personal maintenance.
Don’t understand what we mean? Just have a glance at Song Hye-Kyo who is seemingly untouched by time, Park Shin-Hye’s heart-melting countenance and, of course, not forgetting Yoona’s unassailable complexion.
So what’s the secret behind their enviable skin?
Sebum, or oil naturally secreted by the skin, is indispensable when it comes to protecting and moisturising the skin, and the skin can be stripped of it by cleansers and soap. It is, thus, crucial that you apply at least a skincare product meant to oil up your skin as soon as you can after a cleanse to replace the washed-off sebum.
Some South Korean skincare conglomerates apply the philosophy that outward beauty begins with internal health and harmony, and that the Asian beauty is connected with nature. This dogma and similar variations of it are now widely adopted by many key players in the Korean beauty market. The results include anything from Korean ginseng-based anti-ageing regimes and Jeju-sourced green tea for skin moisturisation to soybeans for strengthening the skin and even bija to fight inflammation.
Swearing off chemicals and artificial compounds and go all natural is definitely a good and sound foundation to work in a beauty regimen, but do you know what really works for you to put more skin in the game?
Below are 5 all-time superstar ingredients that not just you but even Korean pop, drama and TV stars can adopt into daily skincare routines and give your skin a leg up!
You should be no stranger to this peculiarly humanoid-looking root plant that has been regarded as an early superfood in the Far East. Ginseng, the root of plants in the Panax genus, is known for its broad tonic and medicinal properties. Contrary to popular belief, ginseng is not exclusive to Asia but is also a native plant in North America.
In the realm of skincare, compounds within ginseng are renowned for their ability to promote the delivery of oxygen and blood flow to your skin cells for a healthy and radiant glow. It also possesses inflammation-fighting and antioxidant properties that aid you in protecting your skin from damage by free radicals.
Touted as a super plant credited for anything from giving you fresh breath, granting a good night’s sleep, anti-cancer, free radicals fighter, aid in weight loss and even longevity, the green tea has also been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to soothe skin irritation.
Characterised by its slightly pale green colour, the green tea contains a potent antioxidant called EGCG that counters free radicals and stalls premature ageing. It is also packed full of catechins, a natural phenol and antioxidant, that aids you in soothing your body’s inflammation response so as to keep skin smooth and radiant. Green tea is also abounding in vitamin B2 that is crucial in maintaining healthy collagen levels for elastic, healthy and supple skin, while its high vitamin E content promotes skin renewal.
Not only are soybeans delicious when made into milky drinks or as nutritious tofu, it is also a powerhouse of other nutrients vital for healthy skin — truly a gift to the world by courtesy of East Asia.
Soybeans are a source of phytoestrogens that are essential in helping you maintain healthy skin elasticity. Phytoestrogens (meaning plant-based oestrogen) in soybeans promote the production of oestrogen in your body that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Certain compounds in soybeans prevent dark pigments, called melanin, from “staining” skin cells, resulting in a brightening effect on your outer appearance.
Scientifically known as Centella Asiatica, it is also known by many as the Indian Pennywort. The green leafy herb has been used for hundreds of years as a traditional treatment for burns and wounds. Wild tigers have been known to rub their wounds against it, possibly for the same reasons.
Cica is abounding with beta-carotene, amino acids, fatty acids and phytochemicals such as vitamins A, C, B1 and B2. Cica possesses properties that soothe the skin, boost antimicrobial action and calms the body’s inflammatory response. Some use it to treat acne and sensitive skin.
Known also as Torreya Nucifera, the bija plant is an evergreen pine found on Jeju Island, a well-known tourist spot in South Korea. The bija fruit has been likened by many to the nutmeg, albeit the Korean version of it.
Since ancient times, the bija seed has found its way into traditional medicine for its antibacterial action and anti-inflammatory properties. If you have sensitive and acne-prone skin, the bija seed is ideal for treating it.