Have you ever wondered how Korean people get their glowing and dewy skin? This article created by the experts at Seoul Guide Medical will explain it! Together with us, you’ll have a great start to the new year!
How To Get Glowing Skin
Although topical products such as toner, ampoules and creams play a role in skin care, Koreans get their glass skin look by undergo treatments at skin care clinics and dermatology clinics. This article will cover basic treatment and not go into laser or more advanced treatments to reduce pigmentation, reduce pores, wrinkles etc. General treatments are done to improve skin quality, texture and leave you looking and feeling your best.
Although there are many general treatments to choose from depending on your skin condition, two of the most popular ones are the BB Shine and the Korean Oxygen treatment. Both of these are non-invasive and have little to no downtime. They are great for the holidays if you want glowing skin without having to wait until the results are noticeable. You leave with the results right away or by the next day at the latest. Please note that these treatments are not simple facials that you can get a spa but are effective treatments that are done at clinics.
BB Shine incorporates the most advanced form of cleaning and serum infusing aqua machines also known as aqua peel. This treatment provides cleaning via suction, exfoliating, extracting, and hydrating. The BB shine is excellent for those who want a facial but don’t want to have anything invasive. It’s important not to confuse BB Shine with BB Laser. The latter is a specific pore laser treatment.
Before undergoing the BB Shine treatment you may get a skin scan which will determine if you should undergo this exact treatment and see the doctor. You will then have your face professionally cleansed and your pores opened through a high end steam machine. Once your pores are opened, the BB Shine machine will have the first step suction tip attached and extraction of dirt and other particles in your face will begin. While the vacuum process occurs, AHA’s, BHA’s, and hyaluronic acid is deeply infused into your skin using the same machine. The tip of the BB Shine suction machine is changed which allows for a deeper level of penetration and additional rounds of treatment are done over the entire face including the nose. You will find that things such as whiteheads and blackheads are removed without damaging the skin which is something that easily can happen when using store bought extraction stickers. Once the high end aqua portion of the treatment is done you will undergo a series of additional treatments such as ultrasound, radio frequency, cooling strips, diatomaceous earth mask, PDRN treatment and rejuvenation laser light therapy. The exact steps within the treatment vary depending on your skin needs.
This treatment gives you smoother skin, better skin tone, rejuvenated skin, reduces acne, improves skin volume, removes whiteheads, removes blackheads and leaves your skin looking glassy. There are also other treatments that may go well with this one.
The entire treatment will take about 40-60 minutes depending on your needs. This treatment is non-invasive and can be done at a maximum of 2-3 times per week if needed but most people in Korea do it either once a week, once to a few times per month or as needed.
With skin care just as with skin products, you get what you pay for. If you are using low quality aqua machines, low quality ingredients, remove essential ingredients such as PDRN, remove additional treatments such as ultrasound, rejuvenation laser light therapy etc., then the cost will be lower but so will the results. We have seen BB Shine treatments go as high as around 1,000,000 KRW per treatment but for high end treatment you will normally be paying between 250,000 KRW to 400,000 KRW per treatment. Lower than this and you are sure to get low quality. To find out the exact price of your treatment contact us at [email protected]
Korean Oxygen Treatment
The Korean Oxygen Treatment is another way to achieve glowing skin. It works the best when hyaluronic acid deeply infused into the skin. Don’t be afraid of the word acid here, it will not damage your face. The aesthetician uses a high-pressure device to blow hyaluronic acid into the skin, after which she places the oxygen dome over the face. In this dome, only purified oxygen is used. The patient inhales the oxygen, and the skin absorbs it as well the hyaluronic acid even better. An added benefit is that with the pure oxygen dome, you feel great! This treatment can be combined with BB Shine and often is.
The oxygen dome also makes sure the skin can absorb the all the serums and nutrients more efficiently that are used during treatment. It also helps regenerates skin cells, removes bacteria which causes acne, boosts collagen production and overall skin tone.
This treatment is non-invasive and can be done whenever needed. Just like with BB Shine, most Koreans do it either once a week, once to a few times per month or as needed.
The Korean oxygen Treatment takes about 30 minutes to complete and doesn’t hurt. In fact, it feels great! There is also no downtime, and you can even wear makeup right after the treatment. You can leave the clinic right away with dewy and glowy skin.
The cost of this treatment depends on the ingredients being used and the quality of the oxygen dome as well as the quality of the clinic. If you have a cheap oxygen dome and cheap ingredients then you get a lower price but drastically lower results. One thing you should think about is how much money you spend on topical products that scientifically do only a fraction of what skin care treatments do. You will then see that the cost of these treatments is relatively inexpensive especially since you are getting the top quality treatments in the world.
During the Pandemic
These treatments are great for getting the dewiest skin and achieving that radiant look. Unfortunately, we are still in a pandemic, and most countries have instituted a protective mask system which is causing havoc with people’s skin. The above treatments help so much by improving your skin so you won’t end up with “mask skin”. It’s best not to leave it until it is too late. We see the mask effect on patients who end up with allergic reactions and even acne. This would require more advanced treatments to fix. It’s better to keep your skin in good condition by getting treatments when needed. For other details about the pandemic situation in Korea, we’ve written an article about getting plastic surgery in Korea during the pandemic. You can read it here.
For the best home skin care, there are some things you can do. It’s essential to know how to treat your skin the right way. Using different ingredients can be used to obtain the best effects. To understand what kind of ingredients you can use, you also need to know what skin type you have. Here’s a quick overview of what skin types there are and how to know which skin type you have.
What is my skin type?
There are a few main skin types.
- Oily skin
- Dry skin
- Combination skin
- Sensitive skin
This skin type can be combined, but to keep things a little more straightforward, we’re going to use these four. There is also a fifth type where the skin is “normal.” Here is where the sebum production is in the normal range; the skin isn’t too dry either, and it can withstand any environmental change.
To know your skin type is the essential part, as mentioned before. But how do you find your skin type? There are a few characteristics to each skin type. Here’s a quick overview of what each of them is.
Oily skin characterizes itself by producing too much sebum. Sebum is an oily substance that keeps your skin supple and smooth, but if there’s too much sebum production, you might have an oily skin type.
You have oily skin if:
- Your face is shiny and often has breakouts
- You don’t have wrinkles, or they are less visible
- Your pores are visible and enlarged
- Your makeup wears off easily
Dry skin is the complete opposite of oily skin. The skin is not producing enough sebum and can create an itchy face.
You have dry skin if:
- Your skin feels rough, tight, itchy, and lacks elasticity
- You’re prone to redness, irritation, and infection
- Your pores are barely visible
- You have fine lines and wrinkles, often at an earlier age than others
- Your skin looks dull
As the name suggests, this is a combination skin type between dry and oily skin. With this skin type, sebum production is high in the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) but lower on the cheeks, eyes, and mouth.
You have combination skin if:
- You have an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin)
- You have enlarged pores in the T-zone area
- You have blackheads and some impurities
- You have normal to dry cheeks
Like dry skin, your sebum production is low, which makes your skin dry, and it can have the characteristics of a dry skin type. It is also sensitive to many ingredients in skincare, and it is reactive to changes in your environment.
You have sensitive skin if:
- Your skin reacts quickly to much skincare
- Your skin shows redness
- You have dry skin
- You are prone to breakouts (irritation on the skin is also a factor for acne)
- You are prone to sunburn and rashes
What to look for in ingredients
As you can see, there are many differences in each skin type. This is also why not every skincare product works for every person, and this changes even if you have the same skin type.
This skin type has high sebum production, resulting in overall oily skin, bigger pores, and breakouts. Because of the oily skin, sometimes it’s thought that you should remove the oil and not use moisturizers. Because of this, many people with this skin type have dehydrated skin. Hydration in the skin is essential in all skin types; the only thing you should do is choose the proper hydration for your skin. Choosing the right ingredients is vital, and beneath is a list of what ingredients you should look for.
For oily skin we recommend:
- Hyaluronic acid (HA)
- Salicylic acid (BHA)
- Glycolic acid (AHA)
Hyaluronic acid (HA)
As mentioned above, hydration is essential, and this molecule, produced by your own body, traps the water in the body. It also delivers moisture directly to your skin cells, making it effective in its capabilities.
This ingredient is often used for anti-aging products as it also reduces fine lines and wrinkles, but it does more! Retinol, also known as Vitamin A, reduces the sebum production. This results in a less sebum, and therefore less acne breakouts. However, it is an ingredient that doesn’t go well with AHA’s like glycolic acid or BHA’s like salicylic acid, or vitamin C. Retinol has a lot of benefits but one should choose well what type of ingredients they combine it with.
Salicylic acid (BHA)
This is probably the most well known anti-acne ingredient. But how does it work? Salicylic acid has a lot of great benefits including anti-bacterial factors. Acne itself isn’t just caused by excess sebum production. Excess sebum production results in clogged pores and black or whiteheads, but not acne. Acne is caused by bacteria. This can come from your hands, the outside air, or other factors. To have a product in your skincare routine that is antibacterial, is vital for people with oily skin.
This ingredient has some similarities with Retinol and Salicylic acid. Like retinol, it reduces the sebum production and like salicylic acid, it’s anti-inflammatory, resulting in less acne. However the benefits are lower than retinol and salicylic acid. This ingredient also reduces the size of the pores and it’s non-irritating, making it perfect to combine with other ingredients and for people with sensitive skin.
Glycolic acid (AHA)
This ingredient can be derived from sugar cane but is most effective when made synthetically. It’s an exfoliant and removes the outermost layer of the skin. This mainly consists of dead skin cells, and glycolic acid works to loosen the bonds between the tightly packed skin cells. This molecule is a small molecule, and it gets into the deeper layers of the skin more easily. Here it works on the fibroblasts, which take care of your skin’s elasticity, and therefore wrinkles and fine lines. It can also work as a water-binding molecule, resulting in more hydration.
Sensitive and dry skin
Whether hereditary, environmental factors cause sensitive skin, or if the use of low-quality skin products causes it, this type of skin needs hydration and soothing ingredients. Anything non-fragrance is the best since many people with this type of skin find that fragrance or perfume causes irritation and sensitivity beneath a list of ingredients for people with sensitive and dry skin.
For sensitive and dry skin, we recommend:
- Aloe vera
- Hyaluronic acid
- Lactic acid (AHA)
This ingredient is well-known for its soothing capacities, great for irritated skin. It also has hydrating benefits, which deliver well-needed hydration.
Hyaluronic acid (HA)
This ingredient is well known for its hydrating capacities and can replenish the skin. It moisturizes, soothes, and prevents moisture loss. As a bonus, it also acts as an antioxidant and defends against environmental factors.
This ingredient also helps with hydration but in a different way. This fatty lipid or waxy-like molecule holds the skin tightly together. It does for dehydrated skin to have the hydration levels in the skin at a certain level. It protects the outside layer from allergens and environmental factors, making it great for sensitive skin.
Lactic acid (AHA)
This ingredient can help with exfoliating the skin. Because it’s a very gentle exfoliant, it’s suitable for sensitive skin as well. It also works as hydration by strengthening the skin’s barrier in making more ceramides. As mentioned before, ceramides are fatty lipid, which traps the moisture inside, hydrating the skin.
As mentioned before, a combination skin type can cause oily skin and has dry skin areas. A person with a combination skin type should be careful not to lower the sebum production in the arid regions and not be too gentle in the oily areas. The cause of combination skin can be different from person to person, and sometimes it’s just genetics. It can also be caused by the weather, hormones, and stress.
Because this skin type has dry and oily skin, it’s important to incorporate different ingredients into your skincare routine. Like oily skin, it’s essential to integrate salicylic acid for its anti-inflammatory and sebum-reducing benefits. Niacinamide can be included as well for its anti-inflammatory but also its hydrating benefits.
Hydration with this skin type is one of the most critical factors. Because the skin lacks hydration, we need to add this to the skin routine.
So, in general, we’d recommend:
- Hyaluronic acid (for hydration)
- Salicylic acid (for exfoliation and anti-inflammatory)
- Niacinamide (for anti-inflammatory and reducing of sebum production)
- Glycolic acid (for exfoliant and hydration purposes)
Many top end clinics used the Seoul Guide Medical Elegance Sheet Masks as part of their take home skin care kits after treatment. These masks have been bio designed using genetic data and other data gathered from skin care clinics. The result is the highest quality masks designed to balance out your skin levels and get your skin to optimal condition. This is functional cosmetic product and not just a feel good product. Of Course there are limitations when using topical products at home but in combination with clinical skin care, the effect is outstanding.
Famous 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine
Together with this information about the different skin types and about what each ingredient does for each skin, you can make the 10 step Korean skincare routine even more effective.
A 10-step Korean skincare routine consists of:
- Make-up remover and oil cleanser
First, a make-up remover and an oil cleanser has to be used to remove all the make-up, the pollution from the outside air, sebum and SPF.
- Water-based cleanser
Cleaning two times with a cleanser that targets something else than the oil cleanser is more effective than washing your face once. This cleanser targets water-based impurities like sweat.
This step cleans out pores and removes dead skin cells for brighter and smoother skin. It also helps to absorb the products after this step.
The toner helps prep the skin for the other products to follow and removes any leftover residue of the cleansers.
This step helps with hydration, anti-aging, and your overall skin tone.
Here’s where the serums come in. It targets the specific problem areas and your skin concerns.
- Sheet mask
Sheet masks are at the center of Korean skincare and help your skin absorb as many nutrients and moisture as possible.
- Eye cream
This step of the routine hydrates helps with puffiness and fine lines around the eyes by hydrating.
Which type of moisturizer you need depends on your skin type, but it should seal in the moisture of all the completed steps.
Always finish off with sunscreen (SPF) in the daytime. Sunscreen works as the best anti-aging product and protects your skin from harmful UV rays from the sun. Seoul Guide Medical has Korean beauty boxes that can be shipped all around the world. To purchase these products click here.
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