How Do Koreans Take Care Of Their Skin?

How Do Koreans Take Care Of Their Skin?

Korean women skin care program

Different cultures put different emphasis on skin care. In America, a typical skin care routine can range anything from a quick wash and moisturizer to a face mask to clean out the pores. In Asia, keeping the skin healthy as you age is really important. Some East Asian cultures even encourage people to smile without teeth to avoid developing wrinkles in later life. Koreans especially take care of their skin very seriously.

The Korean 10-Step Program

One Korean skin care regimen that has become especially popular internationally is the 10-Step Program. It started out as a favored method among the women of Seoul. There are slight variations of it, with some claiming that all steps need to be followed each day = while others saying it’s perfectly fine to do only a few steps each a day.

The full program goes like this:

  1. Oil cleanser
  2. Foam cleanser
  3. Exfoliator
  4. Toner
  5. Essence
  6. Serum/Booster/Ampoule Treatment
  7. Face mask
  8. Eye Cream
  9. Face Cream
  10. Sunscreen

So it’s not that surprising that a lot of people choose to do only a few steps a day. To do all ten is time-consuming and expensive. However, it’s this kind of commitment to skin care that is shown throughout the Korean culture.

Cleansing and Protection of the Skin

The above program hits a lot of notes when it comes to skin health, but two cornerstones in Korean beauty are cleansing and protection from the sun. While an oil cleanser will clean off makeup or soot, the foam cleanser will take off anything water-based like dirt or sweat. This “double-cleanse” is immensely popular in Korea. Note that it’s even followed up with an exfoliation treatment.

Then along with these deep cleansing comes plenty of moisturizing and treatment products, plus SPF. Wearing sun screen in Korea isn’t just an essential if you’re planning a long, hot day at the beach — it’s often part of the every day regimen. This also means less amounts of tanning and sun spots. Both things that prevent the porcelain-like skin tone many Korean women and men have. Although there are products that can help lighten the skin too.

A Rise in Skin Care Technology

As programs like the 10-Step become more world-wide, Korea — and their government — have been using this to their advantage. With the entire world looking at them, their goal has been to take their intensive skin regimens internationally as an export. What does this mean for Korea? It means that government money is being spent on the production and development of new, high-tech skin care products to use locally and non-locally. The Korean beauty products that already exist are constantly being changed and updated to create more effective, desirable commodities.

Overall, if there’s any culture that takes the health of their skin seriously, it’s Korea. As their government invests in the beauty industry, and popular regimens become favored in other parts of the world, the extensive beauty routine may become more commonplace. Their dedication, however, stretches beyond just a multitude of products: staying out of the sun or making sure to keep a relaxed face is just as important. The 10-Step Program is the main example of what routine many Seoul women follow, but some are even said to put as many as 18 products on their skin a day. It really is no wonder why many people choose to buy their products from Asia or Korea — the quality and selection is extremely varied.

Much Overlooked Skin Improvement Technique

It’s easy to dive straight into overly technical, or intrusive procedures when you’re looking for that beauty ‘quick fix’.

But sometimes improving your appearance, and in particular the outward quality of your skins appearance, can be achieved by some very simple techniques which are easily applied.

Our skin constantly renews and rebuilds itself. So it naturally sheds older, dead skins cells on a daily basis. This process happens all by itself and needs no help of course.

But it also means that the outer layers of our skin, the part that everyone sees, is rarely looking at it’s best. Because the newer, fresher, brighter skins cells are underneath the old ones that are waiting to drop off. Makes a lot of sense, right?


And this is the whole point of exfoliation.

This simple process of gently removing the dull, old skin on the very surface can make a huge difference to your skins outward appearance. It should not be underestimated, particularly on the face.

The easiest way to exfoliate is to simply use a mitt designed for the purpose. There are many different kinds available, but it is worth spending a little more to get really good results. One that regularly gets very positive reviews is the Baiden mitten. This all over body mitt has those old skin cells literally rolling off in layers, leaving fresher glowing healthy looking skin beneath. If you watch the video demonstrating how to use it you’ll be pretty amazed at the potential.

It is one of the more expensive products however, so if your budget doesn’t quite stretch that far, you can also get some very good results with the Dermasuri mitt ( This one looks great, costs less, but will still last you a reasonable period of time too.

An Extra Benefit

There is a major side benefit to all this exfoliation too. Which is that you can actually get better results from any expensive creams or lotions that you are already using. This is because the skin can better absorb them, and get them to down to the layers where they do what they are supposed to be doing and therefore do you the most good.

That alone makes the price of a quality exfoliation mitt worth it many times over.

Our skins are of course a living organ. It’s the largest organ in the body, weighing in at somewhere between 3kg and 4kg. A figure that doesn’t fail to surprise most people. Or that we’ve got something like 2 square meters of skin area all told.

So it makes sense to maximise the health of that organ just like any other. The difference with our skin though is that it’s also one of the most visible organs in our body. So it’s worth taking extra care of that aspect too.

Not Just Skin Deep – Skin Color & Fashion

As any anatomy student will confirm, beauty is not just skin deep.

I think there’s a joke in there somewhere just trying to get out. But I’ll leave it at that 🙂

But of course bone structure and alignment are actually at the core of what we consider modern beauty. Which itself is a moving target – what’s considered healthy and beautiful today is definitely not the same as that we considered healthy a hundred years ago!

Not just because our knowledge and understanding has changed. But also because tastes and fashions change too.

Those ‘fashions’ dictate at the very core how we desire to look.

And that means everything from what we consider ‘fat’ to even the  very color of our skins. Look at reviews of the Meladerm cream for example. That’s not a product we would have been looking for or even making just 50 years ago.


But this kind of whitening skin cream product has now become very popular, particularly amongst ethnicities with naturally darker skin who are looking for a mild to moderate lightening effect, to change appearance and tone of their natural skin color. Typically on the face. Korean women for example are reknowned for their porcelain skin tone, and many women of darker complexions want that same look. It’s a phenomenon driven by our media and advertising rich world we live in. Everywhere we see ‘perfect’ images of women who come from completely different parts of the world and have inherited genetically different looks and skin tones/types. We want those looks because they are beautiful even though they may be fundamentally unattainable due to differing ethnicity.

It’s interesting that these skin lightening products also have many other uses, you can even use it as an armpit whitening cream. Which doesn’t seem to be something men would ever use themselves, but women are actively seeking out ways to whiten the skin in their armpit areas. Although our armpit skin is often naturally a different tone to that of the other areas of our body, this really matters to some people. If we lived in a culture where women didn’t shave their underarm areas and/or expose those areas then it wouldn’t matter. But that isn’t the current fashion and it does therefore matter to people, so shouldn’t be dismissed too lightly.

Such fashions change – as lighter skinned people attempt to tan themselves darker, and vice versa. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong here, it’s just a case of what we are exposed to, globalisation and how our ideas of beauty change over time as a result. It may sound a little crazy but if an exquisitely beautiful alien race with green skin came to live amongst us, it would likely take less than 50 years before people would start adding green tinges to their skins in order to look more beautiful.

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