In recent years, makeup and skincare brands from South Korea, dubbed K-Beauty, have experienced a surge of popularity in the West. Americans, in particular, have fallen in love with sheet masks and serums that promise to plump the skin up and decrease the sign of aging, even if the products sometimes contain ingredients that are odd and unfamiliar such as snail mucus and bee venom.
Asian Beauty Emerges
The rise of K-Beauty in the West is thanks in part to Korean Wave (Hallyu). Along with K-Beauty, South Korea has been exporting boy and girl pop groups (K-Pop), television shows (K-Drama), movies, and food.
However, it can also be attributed to how the world sees not just South Koreans but East Asians in general. When they see members of Blackpink and BTS or actors in shows like “Crash Landing on You” and “Itaewon Class,” they are struck by how smooth, radiant, and youthful everyone looks. Many Americans followed the extensive 12 to 20 step skincare routine using mostly K-Beauty products in the hopes that they, too, will achieve flawless skin.
The Korean beauty market is one of the biggest in the world. It also is not the only Asian beauty market experiencing increased interest globally. Japanese and Chinese skincare have their own cult followings around the world, and brands from Singapore and Thailand are starting to gain fans outside of their respective home countries.
But, why do South Koreans and Asians seem to age slower than other races?
The Truth Behind ‘Asian Don’t Raisin’
It is a popular quip: “Asians don’t raisin.” Asians of any gender often look, not just one or two, but 10 years younger than their actual age.
Science says there is truth to it. A plastic surgeon explained to AARP that the appearance of aging is influenced by muscle, soft tissue, and bone structure. As people age, they experience soft tissue and bone loss. That leads to changes in the skin associated with growing old. Asians have wider bone structure than many Caucasians which make the loss of soft tissue less noticeable.
Similarly, back skin “does not crack” as the saying goes because of melanin. The melanin responsible for the color of their hair and skin protects them from the damaging rays of the sun, preventing fine lines and wrinkles.
Asians Have Skin Problems, Too
However, while Asian skin appears to be aging slower, it is not perfect. Like everyone else, Asians experience various skin issues that prevent them from achieving the perfect complexion.
Asians, including Singaporeans, have oily skin. Blame it on the warmer weather and the humidity. It can be a bane because excess sebum often leads to acne and blotchy pigmentation or scars.
Freia Medical in Singapore, for instance, provides various treatments to address skin issues, including pigmentation and scars. Their Neogen Plasma stimulates collagen, which restores the elasticity and bounciness of the skin.
Moreover, being Asian makes a person more likely to develop keloid scars. Keloid scars are not dangerous, but it is permanent and can be very noticeable. It occurs when the scar tissue forms over the injured skin to protect it. However, keloids are often much larger than the wound. It can look raised and ridged which can become a source of embarrassment for some people, especially young ones.
The keloid usually flattens and shrinks over time, but applying a moisturizer to the new scar can reduce its appearance. Doctors may also suggest surgical removal or laser treatment to remove keloid scars quickly and permanently.
In addition, Asian skin also has a thinner stratum corneum, the protective outer barrier, which makes it more sensitive. Changes in temperature, chemicals in beauty products, and pollution can irritate the skin, leaving it red and prone to acne. That is one reason why many skincare products from Asian countries are gentler than their Western counterparts. One harsh ingredient can damage Asian skin.
That is also why Asians take better care of their skin. They religiously wear sunscreen when they have to go out and make sure to wash their face to remove makeup before they go to bed. The many products they use all serve different purposes, targeting different issues, and they do not slack off from following their skincare routine every day.
Asian skin is not, in any way, superior to others. Everyone’s skin is unique and, therefore, experiences different problems. Despite the amazing skincare products from Asia, Asians also encounter skin issues that prevent them from looking flawless and perfect. They address it by taking better care of their skin and their bodies.