We grow older, we make memories, and our faces and bodies age. Ageing is inevitable and it’s not something to be ashamed of. However, we live in a culture striving to find the ultimate fountain of youth. Scientific jargon on face creams claiming to banish fine lines with ingredients that seem questionable; a booming plastic surgery industry that can change any part of your face or body; a wave of at-home device systems; and transforming facial treatments available at your local spa. It’s a fact that we’d all like to slow the process of ageing, particularly on our faces, and the way you want to pursue that is a personal choice. But what about something more low-key? A K-beauty routine will not necessarily have the same effect as Botox but taking care of your skin consistently is a great place to start. Let’s see how Korean-inspired beauty practices both can prevent and help with the signs of premature ageing.
Culturally, taking care of skin starts at a young age in Korea. We see this in the child-friendly skincare lines, family trips to the jjimjilbang sauna, and the sun protection obsession that infiltrates daily life in Korea (just observe all the huge visors and UV protectant clothing you see on the streets). Typically, in the UK, we don’t really begin thinking about skincare until we have a problem. Whether that’s acne as a teenager or wrinkles appearing around our eyes as we reach our early 30s, we tend to approach skincare reactively rather than preventatively. This is such a mistake! The best tool of anti-ageing is time. So, wherever you’re at in life, if you begin caring for you skin now, you’re going to prevent further damage or premature ageing.
Dehydration causes skin to age much more quickly. Dehydration is a skin condition where there is a lack of water. This is not the same as dry skin, which is a skin type lacking in oil. You can have an oily skin type, and yet your skin can be dehydrated! Key signs of dehydrated skin are a dull complexion and fine lines, and thus an aged look.
To prevent this, one of the core steps in any K-Beauty routine is hydration. Toners and essences are super thin liquid products, applied directly after cleansing. They absorb quickly and are very low-maintenance. The main purpose of Korean-style toners is to hydrate skin, replenish moisture, and prep skin for the rest of your routine. Adding hydrating steps to your routine can transform your skin, and over time will improve your complexion and reduce or prevent fine lines. This is such as important step for your anti-ageing and you will quickly see a difference in the suppleness and natural glow of your skin.
Massage is an important part of Asian health culture and is globally visible today with the widespread popularity of facial massage tools such as jade rollers or gua sha. There are a LOT of claims for what massage can achieve, but for anti-ageing there really can be benefits.
As we get older, we experience more puffiness, wrinkle formation, and a dull complexion. Puffiness is caused by fluid retention and can often give an overall tired look to your face. By following simple online tutorials, you can learn how to drain your lymphatic system of that fluid. Massaging also increases blood circulation which increases collagen production- giving you a natural glow and more youthful appearance to skin. You don’t need to spend hours on these massage techniques but incorporating them into your evening routine or dedicating one evening a week to a pamper session will help your skin in your anti-ageing quest. Doing massage can also relieve muscle tension, and can help you physically and mentally unwind.
We talked about the importance of sun protection in our Top Travel Beauty Tips, but sunscreen is not just for vacation, as many of us believe in the UK. Sunscreen is one of the most valuable anti-ageing tools and should be used on a daily basis, regardless of whether it’s hot and sunny or cloudy and cold! Sun damage causes wrinkles, pigmentation spots, blotchiness and loose skin. In Korea, sun protection is of the highest importance. This is shown by the sheer number of facial sunscreens available on the shelves of Korean pharmacies, the abundance of people wearing UV protectant clothing, the popular use of parasols, and the occasionally aggressive shade-seeking that everyone participates in whenever the sun shows it’s face in Korea.
If you start at a young enough age, you can prevent the premature ageing effect from the sun. If you’ve already suffered from sun damage, starting now will prevent further issues and can even help reverse some of the problems you’re experiencing. Asian sunscreens tend to be more cosmetically elegant for daily wear, and we love Innisfree Aqua UV Protection Cream Water Drop SPF 50+ PA++++. Using a sunscreen specifically formulated for facial wear will help you be consistent in using it every day. You also need to ensure you’re using enough sunscreen to fully protect your skin. The NHS advises to use two teaspoons for covering head, neck and arms. So, for the face alone, common advice is around a quarter of a teaspoon. The skin on our neck and top of our hands is also particularly susceptible for the signs of ageing, so applying liberally to those areas is a good idea too.
Have you seen the photo of the trucker who had had half his face exposed to the sun during his lifetime career? Living proof in the what we are saying…
Photo New England Medical Journal ©
Ultimately? Care for the skin you’re in.
Of course, there are surgeries and extreme treatments that produce overnight age-reversal results, but if you’re caring for your skin for the long-term, you need a long-term plan. A K-Beauty routine does not have to be complicated, and can simply include cleansing, hydrating, moisturizing and sunscreen. For anti-ageing, K-beauty is a fantastic option, and you can try to include the above suggestions we’ve discussed in this post.
Making time to care for your skin, and self-care generally, can improve not only your mental health, but also how we look and feel on the outside. Getting older is admittedly something we try to slow down as humans, but if you’ve cared for yourself properly, the ageing we will see in our faces is inevitable, and the sign of a life well-lived. Care for yourself, and the rest is up to nature!
Katherine Spowart from skinfullofseoul.com
Photo © Julian-Schropel