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Korean skincare Q&A with Dr So He Lim

Dr Soo He Lim

Words by Korean beauty expert Vicky Lee.

Korean women are renowned for their youthful and flawless complexions. To find out a few more of their secrets, I talked to Dr So He Lim, a dermatologist at NAMU Skin Clinic, one of the most prestigious clinics in Korea. The clinic is located in Gangnam, the wealthiest town in Korea; known for its high standards of living and affluent culture. Dr Soo He Lim is also member of the Korean Society for Acne Research, and the Korean Association for Laser, Dermatology and Technology – Here she shares her insightful expert comments and advice on Korean skincare that you should follow:

1. What are the biggest skincare concerns Korean women have?
Korean women, just like women all over the world, crave a youthful and flawless complexion. When they come to my office, they are mostly asking for help in treating the premature signs of aging, including loss of elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation caused by aging and UV rays. Large pores are another common concern among Korean women.

2. What are the most requested skincare treatments in Korea?
The most requested treatment in Korea is L.E.D. (Laser Eclat Dual) toning, because it addresses all the main skincare concerns, including freckles, dark spots, melasma, large pores and wrinkles. L.E.D. Toning unites the therapies of ND-YAG laser toning, E-toning, and optical retinol for effective brightening and whitening of the skin.

L.E.D. Toning features five steps:
The first is E-toning, which helps treat edema.

The second step is Helios II toning, which addresses freckles and melasma, reducing their appearance.

Auto MTS, the third step, absorbs excess sebum, eliminates blackheads, and shrinks the pores.

The fourth step is isotonic iontophoresis, a new technique that aids the penetration of the powerful antioxidants retinol and vitamin C through the epidermis, maximizing their effectiveness.

Finally, the treatment ends with oxygen peeling, which softens and improves the skin tone for a flawless complexion.

3. How often do Korean women go to the dermatologist’s office?
Usually, women start to visit the dermatologist once or twice a month following the first signs of aging making an appearance on their skin. In particular, women who wish to get rid of uneven pigmentation and dark spots have a brightening treatment done every couple of weeks for maximum results. When it comes to taking care of their skin, Korean women take a very proactive approach because they know all too well that the longer this skin damage is left untreated, the harder it is to eliminate.

Vicky Lee
Korean beauty expert Vicky Lee

4. What’s the most important part of any skincare regime?
I cannot stress the importance of hydration enough. When skin is dehydrated, its ph is unbalanced, and this can speed up the aging process, leading to the premature appearance of wrinkles and dark spots. What you can easily do at home to improve the levels of hydration in your skin is to use sheet masks regularly. Sheet masks are very hydrating and help prevent the fine lines and wrinkles caused by dehydration. They also lower the skin’s temperature, which prevents hyperpigmentation and blemishes, and calm down irritated and troubled skin. After the mask, you should always apply a generous dose of essence and hydrating cream to further increase moisture in your skin.

5. Korean women are known for flawless skin: what’s their secret?
A flawless complexion comes down to effort and scrutiny. Korean TV shows, magazines, blogs, and other media outlets continually stress the importance of a good skincare regime and, as a result, Korean women are extremely well-educated on this topic. It doesn’t matter how tired or busy they are, everyone in Korea, including students and career women, follow a steady skincare regime every day and grab every spare minute they have for a quick sheet mask treatment.

6. What are the best ingredients that you recommend for beautiful skin?
Hydrating ingredients are a must for all skin types. The most used hydrating ingredients in skincare products include glycerin, propylene glycol, and sorbitol. They’re three simple polyol, which are sugar alcohol compounds with hydrating properties.

Natural moisturizing factors, such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and the amino acids glycine and arginine, are also essential for the correct functioning of the skin. These substances work so well because they are all already present in the skin, helping to keep the skin’s barrier intact and aiding its recovery when it gets damaged by the elements. For this reason, it is essential to always choose products rich in natural moisturizing factors.

A full member of the Korean Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery
A full member of the Korean Filler Education and Research Academy
A full member of the Korean Society for Acne Research
A full member of the Korean Association for Laser, Dermatology and Technology
A full member of the Primary Care