There’s a difference between having skin that is flawless on the surface—no acne, no wrinkles, no discoloration—and then skin that is flawless several layers in.

When I was growing up, I remember my Korean grandmother warning me about sun damage: the type you might not be able to see, happening below the surface, in the deeper layers. This kind of damage causes skin to be less translucent and refined, and somehow cloudier, even if sunspots or hyperpigmentation are not yet an issue.

Long-term care

In the U.S., this kind of sun damage can be seen under UV lights, but is often not discussed or seen as an issue until the sun spots form visibly on the face.

"It’s not about overnight results—it’s about daily habits that maintain and even improve the ability for your skin to regenerate effectively and produce ample collagen, and that takes dedication."

In Korea, however, beautiful skin goes hand in hand with healthy skin. There is a vigilance to keep skin healthy even before there are any visible changes, at which point the damage has already been done.

Preventative skin care is seen as paramount to staying healthy and radiant, and prevention is often approached in a holistic way that takes on a long-term view. It’s not about overnight results—it’s about daily habits that maintain and even improve the ability for your skin to regenerate effectively and produce ample collagen, and that takes dedication.

Three tips

These daily rituals can produce drastic results, but patience is key. The payoff is only noticeable after considerable time.

Here are three ways Koreans approach holistic, preventative skin care:

  1. Use sufficient SPF.

  2. Use humectant-rich beauty products to ensure skin is always hydrated, which is the ideal environment for skin health.

  3. Cleanse twice a day. First, using an oil-based cleanser that won’t leave your skin stripped dry to gently coax oil-based impurities (SPF, makeup, sebum released while sleeping). Follow up at night with a water-based, and again, gentle, cleanser that will remove any residue and leave skin cleansed to the pores, yet still supple and hydrated.