Can this 10-step Korean skincare regime give you glass skin? We asked an expert

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaMay 16, 2023 | 08:00

Can this 10-step Korean skincare regime give you glass skin? We asked an expert

Today the Indian market is saturated with toners from Korea, Korean sheet masks, something called Snail Power Essence and whatnot. Photo: dailyO

Have you ever found yourself watching K-pop idols and actors and desiring their flawless, glass-like skin? Or perhaps you've wished to adopt a 10-step skincare routine like Cassie Howard from Euphoria in order to achieve an inner glow? 

K-Dramas, Korean music, Korean fashion, and now Koran makeup is making a significant impact in India. Even Indian brands are now offering products promising a "glow like Koreans". Numerous South Korean brands have also started to target the Indian market, tempting us with their expensive products that we end up spending thousands on.


However, here's the truth: Attaining skin like that may be an unrealistic expectation.

"In our circle, we have a joke: We say if you want a skin like Koreans, you need to have South Koreans parents," says Dr Sujit Shanshanwal, a dermatologist from Mumbai. Today dermatologists like him are receiving hundreds of consumers in India who are asking the same question, as they show them a picture of a South Korean model or singer: How to get a skin like that?

Today the Indian market is saturated with toners from Korea, Korean sheet masks, something called Snail Power Essence and whatnot. These products come with a higher price tag, and Dr Shanshanwal says it might not be work as well as you think it will. 

Before exploring why it is difficult to get glass-like skin, in case you didn't know, here is a breakdown of 10-steps skincare routine

  1. Oil-based cleanser: Start by using an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup, sunscreen, and excess oil from your skin.

  2. Water-based cleanser: Follow up with a water-based cleanser to remove any remaining impurities and cleanse the skin thoroughly.

  3. Exfoliation: Use a gentle exfoliator once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells and promote skin renewal.

  4. Toner: Apply a toner to balance the skin's pH level, hydrate, and prepare it for the following skincare steps.

  5. Essence: Essence is a lightweight, hydrating product that helps to replenish moisture and improve the skin's texture.

  6. Serums: These are treatments that target specific skincare concerns like brightening, anti-aging, or acne. Apply them after the essence.

  7. Sheet masks: Sheet masks are single-use face masks soaked in beneficial ingredients. They provide intense hydration and nourishment to the skin.

  8. Eye cream: Apply a small amount of eye cream to the delicate skin around the eyes to moisturize and address specific concerns like dark circles or fine lines.

  9. Moisturizer: Apply a moisturizer to hydrate and seal in moisture, keeping the skin supple and balanced.

  10. Sunscreen: In the morning, finish off with a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Photo: Korean Skin care brands/Twitter

Here's a little science 

  • The skin type is divided into six categories according to The Fitzpatrick scale that has been developed to help dermatologists assess the amount of melanin present in the skin and determine its response to UV light exposure. 
  • In terms of the Fitzpatrick scale, Indian skin generally falls within Type III to VI, which means it has a higher tendency to tan and is less prone to sunburn. However, such skin types are also more susceptible to pigmentation issues.
  • On the other hand, South Korean skin falls into similar categories on the Fitzpatrick scale, but there is a notable distinction—it is less prone to developing pigmentation concerns.

This distinction explains why skincare should be different for South Koreans and Indians. 

Now, it's not just the genetics, Dr Shanshanwal adds a few more reasons: 

Lifestyle and diet

According to him, South Koreans are in general very conscious about their lifestyle and diet. 

During my time in South Korea, I saw very less obese people there. People in South Korea take their lifestyle and diet very seriously. This definitely impacts the skin for better. 
- Dr Shanshanwal

A caution

Dr Shanshanwal says that using Korean skin care products is not all bad. For instance, many products like scrubbers, good moisturisers and serums may help you rejuvenate and hydrate your skin. But he says one doesn't need a 10-step routine daily as it might end up hurting your skin tissues.

Blindly following the 10-step skincare will not help. If you have dryness-prone skin or inflammatory skin, you might end up hurting your skin with all the excess cleaning and scrubbing. 
- Dr Shanshanwal

Keep in mind

  • Explore Indian skincare brands: Many Indian skincare brands are specifically formulated to cater to the needs of Indian skin types. These brands often consider the climate, environmental factors, and common skin concern prevalent in the region. Exploring these brands can help you find products that suit your skin and address your specific concerns effectively.
  • Consult a dermatologist: Seeking advice from a dermatologist can provide valuable insights into your skin's condition and the best ways to improve it. They can recommend suitable skincare products, treatments, and lifestyle changes tailored to your individual needs.
  • Trial and error: Experimenting with different skincare products through trial and error can help you discover what works best for your skin. Pay attention to how your skin responds to specific ingredients and formulations. 
  • Prioritize a healthy lifestyle: Good skin health is not just about external products but also about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ensure you have a balanced diet, stay hydrated, get sufficient sleep, manage stress levels, and protect your skin from excessive sun exposure. These factors can significantly impact the overall health and appearance of your skin.
Last updated: May 16, 2023 | 13:40
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