K Beauty vs. American Beauty: How Do Their Approaches to Skin Health Differ?

How is K beauty different than American beauty? Well, when it comes to dermatology, plastic surgery, procedures, treatments, and skincare, K Beauty is simply cutting-edge. Moreover, glowing and glass-looking skin is very popular in Korea. So, how is this achieved?

#1 Korea has a holistic approach to beauty and wellness.


By both men and women, skincare is done more consistently and thoroughly in Korea. Not only do they prioritize skincare routines, but they also have extensive hair and body routines. It’s regular for people to get professional scalp and skincare treatments. There are even monthly subscriptions, and sometimes people go in weekly. 


Did you know that eating healthier foods and exercising can have an impact on your gene expression? Nutrients present in food and diet can affect gene expression in several ways. For example, metabolism is driven by specific products of gene expression, and certain foods improve metabolism.

This dynamic is called epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment cause changes and affect the way your genes work. Considering this, it’s so strange to Cassandra that Western medicine doesn’t focus on how diet is connected to our bodies. In America, physicians are taught less than 48 hours of nutrition.

Additionally, when comparing the Korean and American diets, there is a huge difference in fiber, antioxidant, and vitamin content. The American diet includes an abundance of carbs, lipids, and meat whereas the Korean diet is more plant-based, lean protein, and nutrient-rich.

Gut health

There’s also the diet aspect of Korean skin health. Korean cuisine includes many fermented foods, medicinal herbs, and spices. For instance, kimchi, which is essentially fermented cabbage, has healthy bacteria that benefit the gut. Whole herbs and spices can regulate gut bacteria.

Herbs and spices also include polyphenols, plant compounds that soothe inflammation. The gut has a large impact on our body’s inflammatory responses, including ones that happen on our skin. Fortunately, certain foods soothe inflammation, and less inflammation in the body is always beneficial for the skin.

Moreover, did you know that our gut is responsible for creating serotonin? Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s linked to happiness. Serotonin, together with another neurotransmitter dopamine, play a role in the quality of your sleep.

It can also affect gut bacteria and the functions of the immune system. In addition, serotonin may play a role in how the body responds to environmental factors such as diet. Eating nutritious foods, especially those that contain an amino acid called tryptophan can help the body produce more serotonin, thereby helping improve mood and sleep. 

Sleep is very important to the skin.  Your skin uses the time that you are asleep to heal itself from the damage of the day. Getting a good night's rest gives your skin the chance to improve. 

#2  Compared to America, supplements are regulated completely different in Korea.

Supplements are also popular in Korea. There are liquid supplements, powdered supplements, and pill supplements. Supplements are not always the best, but it’s worth mentioning since they are so commonly used worldwide. However, they are actually regulated in Korea. 

In America, supplements are not FDA-cleared. Supplements only go through regular testing when they’re considered a drug. In Korea, it’s very different. They have drugs, but then, they also have highly regulated supplements. It’s good when there’s regulation because supplements can cause side effects if you have too much of them or if they are not up to par. Plus, If your body is sensitive to a specific ingredient in the supplement, it might experience side effects, and these side effects could disrupt the skin barrier. 

#3 Korean skincare is preventative.

In the States, skincare is a lot about treating skin concerns after they’ve happened. But, in Korea, skincare is intentional. Skincare is not simply about waking up, washing your face, or taking off your makeup. K Beauty has creative products like multi-balms and toner pads that protect the skin and prevent skin concerns. 

For example, toner pads are very popular in Korea. Toner pads are soaked in product, and people wipe across their face during the day to remove something called “microdust.” Microdust is from pollution, and it’s the build-up of little particles on the skin.

Microdust has free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage the skin. Microdust can cause dryness, dullness, irritation, and even oiliness. In Korea, “microdust” specifically refers to how pollution impacts the face. 

So, they carry toning pads and multi-balms to prevent damage from it. Multi-balms normally come in the form of a stick, and they provide moisturization and hydration. They provide a glossy layer of protection that seals the skin. 

And they don’t just use multi-balms on their face, they use them around their nose and the corner of the lips, especially if they get dry. They’re also used on the nails. Cassandra has even seen girls on the subway use it on the ends of their hair for split ends. 

And when it comes to getting plump, bouncy, and hydrated skin, they also have cushion creams and BB creams. BB creams are like a tinted sunscreen that you put on throughout the day. They also layer a few skincare products underneath their makeup.

These are just a few ways the Korean approach to skin health differs from America. Cassandra especially loves this approach, and we've also shared some K Beauty products here!

Cover photo cred: Pinterest