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Conversations: We Get to the Bottom of Anti-Aging Skincare with Sulwhasoo’s Skin Expert

Aging can be absolutely terrifying, especially when the lines on your face start to show for it. Thankfully, with cutting edge skincare, you can preserve the youthfulness of your skin for that much longer. Here's how.

It’s a tricky relationship that we women have with age. Surely, growing old is a beautiful thing. With age comes beauty and wisdom. 40 is the new 20. We’ve heard the whole pitch and even seen women on Instagram serve as living proof. While there’s no denying that growing old is an absolute privilege, its physical effects remain no less terrifying.

Do you recall the horror when your first fine line showed itself? And the dread of saggy, wrinkled skin that followed after? Granted, it’s just the way the human body wears with time, the bothersome thing is just how quickly it happens for some of us. If we’re only going to be this young once, there’s nothing wrong in wanting to look the part.

Thankfully for us, there are plenty of resources in the skincare arena to stave off the effects of aging. To learn more about preserving the youthful suppleness of the skin, we reached out to skincare experts from leading Korean beauty brand Sulwhasoo. Synonymous with anti-aging skincare, Sulwhasoo has revolutionised the use of herbs, namely ginseng, to create its superior range of products particularly tailored towards Asian skin. It has even found its place as a national gift to many first ladies who visit Korea from across the globe.

Who better to get to the bottom of anti-aging skincare with?

At what age should one start to include anti-ageing products into their skincare routines? Is there a certain age cut-off?

Mr Sowoong Choi, Senior Researcher at Sulwhasoo: From a biological perspective, we believe that ageing begins at around 27 years of age when growth stops, and a recent biological study suggests that humans experience rapid ageing at a certain age in their lives. If you are in your mid-20s, it is time to pay attention to anti-ageing.

When you start on anti-ageing skincare, do you need to completely overhaul your entire routine from your facial wash to your moisturiser etc.?

You don’t have to change your skincare routine completely when branching into anti-ageing skincare. If you feel that the skincare products you are currently using are suitable and effective for your skin, it actually is already a form of anti-ageing. The basic role of the skin is to act as a barrier that protects the body from the external environment. Proper moisturising, nutrition, and UV protection are essential to maintain the skin’s function as a barrier. Proper use of moisturiser and sunscreen is an essential requirement for anti-ageing.

What are some key ingredients in anti-ageing products that one should look out for when purchasing them?

When choosing anti-ageing products, you should pay attention to proven ingredients that come with proper research and studies, such as retinol and vitamin C. For other unique ingredients, it is recommended to check how scientifically validated and how safe the ingredients are.

Ginseng is a key ingredient employed at Sulwhasoo. Can you tell us more about the properties of ginseng that make it particularly effective for anti-ageing?

The key ingredient that Sulwhasoo has obtained through ginseng research is ‘GinsenomicsTM’. The skin generally consists of three structures, epidermis, dermis and Dermal Epidermal Junction (DEJ) which connects two layers. When ageing occurs on the skin, it destroys the dermal elasticity structure, the DEJ and the defence function of the epidermis, resulting in a vicious cycle of skin ageing.

In addition, some of the major causes of ageing in the human body are the destruction of tissues caused by the propagation of chronic micro-inflammatory reactions, namely ‘inflamm-ageing’, which is a major cause of ageing. ‘GinsenomicsTM’ not only restores dermal elasticity structures damaged by ageing or external stimuli but also strengthens DEJ structures and restores epidermis defencing and moisturising functions. In addition, it has been proven to inhibit ‘inflamm-ageing’, which is the main cause of skin ageing.

Are Sulwhasoo’s formulas tailored to Asian skin specifically?

Yes, we can say so. Sulwhasoo has been accumulating data from Asian women’s skin parameters measurement research for a long time to identify skin characteristics and apply them to product development.

What are some of the discoveries about how skin ages that have guided the formulation of products at Sulwhasoo? Are there perhaps any interesting statistics that you could share with us?

Through motifs from research on traditional Korean medicine and research on the skin of Asian women, Sulwhasoo established the theory of the seven-year ageing cycle of women’s skin. This suggests that rapid ageing occurs every seven years, especially at the age of 35.

According to the 7-year ageing cycle of Sulwhasoo, the late 20s is when the biological growth ends and ageing begins, and I would like to emphasise that long-term skin anti-ageing care should begin between 28 to 35 years of age.

For optimal absorption into the skin, are there specific ways to apply the product? For instance, using a jade roller?

With the help of hand massages and various tools, you can help absorb the effects of skincare. That is also why Sulwhasoo products always come with massage rituals with your own hands or tools, e.g. jade rollers. It is also helpful to use LEDs or Iontophoresis devices that have emerged from recent advances in technology. However, when using these devices, it is important to thoroughly observe the instructions and to ensure that the safety of the device has been verified.

How long does it take before the effects of skincare show on the skin?

It depends on the type of product and can vary from person-to-person, but I will suggest more than 2 months at the minimum when it comes to general anti-ageing skincare products. When it comes to verifying scientific clinical efficacy, anti-ageing effect such as elasticity or wrinkle improvement is verified based on use for more than 8 weeks.

Beyond Ginseng, Red Pine is the next step in Sulwhasoo’s journey to anti-ageing. How is Red Pine a game-changer in anti-ageing skincare?

The DAA or Red Treasure ingredient obtained from red pine has been proven to enhance the vitality of skin cells by directly controlling the longevity gene (SIRT1) that determines the life span of skin cells.

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