Korean skin, what is it?

Here’s how different cultures can change the appearance of your skin

Have you ever heard of the saying “beauty is within” and wanted to tell Karen to shut up? While researchers are still making articles on intrinsic happiness and wellbeing, we’re here to break down what differentiates good skin from not so great skin. Here’s what the experts are saying…



If you clicked into this article, you’re probably not here wondering why Korean skincare is so popular because you already know and have tried it out. You’ve tried it and realized that it works just about the same as any other skincare product from a specific region. That’s because it is the same. You fell into the perfect trap of the beauty industry’s multibillion dollar marketing scheme.


Still, one thing remains the same. Korean people have such great skin. How???


As much as I want to simply hand you the answer, there’s initially a few things I need to explain to you, otherwise you wouldn’t understand it. A lot of thought has been put into the behind the scenes of how I can sell without selling. Here’s my pitch:


In the heading, I gave you what they call “foreshadowing” (if you don’t know what foreshadowing means, look it up. I can’t do everything for you.) I used foreshadowing when I mentioned “beauty is within” but when I mentioned that, I meant it in literal terms. What we see on the physical aspect is all just a result of what we put into our body internally. Let me explain some history to you:


For decades, Koreans and Japanese have been consuming “live cultures” in foods that have been fermented. Fermentation is a “metabolic process that produces chemical changes in organic substrates through the action of enzymes.” For example “bacteria perform fermentation, converting carbohydrates into lactic acid.” You’ve probably heard of Kimchi and for those of you who haven’t, Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish of salted(pickled) and fermented vegetables, such as napa cabbage and Korean radish. The process of making Kimchi is to brine (a process of salting) vegetables to “draw out the water, which helps in preservation and allows the seasonings to penetrate the food over time. Kimchi is typically fermented by ‘wild cultures’ naturally present on the vegetables.”



So what does it have to do with skin??


Let me explain. Koreans typically consume Kimchi from as young as they can remember, meaning that they have been consuming these ‘wild cultures’ unknowingly which had residual effects (good bacteria fighting off the bad bacteria within the microbiome) leading to healthier looking skin.


Kimchi is not the only solution.


You might be wondering then, why don’t all Koreans have perfect skin? Simply because we all have different lifestyles, some healthier than others. For those who appear to lean outside the boundaries of the “healthy” spectrum, must consume a substantially greater amount of friendly bacteria which cannot be obtained from Kimchi alone. Acknowledging that everyone has their own palate and unless you grew up eating fermented foods, it’s understandable that most aren’t a big fan. Before we mention the word “ew”, let’s just say it’s an acquired taste.

Now that we’ve dissected the history of why Koreans have great skin, how can we covert this knowledge into personal results? Simply by taking the good from the bad, literally. Experts have found that these fermented foods contain live microorganism strains also reffered to as “good bacteria” which is consumed back into our microbiome to fight off the bad bacteria accumulated from our daily lifestyle consumptions. When we consume foods such as refined carbohydrates and heavily processed foods, we are killing off the good bacteria, leaving the bad bacteria to outnumber the population inside of our “gut” which leads to acne, eczema, inflammation.. the list goes on.

The benefits of probiotics seem to be exponential as experts find new strains and conduct clinical trials. For now, we know probiotics to benefit skin health. Probiotics come in different forms, but the best way to consume probiotics would be to consume ones with the highest number of strains and CFU count. CFU count stands for colony forming units which means these good bacteria will feed on prebiotics (essentially dietary fibers) which will allow them to multiply (important to choose probiotics that contain prebiotics).


The reason behind choosing the best form of probiotics (the one with the highest strength and larger variety of strains) isn’t astrophysics


Like my statistics professor used to say, “it is intuitive.” Simply put, the more toxic foods you consume, bad bacteria will grow and outnumber the good bacteria and start to puncture microscopic lesions in your intestines leading to a “leaky gut.” The more bad bacteria you accumulate, you should take ‘supplemental’ good bacteria to balance out the population within your microbiome to avoid any of the plethora of problems that come into play when you have a “leaky gut.” One of the major problems related to skin are generally in the forms of acne and eczema.


To make it easier for you, I have personally formulated a probiotic supplement with 18 different medical strains (click here to shop) targeted to improve not only dermatological issues (atopic dermatitis), but also targeting issues like weight loss (metabolism, fat absorption, glucose levels), mental health (mood, stress, anxiety), bowel syndromes (constipation, gas, bloating), and optimal health (inflammation, optical, dental, cardiovascular). One serving contains 200 billion CFUs with 3 different prebiotic strains all in a form of a capsule.





Although the immediate results do show up in forms of improved physical appearance of skin, you’ll start to notice the long list of benefits with the consistent use of probiotic supplements. Like Tinkerbell says “If less is more, there’s no end to me! All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.” We need faith and trust and a never ending supply of probiotics. This isn’t a magic pill, unless you try it right? Only you have the power to give it that title. For now, you’re just missing out!


Michelle Oh publishes on Medium three times a week; follow her here to get each post in your email 

Michelle is a CEO of Ohbiotics, USC Marshall Alumni, and a strong supporter of the Asian American community. She’s @ohbiotics on Twitter, Instagram, Discord, and Pinterest.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.