With so many product innovations and sparkling new skin-care techniques popping up at an alarming rate, it’s easy for us to become lost in new ingredients and rituals that promise clear, supple, and glowing skin. Yet at the base of a proper skin-care regimen lives a few simple steps: cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, moisturize, and protect with SPF and antioxidants. One of the most popular antioxidants is vitamin C, since it not only protects your skin from free radicals, but also lightens hyperpigmentation caused by acne scars or age spots. Now, unfortunately, vitamin C can be irritating to those with sensitive skin, meaning that you’ll likely want to find an alternative if your skin is prone to sensitivity. Our favorite substitute? Ginseng.
Although ginseng is popping up in new products every month in our Western world, ginseng has been used for centuries in Korea for its seemingly miraculous skin-care benefits. Ginseng is an adaptogen, meaning that it helps to balance stress levels in your body when ingested. When topically applied, it works similarly. Ginseng is an excellent source of B vitamins (hello, niacinamide and panthenol!), which help to fade dark spots and balance the hydration and moisture levels in the skin and its barrier. This makes the ingredient ideal for those with stressed, acne-prone, or sensitive skin.
According to a 2017 article, ginseng “can prevent aging by inhibiting wrinkle formation and increasing moisture in the human skin,” meaning that this ingredient will effectively plump the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while preventing new ones from forming. Additionally, ginseng can help boost circulation within the skin, meaning that it ups the ante on collagen and elastin production. And, of course, ginseng is a fantastic source of antioxidants, meaning that while it’s working hard to decrease hyperpigmentation, boost collagen and elastin production, and balance the skin’s moisture levels, ginseng is also protecting against free-radical damage.
Since ginseng is safe to use for everyone, there is no adjustment period when trying out this new ingredient. Simply add it into your morning routine, and watch your complexion glow. However, as always, be sure to do a patch test before slathering any new product onto your skin.
Interested in trying this K-beauty ingredient for yourself? Here are a few products we love that include ginseng:
If you are in the market for something that will immediately boost the radiance in your dull, post-winter complexion, we highly recommend giving this product a go. This booster’s key ingredient is a proprietary Ginsenoside Compound K from Panax ginseng, which is far more potent than typical vitamin C in acting as an antioxidant. Plus, it has added niacinamide, ensuring that your dark spots fade away, while hyaluronic acid plumps the skin for a smooth texture.
Essence is an essential step in any K-beauty routine, as it sets the stage for the ultimate hydration boost in your skin’s complexion. The Donginbi single-essence water contains 100 percent red ginseng extract that visibly improves the skin’s texture, evens skin tone, and provides a glow that makes it look like you’ve had your recommended gallon of water a day. If you are looking for a proper glass-skin complexion, you’ll want to get your hands on this.
Those of you who err on the side of caution when introducing new products to your dry, sensitive skin, opt for this ginseng milk by Erborian. This milk soothes and tones the skin after cleansing while simultaneously replenishing it with much-needed antioxidants, hydration, and moisture. Add this into your routine after cleansing and before applying serums to reap its maximum benefits.
This luxury K-beauty cream certainly has a hefty price tag, but we think it’s for good reason. Compound K, an antioxidant derived from red ginseng, protects the skin from free-radical damage, while additional ingredients like glycerin and squalane lock in moisture. Plus, meadowfoam seed oil works overtime to clear any congestion in acne-prone skin. Consider this formula to be like your entire skin-care routine all wrapped up in a golden jar on your bathroom counter.
Regular spritzes throughout the day are the key to maintaining moisture levels, so why not make sure you’re spraying on some protective ingredients while you’re hydrating your skin? This mist contains cactus flower that will indeed hydrate and plump the skin, while Tibetan ginseng protects the skin from environmental stressors.
If you are in the market for a single product that can exfoliate your skin while protecting it from free-radical damage, consider this serum by Origins. While ginseng works to protect the skin and decrease the appearance of dark spots, AHAs and BHAs exfoliate any deep-set hyperpigmentation away while keeping blackheads and acne bumps at bay.
There’s no reason not to soak in the goodness of ginseng at night, which is why we think this serum will look great in your night-time skin-care arsenal. This serum contains ginseng, which will lighten dark spots and maintain moisture levels in your skin while you sleep, while ingredients like retinol help slough off dead skin cells and up the amount of collagen and elastin production. Our favorite part? This serum is just under $30, meaning everyone can enjoy the beautiful effects of this nighttime serum.