Temperature is a legit selling point for Korean women, so much so, that how many degrees a product is able to lower the skin’s surface temperature is often one measure of a product’s efficacy. Overall, keeping skin cool is the aim, and it’s been said that a 1-degree increase in temperature causes the skin to crank up sebum production by 10%. This is why the face becomes an oil slick in hot weather. So then it’s no wonder that Korean women use cosmetic refrigerators and crazy looking ice masks to keep skin cool. But don’t go freezing your face off just yet. Korean culture reveres balance, so, on the flip side, heat is also important for maintaining good skin.
Anyone who’s been to a traditional Korean bathhouse will understand all the different ways the body can be subjected to heat. Heat, whether from a burning hot or scalding steam room, or a sauna made of clay, salt, or jade, will expel your body's toxins. Specifically, for skin, heat dilates the pores to help eject impurities. Heat also aids in maintaining skin health as it increases the circulation of blood, ushering along proteins and nutrients to take away waste. Plus, it lends a major helping hand with product absorption, too. This is why Korean skin experts will always stress the crucial step of gently massaging and warming up products in your hands before application. At a more extreme end of the spectrum, heat is also a powerful anti-ager. The famously excruciatingly painful Ulthera ultrasound treatment utilizes heat to tighten and lift facial muscles, and is hugely popular in Korea.
One fascinating by-product of this trend is self-heating products that, through some act of sorcery, heat up all on their own to give you the bathhouse benefits in your own home — and without all the public nakedness. Read through for some of the most popular ways Korean women are incorporating the benefits of temperature control into their beauty regimen.