Before You Jump on the Snail Mucin Bandwagon… Find Out if It’s Worth It (And if It’s Safe)
For many women, perfect skin is the ultimate goal.
But you might be shocked to find out how far some women will go for youthful-looking skin… and the unusual ingredients they’re using to do it.
From pig collagen to bee venom, some surprising new trends are emerging.
And there’s no place more obsessed with unique (and sometimes questionable) methods of staying “forever young” than South Korea.
South Korea is an incredibly image-obsessed society.
Its consumer culture is influenced by young, attractive K-Pop stars — who set trends in everything from beauty to technology to cuisine.
And until last year’s “blind hiring” policy took effect, it was standard practice to attach photos to all job resumes! A recent survey of 760 companies revealed that 93% required photos from applicants.
In a country where beauty equals success, Korean women feel immense pressure to look perfect all the time.
Korea has some of the highest plastic surgery rates in the world: one in every five women has had some form of cosmetic surgery.
And a staggering 42% of women ages 21-55 have had Botox or fillers.
But it’s not just surgery.
Korean women are obsessed with “cloudless” complexion — glowing, blemish-free, near-translucent skin — and they’re willing to spend huge amounts of time & money to achieve it.
The Korean skincare market is massive… a $5 billion per year industry! Because it’s so competitive, many companies use unregulated (and potentially unsafe) ingredients in their products.
Some of these unusual products have even made their way overseas. CVS recently launched a K-Beauty skincare section!
So, what kind of skincare products might you expect to find in a South Korean medicine cabinet?
Read on below to find out, but be warned — some of these answers might make you lose your appetite!
Top 6 Extreme South Korean Skincare Trends
1. Pig Collagen Gel
This topical jelly cream is made from 45%-50% collagen from the skin of pigs. It’s meant to boost your collagen production and support healthy skin aging. Most companies claim they use “pasture-raised” organic pigs, but this seems highly unlikely.
Victoria’s Verdict: Even if you can get past the gross-factor, animal collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the skin layer, so you’re better off with a collagen supplement.
2. Sheep Placenta Cream
These creams contain up to 50% placenta! And placenta contains stem cells, which are supposed to stimulate skin renewal and boost elasticity.
Victoria’s Verdict: Placenta also contains a high percentage of estrogen — which can cause hormonal imbalance problems, according to New York dermatologist David Bank.
Plus, there’s no proof that placenta actually works. Most placenta creams also include Hyaluronic Acid, which you can just use on its own for the same results.
3. Bee Venom
Touted as “natural Botox,” bee venom tricks the skin into thinking it’s being stung. This results in very mild paralysis, which is supposed to decrease wrinkles. The venom is harvested when bees sting a glass pane that has electric micro-currents running through it — a process that allegedly doesn’t harm the bees.
Victoria’s Verdict: There is very little research on this emerging trend, although several high-profile celebrities have admitted to being fond of it. Proceed with caution, especially if you’re allergic to bees.
4. Snail Mucin
This is perhaps the most well-known of all the Korean skin trends — maybe you’ve seen it at CVS! The theory is that if snails can crawl over sharp rocks without cutting up their bellies, their slime must contain regenerative ingredients to keep skin plump and supple.
Victoria’s Verdict: Several of the actives in snail mucin (such as elastin, proteins, peptides, and glycolic acid) are well-known beauty ingredients. However, it’s unlikely that the concentrations of these compounds in mucin are potent enough to actually deliver results.
Again, it’s mainly the extra additives in snail cream products (like Hyaluronic Acid) that provide the hydrating and lifting benefits, not the snail slime itself.
5. Salmon Egg Mask
This “do-it-all” product claims to: regulate skin’s moisture levels; improve color, texture, & elasticity; and fight dark circles.
Victoria’s Verdict: The main ingredient in these types of masks is aloe vera, so it seems that the “caviar” angle is more of a novelty. If you’re not too sold on slathering fish eggs on your face — good ol’ fashioned aloe vera will hydrate just as well.
As for the other benefits… there’s no proof the eggs actually improve skin condition.
6. Horse Oil
This is exactly what you think it is: oil derived from the fat of a horse after it’s been harvested as a byproduct of the meat industry. Horse oil contains an anti-inflammatory compound called linolenic acid — which can treat burns, cuts, and eczema.
Victoria’s Verdict: It helps skin maintain a protective moisture barrier that is antioxidative, antimicrobial, and reduces water loss through the skin. But there’s a price to pay… your skin can become dependent on it, and if you stop using the oil for even a day, severe skin dehydration sets in
Now, these are just some of the most popular products — there are new ones popping up every day.
Unfortunately, many of them contain obscure animal ingredients with no substantial research to back them up. In many cases, the “marketing gimmick” is more important than the actual benefits.
Overall, it seems like South Korean women are willing to go to extremes for baby-smooth skin.
Now, you might have tried some S. Korean skincare products yourself — and even loved them! So, I have a question for you… and I’d really like you to give me your honest opinion:
How far would you go for beauty?
Have you had — or would you have — plastic surgery?
Are S. Korean women going too far for the “perfect face”?
Would you use pig collagen cream on your skin?
I’d love to know how you feel about this, so please comment below and tell me what you think. You can also easily share this article with a friend by using the social buttons at the bottom.
Personally, I don’t like the idea of using things like sheep placenta or horse oil in skincare. I love animals, and that’s why City Beauty is committed to staying 100% cruelty-free.
We use only ingredients that have been proven safe and effective… because we know that results are what matters to you. That’s why I’m so happy to continue providing you with only the best in the industry — because you deserve it.
P.S I’m serious! Comment below and tell me…
What’s the most extreme thing you’ve tried — or are willing to try — in the name of beauty?
How far is too far? What are you NOT willing to try?