Japanese Skincare Secrets
There’s no question about it, women in Japan have amazing skin. I often find myself admiring the skin of elderly women sitting next to me on the train, staring in awe at how they can have such few wrinkles and little sun damage at their age. I always thought that getting lots of wrinkles was just a part of getting old unless you undergo certain cosmetic procedures that make you look like a cat. But why do Japanese women have the best skin?
Coming from the USA where women and men often neglect and even abuse their skin at their own hands via tanning beds or baking in the sun without caution, the philosophy of skincare that exists in Japan is pretty different. Without getting into a rant on why I can’t understand for the life of me the popularity of tanning beds, there’s a consciousness to skincare and preservation that women in Japan have that just doesn’t exist back home in America. So if you’re curious about how you may be able to gain a few extra years of youth out of your skin, here are some observations of my own I gathered while living in Japan.
As far as why Japanese women have amazing skin, there are several theories I’ve come across which range from cultural and social pressures related to class standards of beauty to just simple good ole’ genetics. But these are largely theories addressing why women here may seek nicer skin. Here are my thoughts on how they do it.
1. They Avoid the Sun
Avoiding the sun is pretty much the most popular universal recommendation for preserving your skin. We hear it all the time but a lot of Japanese women adhere to this advice to an extreme. In mid-summer, women in Japan often wear hats, carry UV shielding umbrellas, or even wear a light sweater or long gloves for the arms. They cover up more, even when it’s scorching outside. Now that’s devotion.
This goes with avoiding the sun, but it deserves its own category. If you walk into an average drug store in Japan, you’ll find a much larger selection of sunscreen products than likely anywhere else. Sunscreen comes in the form of lotion, gel, mist, application sticks – all in different sizes, but the most common products you see are all small so it can easily fit in your purse for multiple reapplications. Aside from that, it’s fairly easy to find even high-end sunscreen products here such as La Roche-Posay as well as many tinted oil-free bases by Shiseido.
3. Hydration is Queen
Hydration is big in Japan and for good reason. Hydrated skin is dewy skin and dewy skin is fresh and youthful. There’s a big emphasis on hydration and it’s really as easy as picking up a can of Evian Hydrating Spray to keep your face moist.
4. Natural is Better
I’ve noticed that most women in Japan wear incredibly natural makeup. There isn’t a lot of foundation or build-up on their skin and their makeup is pretty conservative allowing more youthful skin to show. So perhaps less really is more.
The Japanese diet has a reputation for being one of the healthiest in the world. It’s based on fish, vegetables, and generally a lot more whole foods, and not to mention the consumption of tea and green tea which already has links to healthier skin. Dr. Perricone even recommends Omega 3s for better skin. Maybe he’s on to something?
6. Pamper & Better Products
I’ve been to enough onsen spas (Japanese natural public baths) to witness the manner in which Japanese women take pride in their skin. Many onsen facilities advertise certain mineral water, etc that makes your skin softer and more beautiful. And of course after the onsen, you are greeted with an array of beauty products and lotions to saturate your skin as if you were doing a photo-shoot for Playboy. And the range of quality skincare products here is impressive.
It almost makes it hard to choose which one to use. I’ve been a big fan of SK-II and it’s easy to find a good Vitamin C serum at even the local drug store. You can even find collagen shots (never tried them) at a local convenience store while Don Quixote (a large general store) even shelves insane tools for facial exercises. The market for products here is immense.
Aside from the role that simple genetics plays, I think their great skin comes down to these variables. If anyone has mastered the art of skincare, it’s the Japanese. What do you think?