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    Try Out Hanbang: Traditional Korean Skincare

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    Nowadays, you are seeing a lot more Korean beauty products becoming mainstream in the West. One key thing about K-beauty is that they really care about adding back hydration and moisture back into your skin instead of stripping it out with all the exfoliants being sold here. Hanbang takes the idea and incorporate traditional Korean herbal ingredients into skincare products to help provide a more holistic approach to beauty and wellness. 

    What is hanbang? 

    Hanbang, pronounced as hahn-bahng means traditional herbal medicine. However, it is more than just medicine, it is a holistic way of life that is presented differently in Korea. Hanbang includes the very extensive use of herbal remedies to help treat different illnesses and maintain your overall health. 

    When it comes to hanbang, the aim is to not just to fix the symptoms or put a bandaid to fix an issue. They try to look into the deeper issue and get into the root of the problem to fix it. In hanbang skincare, it specifically involves using a variety of herbal ingredients to help balance your skin while holistically align your inner and outer health. 

    Hanbang Skincare

    In hanbang skincare, they tend to use the same ingredients they use in normal traditional hanbang medical treatments. Personally, I like how they incorporate a traditional Korean approach to health and wellness into skincare and make it more holistic. It is all about balancing what your skin needs to help create a healthy skin barrier and dewy complexion

    You might actually be using skincare products that contain hanbang ingredients. In fact, hanbang ingredients are traditional herbal ingredients that is regularly used in many Korean skincare products, and currently being incorporated into more mainstream western skincare products. 

    In my opinion, I find that a lot of western brands often focus on quick fixes and results on skin issues. There’s a focus on acids and exfoliators to fix the skin issues you may have. Whereas in Korean skincare, there is more of an emphasis on prevention. People are often taught to put sunscreen on and moisturiser, or even have a skincare routine. It is much like washing your hands or taking a bath, an everyday routine to help prevent the issues you may get as you age. 

    Therefore, hanbang skincare focuses on a blend of the traditional and new scientific skincare knowledge. There is an emphasis on a long term result, a routine you do to focus on healing, hydrating and strengthening your skin. 

    Traditional Korean herbal ingredients tend to be quite rich in antioxidants and polyphenol. One special thing about hanbang skincare ingredients is their phytochemical effects. Polyphenols are phytochemicals that are mostly found in vegetables, fruits, coffee and tea. In fact, there are more than 8000 types of polyphenols out there. 

    Polyphenols can help prevent your skin from UV radiation and improve skin cell growth. If you eat foods that are high in polyphenol, you can potentially protect your body from free radical damage. When it is applied on your skin, it can help repair and rehydrate your skin. 

    Polyphenols can help reverse the signs of aging on your skin. Not only is it antioxidant, it is also anti-inflammatory. This means that it can help reduce the redness of your skin, prevent your face from getting irritated and puffy. Because there are many daily triggers that can set off your face to be inflamed, anti-inflammatory ingredients are often quite popular. 

    Hanbang skincare products are often divided into two types. One type contains skincare products that use traditional Korean medicine as their ingredients. The other type employs traditional ways to prepare the skincare ingredients.  

    Ingredients to look out for

    There are many hanbang ingredients to look out for when shopping for K-beauty skincare products. Here are some of the most common ingredients to look out for:


    Ginseng is usually considered a superfood, it is packed with high levels of vitamins and minerals and a good source of antioxidants. Ginseng is known to help increase circulation and is considered a great skin balancer. It helps boost your blood circulation and therefore might increase your synthesis of collagen and eventually lead to firmer skin. In addition, the antioxidant properties can help protect your skin from free radicals and environmental stressors. 

    Licorice Root

    Licorice root is often featured in many K-beauty products. It is a natural ingredient that can help brighten your complexion. Not only is it anti-inflammatory (soothe the redness on your skin), it is also considered a natural brightener that can help reduce dark spots and acne scars. 

    Studies show that licorice root has an active compound called liquiritin that can help remove the existing melanin in your skin. This means that it has the ability to prevent new dark spots and fade the ones you already have. 


    Mugwort is used in skincare to help soothe sensitive skin and works really well with acne prone skin. It is a herb that is both antibacterial and antifungal, these two attributes make it a great skincare ingredient. For those of you who are acne prone, mugwort can actually help clear away bacteria in your pores and reduce breakouts. 

    Because mugwort is gentle and also hydrating, it makes it a good ingredient for those who have sensitive or dry skin. In addition, it also acts as an antioxidant and can help prevent damage caused by free radicals as well as reducing fine lines. 

    Fermented Extract

    Much like fermented food, skincare ingredients that are fermented are suggested to be more concentrated and can be easily absorbed. The fermentation process works to break down the molecules into smaller and thereby making it more nutrient dense and easier to be absorbed in the skin. This also makes the product more concentrated and powerful. 

    Additionally, fermented skincare ingredients are quite beneficial for your skin’s microbiome. This is because they can help balance out your skin microbiome. In fact, the byproduct of the fermentation process also produces an anti-inflammatory effect. This means that you are improving your skin and skin barrier while also reducing inflammation and redness. 

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