Why Doesn't Asian Skin Seem to Age?

Why don’t Asian women age?

I was often told that I look younger than my age. So it got me wondering: does Asian skin really age more slowly than other skin morphologies?

Per Chanho Park, skincare chemist, “Asians have a thicker dermis. That’s why their skin doesn’t form fine lines or tear as easily.”

Still, women in Korea are obsessed with skincare, and thus, the innovations in the beauty industry are far ahead of the United States and Europe.

Can what we learn from this research help other skin morphologies age more slowly?

Although scientists haven’t yet found a solution to impact skin genetics, there are some helpful tips that could minimize skin thinning over time and visibly improve signs of aging.

You need to understand your skin structure to prevent skin thinning.

Our skin consists of three layers: the top layer (epidermis) that acts as our skin barrier, the mid-layer (dermis) that contains collagen and elastin, and a layer of fat and tissue underneath it all (hypodermis).


How can I prevent skin thinning with skincare? 

1. Boost and protect your collagen. 

Skin thinning is correlated to collagen level. After the age of 20, we produce about 1 percent less collagen in the skin each year.  

Inclusion of collagen-stimulating ingredients, like retinoic acid, can help make up for the reduction. 

The downside is that sometimes these ingredients cause irritation, compromising the skin barrier an important part of skin health. Recent research has found that bakuchiol stimulates cell turnover and collagen synthesis, producing effects similar to that of retinol without compromising the skin barrier.  

Important fact: bakuchiol is effective at a 0.5-2% concentration. 

2. Reinforce the skin barrier. 

Our skin barrier consists of the dead skin cells that are linked by the lipid matrix. 

Skin is our biggest organ, and it protects us from environmental damage, chemicals, and toxic or allergic ingredients. A healthy skin barrier means thicker skin that is more resilient to signs of aging, pollution, and stress.  

The lipid matrix consists of cholesterol, fatty acid, and ceramides. Mimicking these ingredients in your moisturizer helps to restore the skin barrier after cleansing or collagen-stimulating and exfoliating treatments. 

3. Hydrate and lock in moisture. 

Transepidermal water loss (International Journal of Pharmaceutics) is the water loss that happens when water passes from the dermis through the epidermis and evaporates from the skin’s surface, negatively impacting the skin barrier function. 

To prevent this, you need to both hydrate and lock the moisture in the skin. 

Humectants such as hyaluronic acid, marine extract, and glycerin help to draw moisture to the epidermis. But without occlusive ingredients, it can still evaporate, especially in a dry climate.  Therefore, it’s crucial to include emollients and occlusives such as jojoba oil, squalene, or shea butter. 

What causes thin skin? 

  1. Sun damage has the biggest impact on skin thinning. UV radiation produces free radicals that damage collagen and elastic tissue in the skin and prevents new collagen synthesis.
  2. Smoking and air pollution are also very harmful.
  3. Nutrition that is high in sugar and fried foods should be avoided. High blood sugar levels, for instance, activate the creation of advanced glycation end products (ironically shortened to AGEs), causing oxidative stress and inflammation.  
  4. Stress. High cortisol levels result in dermal protein damage and inflammation.  
  5. Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, prescription blood thinner, and anti-inflammatory drugs. 

What to do if you have thin skin 

Thin skin requires complex skincare approaches at different skin layers but also important lifestyle changes. 

  1. Sun protection is Rule #1. 
Prevention is always the best strategy to avoid skin thinning, not to mention cancer risks. Avoid tanning and always wear sunscreen. 
You might have noticed that Asian people are much more disciplined regarding sunscreen application, with sun umbrellas and big hats. It's taught at an early age.
If sun exposure happens, research shows that the inclusion of antioxidants, like resveratrol, niacinamide, and green tea in your skin care regimen can help your skin fight free radical damage and recover from oxidative stress. 

2. Good nutrition is a must.  

Limit processed sugars and fried foods and enrich your diet with antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, and sufficient hydration to help mitigate the glycation process. Koreans eat a lot of grilled meat, but they always pair it with kimchi and other fermented veggies, rich in fiber, probiotics, and antioxidants.   

3. Quit smoking. 

4. An active lifestyle, meditation, quality sleep, and other self-care routines help counteract the effects of stress.  

5. Protect your skin barrier.

Don’t use harsh exfoliants and ingredients that cause your skin to peel. 

6. Include potent but gentle skincare actives that help boost collagen without compromising your skin barrier. 

7. Apply moisturizer daily that helps to hydrate and lock in moisture.  

Which products to use for thin skin 

You can rarely find products that help reinforce the skin barrier and lock moisture while simultaneously boosting collagen.  

Since Asian people have a thicker dermis, most Asian skincare products focus on maintaining healthy skin through hydration, soothing and reinforcing the skin barrier.  

Korean woman doesn't age

By contrast, many U.S. and EU products try to mitigate decreased collagen production with potent active ingredients that often cause peeling and irritation, damaging the protective layer of the skin.  

At Regelica, we were inspired by Asian skin morphology and Korean technology to bring innovative solutions for all. This is our raison d’être. 

Our products help visibly improve skin density without compromising your skin barrier. 

For instance, our Bakuchiol + Niacinamide Anti-Aging Cream is packed with potent but gentle active ingredients that help to synergistically address multiple concerns related to skin thinning: 

  • 0.5% Bakuchiol -> Natural retinol alternative   
  • 7 seaweed extracts -> Nutrient-rich humectants  
  • 2% Niacinamide + 5 ceramides   -> Skin moisture barrier