Skin Report 7 Whitening 3

When we look at other women, the very first thing that catches our eye is if they have flawless, blemish-free skin

#1 Clear, blemish-free skin 58.8%

#2 Overall makeup balance 19.2%

The reason why we want our skin to return to its 20s

#1 Because the skin itself is bright and radiant 53.5%

#2 Because the skin is firm 47.9%

#3 Because skin tone is clear and translucent 41.6%

The dilemma of whitening... Interest is high, but satisfaction is slow

Interest in whitening 98.0%

Satisfaction with whitening 22.8%

01. Why are people obsessed with whitening?

What is the standard of beauty among Korean women?

The standard of beauty changes with every era, but the barometer of beauty in 2011 was “youthful, clear, blemish-free skin”. This trend is expected to continue for a while.

What kind of woman is the greatest object of envy?

54.6% Women with noticeably good, radiant skin

The survey respondents (women between ages 25-49) envied “women with noticeably good, radiant skin” more so than women

with well-defined features, an hourglass figure, great fashion sense, or a good first impression. This response took up a large

proportion regardless of the age group or occupation of 1,000 women who took part in the survey.

Women with a nice, thin figure 21.2%, Women with a good image or first impression 9.3%, Women who look younger than their

actual age 8.2%, Women with a great fashion sense 4.6%, Women with well-defined features 2.1%

Where do you notice first when you see another woman’s face?

58.8% Clear skin without acne or blemishes

What do you look at first when you see other women? “Clear skin without acne or blemishes” also took up a high proportion of responses in this survey.

This trend was observed regardless of age or occupation, and working women or students in their 20s-30s were particularly more interested in “clear, blemish-free skin”.

Overall makeup balance 19.2%, Degree of firmness in skin 8.6%, Skin color 6.9%, Eye makeup 3.6%, Other 3.1%

What kind of compliments do you want to hear from your boyfriend, husband, or others around you?

40.0% Your skin looks good

The compliment that Korean women want to hear most is “Your skin looks good” (40%) and “You look young” (35%),

which took 1st and 2nd places, respectively. The compliment “Your skin looks good” was desired among

women of all age groups, and women in their 30s-40s chose “You look young” a bit more.


The standard of beauty for Korean women: SKIN!

The #1 keyword that was linked to all three questions that were asked to assess the standard of beauty among Korean women was none other than “skin”. Many women chose “skin” because it is subject to the most attention, good skin is more enviable than beautiful features, and skin-related compliments are desired more than figure-related compliments. The standard of beauty changes in every era, but the barometer of beauty in 2011 was “young, clear, blemish-free skin”. This trend is expected to continue for a while.

01. Why are people obsessed with whitening?

What kind of skin is considered “beautiful”?

Skin is the standard of beauty among Korean women, but bright, radiant skin was found to be most desirable. It’s also important to note that many women stated that whiter skin is more beautiful than firm, wrinkle-free skin.

What kind of skin looks the youngest?

Fresh skin with a bright skin tone 45.3%

In response to a question that asked what kind of skin looks the youngest, 45.3% selected “Fresh skin with a bright skin tone”, which took the #1 spot. On the other hand, in response to a question that asked what kind of skin looks the oldest, “Dull, uneven skin tone” took up the #1 spot, signifying the importance of white skin.

Firm skin 20.3%, Skin without any freckles, liver spots, or blemishes 17.6%, Skin without visible pores 12.2%, Skin without visible wrinkles 4.2%

What is the most important out of whitening, pores, wrinkles and firmness, and acne?

Whitening 30.0%

In a survey that asked what the conditions of beautiful skin are, out of 4 factors of whitening, wrinkle improvement and strengthened firmness, pore reduction, and acne prevention, whitening took up the highest proportion. This is the same results from the last IOPE Skin Report from 2010, which proves that the type of skin that is most desired by women is whiter skin.

Wrinkle prevention and improvement and strengthened firmness 29.3%, Pore reduction 24.7%, Acne prevention 16.0%

02. Thoughts on Whitening Care

Cause of Whitening Concerns

The greatest cause of whitening concerns is stress and aging.

The cause of whitening concerns were divided into two reasons and surveyed accordingly. First, from the environment and lifestyle aspect, stress caused by overworking rather than direct UV ray exposure was found to be the most important factor that causes skin to grow dull. From the genetic and physiological aspect, a whopping 74.2% believed that aging was a core cause of whitening concerns.

< Causes from Environment and Lifestyle Aspect >

Work stress 57.4%, UV rays 53.1%, Lack of skincare such as using cosmetics 49.8%, Health 28.4% *Multiple answers

< Principles of Genetic and Physiological Issues >

Aging from increased age 74.2%, Hormonal changes such as period cycle 30.8%, Innate skin type 29.0%, Pregnancy and childbirth 15.8% *Multiple answers

Interest in Whitening

How high is the interest in whitening?

98.5% of women are concerned with whitening, which showed that almost all Korean women work to achieve white, bright, radiant skin. 21.2% were whitening enthusiasts who said they always focus on whitening, proof that Korea is quite the Republic of Whitening. This trend was no different across all age groups.

< Interest in Whitening >

I whiten occasionally according to the state of my skin 50.2%, I care for my skin during whitening season 27.1%, I am a whitening enthusiast who always focuses on whitening 21.2%, I’m not interested in whitening (1.5%)

Interest in whitening 98.5%

Level of Expectations for Whitening Products

My change will change if I use whitening products.

If so, how high are the expectations for whitening products? 68.6% of women think that their skin “will change to some degree” and only have “slight expectations” for whitening products rather than strong convictions or distrust. 20.1% of women said that “rather than having expectations, I feel anxious if I don’t use whitening products”, showing that they use whitening products more so to ease their mind.

< Level of Expectations for Whitening Product Effects >

My skin will change to some degree if I use whitening products 68.6%, Rather than having expectations, I feel anxious if I don’t use whitening products (20.1%)

My skin will definitely change if I use whitening products (7.9%), I don’t think they’re effective (3.4%)

03. Whitening Partner, “Whitening Cosmetics”

The main solution to the whitening concerns of Korean women: COSMETICS!

Regardless of age, the majority of Korean women said that purchase and use whitening cosmetics in order to solve their whitening concerns and to achieve the bright skin of their dreams. For whitening enthusiasts, they paired products with massages, dermatological procedures, and various other skincare methods.

Attempts to Solve Whitening Concerns

Purchased and used functional whitening cosmetics: Late 20s 93.5%, 30s 95.5%, 40s 92.0%

Self-massage: Late 20s 40.5%, 30s 46.3%, 40s 40.3%

Massage shop: Late 20s 41.0%, 30s 40.0%, 40s 42.3%

Dermatological procedures: Late 20s 28.0%, 30s 22.0%, 40s 22.0%

Purchased and used functional whitening products 93.7%

My skin tone actual became brighter through whitening products

Women most commonly experienced a gradual brightening of their dull or dark skin tone by using whitening products. They mentioned that rather than their blemishes or freckles growing lighter, they saw preventative effects that kept them from forming or getting worse.

Actual effects that were experienced upon using whitening products

Dull skin tone became brighter: Late 20s 43.5%, 30s 38.3%, 40s 39.8%

Dark skin color became brighter: Late 20s 18.0%, 30s 23.3%, 40s 21.5%

Prevented blemishes from forming or getting worse: Late 20s 17.5%, 30s 20.3%, 40s 20.8%

Skin became more bright and energized: Late 20s 22.0%, 30s 17.3%, 40s 21.3%

Prevented freckles from forming or getting worse: Late 20s 13.0%, 30s 19.8%, 40s 19.8%

Dull skin tone became brighter 39.9%

The product they are currently using with the most expectations: Whitening Serum

It was found to be a whitening product that is preferred by Korean women who want to improve a dull skin tone and rapidly forming blemishes and freckles as quickly as possible. 78% of Korean women currently using a whitening serum. Serums that are quickly and deeply absorbed into the skin were trusted by women who had expectations of quick results. In addition to serums, expectations and trust in whitening creams and masks that offer focused care were also high in the ranks. An average of 2.9 whitening products were currently in use.

Whitening products currently in use

Serum 77.8%, Toner 56.8%, Lotion/Emulsion 50.5% *Multiple answers

Products that are highly trusted for whitening effects

Serum 63.7%, Cream 51.9%, Mask 30.6% *Multiple answers

Full whitening line is used sometimes for concentrated whitening effects

53.6% of women who want bright and radiant white skin have revealed that they have used an entire whitening line before. They said the experience of concentrated whitening effects was the greatest benefit of this and also mentioned the peace of mind that came with systematic usage. However, there were also other opinions that if they purchased the entire line, it was not only costly, but because they only concentrated on whitening, they ended up neglecting other skin concerns, which led to a lack of moisture.

Experience with using an entire whitening line

53.6% said YES!

The survey respondents (women between ages 25-49) envied “women with noticeably good, radiant skin” more so than women with well-defined features, an hourglass figure, great fashion sense, or a good first impression. This trend took up a large proportion regardless of the age group or occupation of 1,000 women who took part in the survey.

Benefits of using an entire whitening line

Whitening effects 42.7%, Peace of mind that comes from systematic usage 21.1%, Other functional effects (glowing skin, oil and moisture balance, etc.) 7.1%, Comfort and product feel 6.9%

Disadvantages of using an entire whitening line

Financial burden 32.1%, Lack of other functions 23.1%, Lack of moisture and oil and moisture balance 20.0%

43.6% of money spent on cosmetics was for whitening purposes

In 2010, women spent an average of 690,000 won on purchasing cosmetic products. Surprisingly, an average of 260,000 won (43.6%) of this amount was used for whitening purposes. The amount of money spent on whitening products by women in their 30s, which is when women typically find stability in society and start taking care of themselves, was highest, surpassing that of women in their 20s and 40s.

The amount that women intended on spending on whitening in the next year was 350,000 won for women in their 40s, 330,000 won for women in their 30s, and 310,000 for women in their 20s. However, they spend an average of about 100,000 more than intended in 2010. Therefore, this shows that women’s expectations and behaviors are becoming more active with respect to whitening.

Amount Spent on Whitening Products in 2010

Late 20s, 30s, 40s, Average

Amount (Korean won): Late 20s - 216,175, 30s - 289,169, 40s - 262,363, Average of 263,848

Proportion out of all money spent on cosmetics: Late 20s - 41.3%, 30s - 43.8%, 40s - 44.6%, Average of 43.6%

Amount that you intend on spending on whitening in the next year

Amount (Korean won): Late 20s - 310,000, 30s - 330,000, 40s - 350,000, Average of 340,000

04. Whitening As Heard From the Experts

Whitening is today’s hottest topic of interest among Korean women. Let’s hear from 3 beauty experts on the whitening trend as seen from their differing perspectives and what we must do for whitening in the future.

Hyeon-Jeong Kim, Dermatologist from Seoul Medical Center

What is the biggest concern and symptom among patients who undergo whitening procedures?

The concerns differ according to the age group. Whose in their 20s typical receive treatments that remove redness or scars from extracting pimples, while women in their 30s often receive treatments for hyperpigmentation because they have more blemishes and freckles that appear with hormonal changes from pregnancy and childbirth. Our 40s is when freckles start to appear more prominently, and if women at this age have the time and money, they invest more in their skin. In our 50s, we find liver spots and our skin tone becomes more dull. Since liver spots are easily treated with laser procedures, women at this age worry more about reduced firmness and their skin tone become darker with age.

What is the recent trend with whitening procedures?

Many patients ask to make their skin “clear and translucent”. Instead of just having white skin, they want their skin tone to be even instead of spotty. However, improving darkness does not automatically equate to clear and translucent skin. For Asians, our capillary vessels underneath our skin become expanded and appear more visible with age and our skin starts to look spotty, which is why our face looks dull and lackluster. The capillary vessels expand due to a lack of strength for tightening these vessels as our skin’s firmness decreases with age. Therefore, all whitening procedures must improve firmness through complex treatment on pigmentation, blood vessels, and firmness simultaneously in order to truly create bright, glowing skin. The most trendy whitening procedure that boasts these effects is the Yellow Laser procedure. This procedure is often paired with laser toning procedures. The laser toning procedure removes pigmentation while the yellow laser procedure tightens blood vessels, thereby maximizing whitening effects. We expect IPL, Spectra Laser, and other procedures that simultaneously address blemishes and firmness to continue in their popularity.

What is the most important thing we should be doing for whitening effects in our daily lives?

I’d like to stress the importance of using sun protection. I’m sure everyone is aware of this, but the #1 thing I must emphasize as a dermatologist is the importance of using sun protection. I was only able to maintain my clear skin by using sunblock at all times whenever I went outside. There are some people who don’t think they can wear sunblock because of their sensitive skin. However, since there are many sunblocks that are made for sensitive skin on the market, I hope they can find a product that works for them.

Whitening is today’s hottest topic of interest among Korean women.

Let’s hear from 3 beauty experts on the whitening trend as seen from their differing perspectives and what we must do for whitening in the future.

Hye-Su Park, Bazaar Beauty Director

What do you think the whitening trend will be for 2011?

New ingredients and technologies are being implemented and existing cosmetic lines are being revamped in 2011. The most noteworthy thing is that there isn’t much difference between whitening and antiaging. The fact that whitening concerns stem from the irritation our skin undergoes, such as a polluted environment, acne, etc. is similar to research on aging. The difference is that they have the same root, but resolve different needs. As the needs of consumers regarding whitening become more distinct, whitening products are now becoming more subdivided into products that address spots, skin tone, radiance, and more.

How is the whitening trend evolving?

In the past, whitening care typically focused on blemishes, but products are focusing on the skin tone of the entire face. Caring for blemishes, freckles, and liver spots is now basic, and whitening products are being launched with functions that improve lack of moisture in the skin, pores, and even dead skin cells that may prevent the skin’s youthful and vibrant energy from shining from underneath.

What is the perception of Korean women on whitening?

I believe Korean women have higher expectations than before regarding whitening. Unlike in the past, where people just wanted to have whiter skin simply because of the image that is painted by the word “whitening”, women now understand the concept of what good skin is. Rather than expecting magical effects that can erase blemishes without a trace and transform dark skin into white skin through cosmetics, women want their skin tone to become more even and their skin to look bright and clear.

Weon-Hye Ko, Makeup Artist

How strong is the interest or needs of women for whitening and the importance of whitening?

There is a strong desire for “radiant skin”, to the extent where it’s hard to find a woman who doesn’t include whitening care in their skincare routine. During the base makeup stage, rather than covering up the skin, more focus is placed on achieving a glowing, lustrous look. This just shows how white skin is a very important factor of beauty.

Is there a strong connection between makeup trends and whitening today?

The most recent makeup trends involve a natural look while adding an accent. While using natural, clean skin as the base, only the color of a certain area is emphasized instead of adding color to the entire face to create a more alluring face. In order for this type of makeup to look good, the skin base must be clean. It’s similar to how a clean sheet of paper is necessary before adding colors to draw a beautiful picture. With this respect, I can say there’s a strong connection between white skin and makeup.

Then how much impact does white skin and non-white skin have on achieving a certain skin look and makeup perfection?

As I mentioned before about how a clean slate is necessary in order to properly produce a picture, if the skin color is clean, the base products and color makeup products can show their inherent colors better over white skin, which helps greatly in perfecting beautiful makeup.