Play it Cool

Scorching summer heat calls for air-conditioning, climate-control clothing and now keep-it-cool skincare, which is one of the novel concepts for whitening products.

Korean cosmetics brand Sulwhasoo claims to offer the world's first heat-control skincare, Snowise EX, developed according to traditional medicine. Inner heat is defined as fire and toxicity and this compares to Western medicine's inflammation. On the outside, the "fire within" manifests itself as dry, dull and uneven skin with dark spots that combine as a common beauty concern, particularly among Asian women.

Their desire for bright and beautiful skin encourages ongoing R&D for the next best whitening products. Sulwhasoo's development of Snowise EX as heat-control skincare was based on how infrared rays (IR) damage the skin, following a research collaboration with Seoul National University.

Besides UV radiation, the skin is susceptible to IR that makes up 60% of sunlight.

The optimal skin temperature for a clear complexion is 30-31C, however, it rises to 40C when exposed to IR.

The resulting heat lowers the skin's antioxidant levels, making it more vulnerable to signs of premature ageing as well as developing red and yellow uneven skin tones. When the skin is not kept cool, it accumulates impurities and lowers blood vessels' resilience, resulting in dullness.

Reducing the skin's temperature thus was one of the objectives set by Sulwhasoo's hanbang (traditional Korean medicine) researchers, who used white cloud grass extract as a cooling and detoxifying ingredient.

Korea is best known for ginseng and white ginseng provides saponin and polysaccharides that are combined with the white cloud grass extract for a whitening complex.

In addition, Snowise EX features mulberry, whose skin-brightening properties are enhanced by a traditional salt treatment that soaked and baked chips of the mulberry tree in salt-infused water. Considering the harmony of yin-yang, traditional Korean medicine deems salt as a yin booster and a detoxifier. Sulwhasoo's whitening line also includes an eye treatment containing Skullcap (Scutellaria Baicalensis root extract), another hanbang "cooling" herb.


Each year before summer, a new wave of whitening products arrive to promise stronger performances against dullness, uneven skin tone and stubborn dark spots. They come as serums, intensive treatments, spot-eraser pens and now even a "sun-loving zone" mask to protect areas on the face most vulnerable to sun damage and pigmentation disorders. With so many whitening weapons around, there might be a brighter future for the skin.

About the author

Writer: Noko  
Position: Reporter