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Asian Cosmetic Trends Are Redefining Global Beauty Standards

03/10/2016 04:26 EST | Updated 03/11/2017 05:12 EST
RUNSTUDIO via Getty Images
Women make-up and look down

No longer are the secrets of Asian beauty locked up in Asia. The world is now agog with the latest beauty trends emerging from South Korea and Japan, where women's pursuit of skin perfection has led them to evolve skincare regimens with up to 18 different steps involving items virtually unheard of in North America.

As Western women seek flawless, radiant complexions, they are turning to Asia for the latest beauty innovations.

From skin whiteners, to BB and CC creams, to cosmetic injectable treatments that reshape and contour the face, the hottest skin care trends have been pouring out of South Korea gaining cult-like momentum across the globe.

The Korean cosmetics industry has experienced explosive growth and is expected to soon dominate Japan in powdered cosmetics sales. The Myeong-dong neighbourhood in Seoul is considered K-beauty capital, where the streets are lined with boutique beauty shops, selling sheet masks, skin lightening creams, foaming gels and egg cream masks amongst other products and ingredients that remain largely unavailable in North America.

But that is set to change as international beauty chains like Sephora begin to feature K-beauty skin care and makeup.

The Asian impact trend extends beyond skincare. From K-pop to fashion and design, Seoul is now considered the Mecca of fashion and beauty. This is why Chanel has chosen to launch their collection in Seoul, and why other companies release products in Seoul, first. "If a product makes it in Korea, it can make it worldwide," notes OHALA, a popular Argentinean women's magazine with offices in Korea.

While middle aged North American women discretely seek cosmetic rejuvenation from needle-based treatments like Botox and fillers, young Asians are boldly seeking appearance altering and beauty redefining treatments.

K-beauty trends are largely homogenous and shift rapidly as K-drama actresses flaunt a new look, style or hair colour, and women across the country follow suit. With more plastic surgeries performed per capita than any other country, South Korea offers scores of mini-medi-chain plastic surgery centres.

Here, popular cosmetic treatments include liquid rhinoplasty to reshape the nose and cute muscle enlargement (as it's called in Korea) or big eye (as it's called in Japan) which enlarges the under eye muscle to give the eye a larger, more childlike appearance.

Young Asians flaunt their cosmetic enhancements like a badge of honour and are continuously extending and redefining the beauty standard.

For the North American cosmetic physician, it is imperative to continuously study the beauty standard and its global variations to deliver appropriate and optimal results. Beauty trends change, and in an increasingly ethnically diverse world of beauty with mounting Asian influence, understanding the Asian beauty standard and trends is of paramount importance.

Dr. Jennifer Pearlman, MD CCFP NCMP FAARM ABAARM

Women's health, hormone and beauty expert focused on aging well from the inside out.

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