This Korean Skincare Expert Hates the Ingredient Americans Love

Lindsey Metrus

This year, in particular, I've jumped on the retinol bandwagon hard. As in, I'm strapped in, the engine's running, and I'm hitting the gas pedal, ideally with the gear in reverse. (Get it? Anti-aging? Turning back the clock? I digress.) I'm so invested in its promise to prevent wrinkles that not using it worries me. It's such a widely touted ingredient by all the heavy hitters in the skincare biz (top estheticians, celebrity dermatologists) that it's practically a given when we ask someone to spill the contents of their medicine cabinet.

That is, until a recent chat with Alicia Yoon, skincare guru and founder of Korean skincare brand Peach & Lily. "I never use retinol," Yoon told me matter-of-factly. Suddenly, the brakes were pumped on my retinol getaway car. Yoon has skin like a baby's and a wealth of skincare knowledge, so I immediately started to question my own choices. Her reasoning? Retinol thickens the skin, which takes away from the translucent "glass" skin Korean women love. I wanted, nay, needed to know more, so I prodded Yoon for more on her aversion toward retinol (and what she uses instead).

Up next, take a look at why Korean women rarely get chapped lips.

Opening Images: Lolita Says So and Imaxtree

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