Alicia Yoon has already changed our skincare routines—and now she’s coming for our showers, too. Inspired by the luxe experience of a Korean bathhouse—which isn't something you can easily recreate at home—she decided to create the next best thing. Peach & Lily's first body product, the KP Bump Boss Scrub ($28), is basically a body scrub in a tube.
Packed with soothing and exfoliating ingredients, this scrub is the closest you can get to the Korean bathhouse treatment without leaving your bathroom. For more on the inspiration behind the newest product from Peach & Lily, we hopped on a call with Alicia Yoon herself. Read on for the full details and her tips.
Along with eczema, Yoon has another skin condition: keratosis pilaris. Keratosis pilaris causes dry, rough, and bumpy patches of skin. According to Yoon, it’s also prevalent; 50 to 80% of adolescents have it, and around 40% of adults deal with the condition. Growing up in Korea, Alicia loved going to bathhouses for their intense skin-smoothing scrubs, and it was the only thing that gave her smooth skin like a “newborn baby seal,” she says.
However, she found there wasn't an easy way to recreate this ritual in the U.S. Still struggling with keratosis pilaris and not finding a simple treatment, she reached out to the chemists she knew in Korea. "I said, 'Here’s the brief: Korean bath scrub.' That's the result we need to achieve with this formula, and all 40 chemists understood right away. It took a long time to formulate, a few years because it’s a tough result to achieve."
The resulting experience (which she also broke down exclusively for us) is a complete ritual. From cleansing to steaming, Yoon encourages you to prep your skin for an intense exfoliation or a lighter version if you have sensitive skin.
The Scrub Experience
One of Yoon's favorite parts of the Korean scrub ritual is the soak element—mugwort soaks, specifically, which she swears by for its host of benefits. Mugwort helps reduce skin inflammation and is one of the scrub's superstar ingredients.
“Mugwort is a traditional Korean wellness ingredient that’s been loved for centuries. If there’s any redness or inflammation, it really calms it. It also helps to get rid of fluid retention,” Yoon explains. "I just had a baby, and postpartum, a really big thing in Korean tradition is to do mugwort foot soaks. I’ve been doing that every day for like 5 weeks. It really helps get the water retention out faster, so you’re more comfortable without the swelling."
After a soak and steam, traditionally, it's time to exfoliate. The idea is to follow an intense scrub, which buffs off a layer of dead skin, with a gentle chemical component. In Korean bathhouses, they'll often use milk that contains lactic acid. To recreate this process in the scrub, she combined a mix of chemical and physical exfoliants.
In Peach & Lily Body, finely milled crystals polish the skin while a mix of 7% glycolic acid and 3% lactic acid and PHA provide gentle chemical exfoliation. A host of fruit extracts round off the experience: Asian plum, apple, papaya, and grape. According to Yoon, it took the team a long time to get the right balance of acids and the ideal texture for the crystals.
"For some people, KP could be red or inflamed, so we wanted to make sure that it had the soothing ingredients. There is mugwort extract in here, as well as cica, so really calming, and then barley and tea extract," explains Yoon.
"Finally, it's an in-shower product," she adds. "There's water in the shower, and it's a moist environment. Hyaluronic acid grabs all that moisture to skin and squalene and cucumber so that you get the soothing and the refreshing and the lightweight hydration without clogging up any pores."
How To Use It
While this scrub targets keratosis pilaris, it's also formulated for other skin concerns including hyperpigmentation, body acne, and dry or flaky skin that benefit from exfoliation. "This formula allows you to either rub really aggressively or even gently. It's still going to give you that physical exfoliating benefit, but you can kind of level up or down depending on your body or areas."
Yoon recommends using the scrub twice a week at first to prevent over-exfoliating. The scrub's texture is thick enough to smooth on and use as a body mask on more sensitive areas. Yoon often uses it on her chest as a rinse-off mask when the beauty founder deals with body acne. Even without scrubbing you'll still receive smoothing benefits from the chemical exfoliants in the formula.
Alicia Yoon's Wellness Tips
Of course, no chat with Alicia would be complete without a few helpful skincare and wellness tips that are almost as good as a spa experience. Her hack for quick energy is the Korean half bath. "You sit in your bathtub comfortably, and fill up your tub with very, very warm water until it reaches your belly, and then everything from the belly button up, you're leaving outside the water including your arms."
To keep her arms from getting tired she'll read a book or go on her phone staying in the tub for 15 to 20 minutes. "The juxtaposition of the warmth and the relative coolness above the belly button gets your circulation going. Unlike relaxing that it's very invigorating, it's like an espresso shot for your body," she recommends.
Another thing Yoon loves is acupressure points. “It's so clinically studied and incorporated in Asia, and I'm just a huge proponent of it because it's easy to do.” She explains. She likes to massage the very top of her head for energy and the middle of her chest for anxiety. There's also a pressure point behind your knees and between your big toe and second toe.
Like Alicia, I have eczema, it usually flares up in the winter, but year-round my skin is dry and occasionally flaky, with some dark spots. While I’m picky about my soaps and body washes, my shower is packed with scrubs. I usually use oil-based formulas or cream formulas to hydrate my skin or seal in moisture, but I found this scrub is great for that too. The texture is one of my favorite parts of the formula. It’s thicker than most scrubs and stays put until you rinse—there’s no dropping a handful of this scrub down the drain. Since my skin can be sensitive, I opted to use this more like a mask and scrub gently. Either way, the result was super smooth skin. I don't have KP, but I do have hyperpigmentation on my legs, which has improved with a few uses. So I'll be keeping this in my shower.
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