Side-effects of aging society and the rising threat of micro-dust, conditions of skincare are shifting from mere visual betterment to skin health.
Shin Ho-jeong, a graduate of Ewha Division of Nursing and Kyung Hee University Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, published a book, “Herbs, Imbued on Skin.”
Published early this year in June, the book contains information of numerous traditional herbs that are either currently used in cosmetic products or are known to improve skin health. The release was prompted by Shin’s analysis that cosmetic companies are increasingly including herbs in their products due to consumers’ rising attention to skin health. Shin intended to modernize the imagery of herbs to attract the attention of consumers, and empower the readers by delivering multi-faceted information the herbs that they will come across via skin products.
Shin explained the reason herbs are gaining popularity among cosmetic companies.
“Herbs involve interesting stories, have great functionality and few side effects,” Shin said. “A lot of Korean cosmetic products are increasingly including substances from traditional herbs, although not all of them commercialize it.”
Shin she really felt the popularity of traditional herbs when faced with the saying, “Gae-ttong-ssuk, thank you.” Used by some cosmetics company. Gae-ttong-ssuk, literally translates to dog-waste wormwood from Korean, and means sweet wormwood in English. It initially gained popularity among medical practitioners as it was claimed to be able to treat malaria.
Shin believes the images of traditional herbs deter people from wanting to know about them. Through her studies, Shin discovered how fragrant and pretty traditional herbs actually are. Thus, by using this as an advantage, she came up with an idea to make people want to learn about them. She decided to highlight the overlooked aspects of traditional herbs and included her own illustrations of traditional herbs to promote a more fragrant and refreshing image.
Furthermore, Shin shared how she decided to include medical accounts of the herbs when applied on skin in both oriental and western perspectives. She believed merging two perspectives will provide more sufficient understanding of herbs.
“Traditional herbs are often boiled and the patient has to drink them to improve health,” Shin said. “I read ancient documents such as Dong-ui-bo-gam, a book by royal physician Heo Jun from the 16th century during the Joseon Dynasty, to find out whether they are as efficient when applied to skin.”
Shin added that referencing old documents is not only interesting but also very informative and authoritative since it can be considered a clinical demonstration collected over thousands of years.
Also, she consecutively demonstrated the benefits of reading about the western perspective of the herbs.
“Research on herbs in western medicine can provide logical comprehension as it specifies what each substance results in,” Shin commented. “However, it neglects the differences of individual people. Accounts from traditional medicine can resolve the issue as they focus more on the harmony of the medicine with the patient. They take the characteristics of an individual into account, which is beneficial for readers to determine what product is fittest for them.”
Shin is also the co-founder of book publishing company Param. “Herbs, Imbued on Skin” was released from Param, in combination with what Shin wanted to achieve through managing the company.
“I think learning about my bodily condition and things that affect my health have to do with controlling myself,” Shin said.
She expressed hope that her recently released book would empower readers with the ability to choose the fittest product depending on their individual characteristics.