Sulwhasoo is a brand of luxury skin care products with roots in Korean herbal medicine and a long tradition of Eastern holistic philosophy. The name “Sulwhasoo” is a combination of two words, sulwha meaning ‘blooming as a beautiful snow blossom on the skin’ and soo meaning ‘exceptionally beautiful’.
Sulwhasoo was founded by Suh Sung-whan, who grew up in Kaesong, a city renowned for the the exceptional quality of its ginseng, Korea’s signature plant. Suh learned the value of nature and the importance of high quality ingredients from his mother. Suh’s mother also produced her own camellia oil, another beneficial ingredient found in several Sulwhasoo products. Understanding the efficacies of ginseng, Suh introduced ABC Ginseng Cream in 1966, which began the Sulwhasoo legacy.
Key products from the Sulwhasoo line include the First Care Activating Serum EX, the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Ex, and the Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum.
The Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX features the JAUM Balancing Complex, a blend of five powerful Korean herbal ingredients. For dry skin caused by aging, the complex nourishes and firms the appearance of the complexion for healthier looking, glowing skin. This serum is used as the first step after cleansing in order to boost the absorption of the next products in your skin care routine.
The Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Ex includes a combination of ginseng’s anti-aging essence Compound K and Ginsenoside Re, each from ginseng roots and ginseng flower. These ingredients synergize to nourish the skin and address comprehensive aging concerns. The result is skin that appears healthier and a younger-looking complexion.
The Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum is formulated with strengthening elixir DAA (De-Aging Active) from the Red Pine, Red Ginseng Saponin (Compound K), and White Ginseng Saponin (Ginsenoside F1) to correct wrinkles and dullness, as well as strengthen the skin. To make this eye serum even more luxurious, Sulwhasoo has incorporated Golden Eye Care Massager, plated with real 24K gold, into this product. This ingredient features four massage angles that loosen stiffness around the eyes while simultaneously relieving the appearance of puffiness and wrinkles.
The key formulation behind the Sulwhasoo products is based on the skin benefits of ginseng. Ginseng is the root of plants in the genus Panax, including Korean ginseng (P. ginseng), South China ginseng (P. notoginseng), and American ginseng (P. quinquefolius).
Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as a tonic for patients with chronic illnesses, and it was believed that this root could promote long life, strength, and wisdom. Many of the benefits of ginseng come from the presence of ginsenosides, a class of natural steroid glycosides and triterpene saponins. Ginseng also has immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, antioxidative, and antitumor properties.
Ginseng is included in many of the Sulwhasoo anti-aging products because of this root’s ability to stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein found within skin that is responsible for maintaining strength and firmness, thus, ginseng’s ability to boost collagen production can give the skin a more youthful appearance. This is why Sulwhasoo has included ginseng in products like the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Ex and the Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum, which are designed to promote firmness while giving skin a healthy glow.
Ginseng is also used as a skin-whitening agent due to its ability to inhibit melanogenesis, the production of melanin pigments that creates undesirable dark spots on skin. According to the Journal of Ginseng Research, the underlying mechanisms of ginseng’s ability to reduce the appearance of dark spots include the direct inhibition of key enzymes of melanogenesis, inhibition of transcription factors or signaling pathways involved in melanogenesis, decreasing production of inducers of melanogenesis, and enhancing production of antimelanogenic factor. Recognizing these benefits, Sulwhasoo has incorporated ginseng into several of their products that are formulated to brighten complexion, such as the Snowise Brightening Emulsion and the Snowise Brightening Serum.
Finally, research has demonstrated that topical application of ginseng can help improve atopic dermatitis (eczema), wounds, and skin inflammation. A study on mice published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology found that topical application of ginsenoside Rb1 improved burn-wound healing due to the promotion of angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels). Another study published in the Journal of Pharmacological Sciences found that red ginseng extract could improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis by inhibiting enzymes associated with skin inflammation.
The line of Sulwhasoo products has received a very positive response from users, with the majority of ratings being 4 and 5 stars. Reviews for the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX state that this product effectively works to brighten, plump, and hydrate the skin. The Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Ex has received reviews saying that while it is a thick cream, it absorbs into the skin quickly and leaves the skin feeling moisturized and soft. Finally, reviews for the Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum confirm that this serum can help to erase dark circles under the eyes while leaving skin smooth and plump.
In sum, Sulwhasoo is a brand of luxury skin care products that utilizes ingredients inspired by Korean herbal medicine, most notably ginseng.