Bioactive ingredients in Korean cosmeceuticals: Trends and research evidence

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Jul;19(7):1555-1569. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13344. Epub 2020 Feb 26.


Background: Cosmeceuticals are commonly used in skincare regimens to maintain healthy skin and improve visible signs of aging. In recent years, South Korean skincare has gained prominence in the global beauty industry by introducing innovative cosmeceutical products and aesthetic trends.

Objectives: To describe the global impact of Korean skincare and to review the current research evidence for bioactive ingredients commonly found in Korean cosmeceuticals.

Methods: A review of the biomedical literature was conducted using PubMed to identify laboratory, animal, and clinical studies that evaluated the biological properties and potential dermatologic uses of ingredients found in Korean cosmeceuticals.

Results: Bioactive ingredients in Korean cosmeceutical products are increasingly undergoing scientific validation and are derived from various sources including animals (eg, bee venom and snail mucin), plants (eg, dragon's blood and tiger grass extract), and biotechnology (eg, synthetic snake venom). Their bioactive components and pharmacologic activities have been shown to provide dermatologic benefits with potential applications for skin rejuvenation, photoprotection, wound healing, and more.

Conclusion: Further research studies are warranted to elucidate any biological or therapeutic mechanisms of action of these ingredients, which may translate into clinical practice. With the rising public awareness and interest in Korean cosmeceuticals, patients may seek advice from dermatologists about how to incorporate these bioactive ingredients into their skincare regimens to improve skin health and aesthetics.

Keywords: active ingredient; cosmeceutical; skin care; topical anti-aging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cosmeceuticals*
  • Cosmetics*
  • Humans
  • Rejuvenation
  • Republic of Korea
  • Skin
  • Skin Aging*


  • Cosmeceuticals
  • Cosmetics