Beautiful, glowing skin isn’t always the result of serums, creams, and lotions – other lifestyle choices can also make a huge difference.
In Japanese culture, there are certain centuries old beauty tips that have nothing to do with the skincare aisle. These age-old secrets are beginning to spread across the Pacific into beauty regimes around the world.
Although a regular skincare routine usually centres around products, incorporating these methods may also have remarkable benefits to the health of your skin.
An integral part of Japanese culture is bathing, often in hot springs called onsens. Apart from a soothing place to spend minutes or hours relaxing, onsens are actually incredibly beneficial to the skin.
To classify as an onsen, the water must be a certain temperature and must naturally contain one of 19 minerals – all of which have healing properties.
Some of the mineral-rich onsens are especially beneficial to skin, with studies finding they to reduce skin irritation from chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Saline onsens, especially those with sodium bicarbonate, are known for making skin smooth and are often referred to as “water for the beautiful skin.”
For those looking to enjoy traditional Japanese hot springs, visitors should visit Kyushu, an island in Japan with the highest output of natural onsen water.
A traditional Japanese diet is high in fish and vegetables and typically does not include dairy and meat.
One of the most important staples of the Japanese diet is wakame, a type of edible seaweed that contains powerful antioxidants, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and vitamin B2.
In addition to supplying the body with vitamins, wakame also has anti-ageing properties that keep skin looking youthful.
According to Eat Algae, wakame inhibits the enzyme Hyaluronidase from attacking the body’s supply of hyaluronic acid, which is responsible for the elasticity and smoothness of the skin.
By blocking the enzyme, the seaweed helps maintain smooth, firm skin.
For authentic Japanese food, Isorokuya in the Ōita prefecture is worth visiting.
Although becoming an increasingly popular beauty trend in Western culture, Japan has encouraged the drinking of green tea to help with skin problems for centuries.
In addition to drinking the tea, which is beneficial as it is high in antioxidants, many Japanese skincare products also include it as an ingredient.
Green tea is touted as having numerous health benefits and studies have linked its inclusion in skincare products to lowering the risk of skin cancer and reversing skin damage.
Research has also found that green tea applied topically may be beneficial in the treatment of acne.
Sun cream and sun protection
In Japan, ancient beauty ideals recognised pale skin as beautiful – meaning that Japanese women would avoid sun exposure where possible.
Controversially skin-whitening is still a beauty trend in parts of Japan and some products can be harmful.
However protecting skin from high amounts of UV rays is a sensible decision for all skin types, whether this be from using sun cream, hats or parasols. Taking this precaution means skin is more likely to maintain elasticity and the risk of skin cancer is significantly minimised.