What Koreans Eat For Glowing Skin (Part 3: Perilla Seed Powder)

  • Have you heard of perilla seed powder?
  • It's a prominent skincare ingredient in Korea that can be added to food or used in skincare products
  • I'm sharing a super simple DIY face mask recipe!

I recently spent a glorious month of “just being” in Korea. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it had been close to two years since I had seen my mom and sisters, so I really needed this trip.

In addition to spending quality time with loved ones, this trip was so nice because I had almost nothing to do. With COVID-19 related closures and social distancing strictly enforced in Korea, it was an opportunity to indulge in true non-doing. Precious time to just be and enjoy the little joys in life…including the ever-amazing world of Korean skincare!

I spent tons of time exploring skincare stores and catching up on all the latest trends and innovative products.  I even had the opportunity to travel outside of Seoul, to amazing places known for natural skincare ingredients like Jeju-Island and the Gangneung seaside in the east.  I could talk about the gazillion types of unique sunscreen options I found, or the various natural green-tea infused products or fascinating world of fermented skincare ingredients I came across, but today I want to focus on perilla powder.

Have you ever heard about perilla seed powder? Growing up in Seoul, I’ve always been aware of it, but this trip was the first time I really noticed it as a prominent skincare ingredient and also food to eat for healthy skin.

Perilla seed powder can be easily added to a variety of different soups or stews. I personally enjoyed it when added to rice cake soup (dduk guk) or Korean knife-cut noodle soup (kalguksu).  It adds a nuttiness and milkiness to the dish enhancing the depth of flavor. Even here in the U.S., You can find perilla seed powder in a Korean grocery store (in the grain section typically) or even on good old Amazon online.

This trip to Seoul, I found that perilla seed powder was getting a lot of love in particular for the benefits it has on skin health. It’s very high in Omega-3 and also contains Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids. If you’re into skincare, you’ll probably already know that fatty acids are crucial to skin health. They help regulate the skin's oil production, fight inflammation, and keep skin plump and protected.  In addition, perilla seeds are rich in Luteolin, which is a quality skincare ingredient praised for the brightening effects it can have on skin tone.

I found that Korean skincare enthusiasts often use perilla seed powder in homemade facials masks too. The recipe is super simple – just mix 5 spoons of perilla seed powder with the same amount of honey, and add one spoon of plain yogurt to it. Mix well, then apply to your face and neck like you would any normal cream-based face mask, leave on for 15-20 minutes, then rinse off with water and proceed with your regular skincare regimen.  Proponents of this mask rave about its brightening and moisturizing effects. Some even say it can help with acne.

Which ever way you decide to use perilla seed powder, it’s sure to elevate your skincare game in a fun new way. Next time you’re looking for something different to try, I highly recommend it!

By Minji